Thursday, September 28, 2017

Kickstarter Update #75: Face Animations & Subtitles Translation

Kickstarter Update #75 is out, in the form of a "Dev Room Report" video that demonstrates characters' facial expressions.

Here is the full video, which is just under a minute in length:

During the demonstration, we are introduced to two new characters. And in addition, some in-game subtitles are also displayed (in Japanese) during part of the demonstration.

Read on for full coverage of their meaning!

The update also notes that Backer Surveys are still being worked on, and that it will still be "some time" before they are sent out. However a rundown of the surveys can be expected soon.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works Kickstarter | Shenmue Special Edition

"SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works" is a Kickstarter funded book project that aims to be the authoritative resource on the Dreamcast console.

As a sign of immense public interest, the Kickstarter project became fully funded in mid-September after just 50 hours! And with 15 days still to go, pledges are nearing 1.5 times its original goal of £68,000.

Cover rendering of SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works
Cover rendering of SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works
Produced in collaboration with SEGA, it will feature hardware and software development documents, photographs of prototypes and rare hardware, in-depth interviews with the original game developers, high-quality game images and more.

Numerous games from the console's library will be covered, including of course Shenmue. (Hopefully an interview with Yu Suzuki can also be arranged, as was the case with the earlier Mega Drive book).

Plus, at the higher end of the reward tiers is a Shenmue Special Edition - further details below.

Sample rendering of the book's contents.
Sample rendering of the book's contents.
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Gamescom 2017 Photo Report | Guest Post

We welcome yuc02 back to the blog with a photo report on his experience at the recent Gamescom 2017 event in Germany, as he got to catch up with other Shenmue fans not to mention meeting Yu Suzuki himself - and even found himself taking on the role of primary cameraman for several community interviews. He also had a special mission to fulfill on behalf of the Shenmue community...

All photos in this report were taken by yuc02. Click to enlarge).

Gamescom 2017 Photo Report

Hey guys, it’s yuc02 again!

I had the pleasure of going to Gamescom this year, obviously to see Yu Suzuki and the YS Net team, but also to hand him a very special gift.  It was a great few days and I just wished that more of you guys could have been there.  Here’s my take on the 3 days I was there.

Day 1: Wed 23rd August, 2017

After a (very) early start, I finally arrived in Cologne for the 2017 edition of Gamescom, the largest gaming show in Europe.  It was also my first ever games show, so it was quite daunting to see so many people (it wasn’t even the busiest day!)

The Gamescom venue in Cologne
The Gamescom venue in Cologne
Inside the halls
Inside the halls

Naturally I went to see the Deep Silver booth, to try and have a look at the meet and greet area (keep thinking Deep Purple for some reason :P)

It wasn’t massive, slightly tucked out of the way, and was surrounded by SEGA and other Deep Silver products, so was quite cosy! In a way it feels like Shenmue…

SEGA and Deep Silver booths
SEGA and Deep Silver booths in close proximity in the general-admission area
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

YS Net Studio Visit by Koch Media with Blurry Dev Screenshot | Photos

Olivier Comte, the CEO of the French subsidiary of Koch Media, yesterday paid a visit to Yu Suzuki and the development team in Tokyo and has posted up some photos on his Twitter account.

Koch Media is the parent company to publishing label Deep Silver, recently announced as the international publisher for Shenmue III at the recent Gamescom event.

Olivier Comte with Yu Suzuki
Olivier Comte with Yu Suzuki (photo: Twitter)
Olivier also shared a photo of the studio showing the development team at work.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Zhu Yuan Da or Yuanda Zhu? | Character Names in Shenmue I vs II

One question that pops up every now and again in Shenmue forums and message boards is about the difference that can be observed in character names between the first and second Shenmue games when playing the English versions.

In this post we'll look at some of these examples, and then see how they relate to the order for names used in Japan and China.

(MINOR SPOILERS of character identities!)

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Shenmue 500K Interview with Yu Suzuki | Gamescom

Shenmue 500K Interview with Yu Suzuki

A new interview out of August's Gamescom event in Germany was released earlier this week by Shenmue 500K, covering Shenmue III and other topics.

The interview was conducted by Sílvia Vila Tarrés and James Hamill, interviewing Shenmue III's director Yu Suzuki together with the game's executive producer Hideaki Morishita.

The questions were asked on behalf of members of the Shenmue 500K Facebook group, and some highlights include:
  • Whether there will be a Tomato Convenience Store in Shenmue III (Yu is thinking about setting one up in one of the story's locations - check out the interview to find out which!)
  • How far the Shenmue prototype for the Saturn had progressed? ("Thirty percent").
  • An amusing windsurfing anecdote recounted by Yu, from the time of Shenmue I & II's development, featuring composer Takenobu Mitsuyoshi.

Impressions from the Audio 

On a personal note, it was my pleasure to help out on this interview by providing a translated transcription of Yu's responses from the audio recording (since taking video footage of the interview was not permitted).

What made an impression on me from the audio recording is the enthusiasm and humor that carried across in his voice, despite this being one of many scheduled meetings and interviews during the event.

Both Yu and executive producer Morishita-san also took great care in answering the questions, clarifying their meaning with the interviewer when needed, really reflecting their respect for the fan community.

Interview Link

The interview has been written up in a friendly, narrative style making the article a pleasure to read - and the photographs and animated pictures liven it up even further. The questions are also varied and feel fresh, branching outside the ones Yu was most commonly asked about by the general media at the event.

Head over now to the new Shenmue 500K website to read the interview here.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Recap: Shenmue III Japanese Media Interviews | Gamescom 2017

In addition to the Shenmue III teaser video and latest images that came out of Gamescom 2017, there were a great many interview articles published with Yu Suzuki which contain tantalizing details about the game.

During the event we posted up full translations of five interviews from the Japanese video game media to the blog, and now that the event is over it's a great time to recap the points of interest from each. (Some points have been omitted where repeated).

Even if you have read through these interviews before, you may find one or two points that may catch your attention anew.

(Don't miss the bonus fan-made teaser at the end!)

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ryo's Arrival in Hong Kong | Shenmue II Design Document Translation

Ryo's Arrival in Hong Kong: Shenmue II Early Flowchart

The "Making of Shenmue" section of the 1998 Shenmue art book contains snippets of actual design documents from the making of the first two games. We will be examining each of these in today's and future posts to see what information they reveal.

This is a great opportunity to gain some additional insight into the early stages of the design of the first two games.

The document we will look at in today's post is an early Shenmue II diagram that steps through the initial plot in Shenmue II, starting with Ryo's arrival in Hong Kong through to meeting Xiuying in person.

Minor Spoilers
Plot elements relating to some of the initial events in Shenmue II will be discussed.
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Friday, September 8, 2017

"Easter Egg" Characters Discovered in Shenmue III Teaser

When You See It...
Image credit: Shenmue Forever
A jaw-dropping discovery has been made in the recent Shenmue III teaser video by Shenmue Forever (via Twitter). It is so subtle that it went completely unnoticed until now, despite the intense scrutiny the video has received.

Yu Suzuki has been known to enjoy hiding Easter eggs within Shenmue III material in the past.

In late 2015, a presentation Yu gave at the Chuapp event in China also contained a small Easter egg. At the end of this video clip demonstrating the interior of a room in Shenmue III, the figure of Ine-san (the Hazuki residence's housekeeper from the first Shenmue game) can be glimpsed standing in the doorway. Yu's comment to the audience, with a smile, was "Fan service!"

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Shenmue Art Book - Characters Section | Shenmue Merchandise

This post covers the Characters section of the Shenmue art book. Several key characters to appear in the the first two games are introduced, as well as one that notably still has yet to appear.

You will notice that some of the character descriptions match those in the Shenmue I and II English-language manuals. For the other characters, the translations from Japanese are my own.

Ryo Hazuki

"Having lost his mother at an early age, Ryo has devoted his entire young life to rigorous martial arts training under the guidance of a strict but loving father. Despite a tendency to be reckless and a bit too quick to fight, Ryo has a tremendous amount of potential and an iron-strong volition. Determined to uncover the mystery of his father's murder, he begins a journey that will eventually take him west to a land he has never seen... China. What fate lies in store for Ryo?"

Ryo Hazuki

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Monday, September 4, 2017

The Shenmue Art Book: Overview of Contents | Shenmue Merchandise

In today's post we'll look at one of the rarer pieces of Shenmue merchandise, and one that remains somewhat shrouded in mystery even today, ever since its publication back in 1998.

The item I am referring to is one that has become known to fans as the "Shenmue Art Book". This it not an official name, since the front cover simply reads "Shenmue". The YS logo of Yu Suzuki adorns the back.

Front and back cover of the Shenmue Art Book
Front and back cover of the Shenmue Art Book.

What Is the Shenmue Art Book?

It can be best described as a high-quality, full-color booklet consisting of 36 generously-sized glossy pages and is cram-packed with photos, concept art, maps, development flowcharts and text (in Japanese) relating to the first two Shenmue games.

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Yu Suzuki Interviewed by Shenmue Dojo | Gamescom

The fansite Shenmue Dojo has released a brand new interview with Yu Suzuki which took place at the recent Gamescom 2017 event. (I was able to contribute in a small way by translating Yu's responses into English).

Although brief, the interview packs in a lot of information from Yu Suzuki on topics such as the reasons behind the timing of the teaser release at Gamescom, and his thoughts on the handling of colors in Shenmue III using Unreal Engine 4.

The interview was held by Peter of the Shenmue Dojo, who commented that it's "always an honour to be in the company of Suzuki-san".

Peter from the Shenmue Dojo with Hideaki Morishita & Yu Suzuki
Peter from the Shenmue Dojo (left) with the Shenmue III executive producer Hideaki "Harry" Morishita and director Yu Suzuki.
Following the interview, as a surprise gift to Yu Suzuki a superb piece of framed fan art was presented on behalf of all of the Shenmue community. The illustration, drawn by @r_wuying, shows Yu as a band member of one of his favorite bands, Van Halen.

Yu with his gift of fan art
Yu with his gift of fan art.

Link to the interview with Yu Suzuki

Read the interview and write-up by Peter at the Shenmue Dojo here.

Related posts: we have translated several interviews with Yu Suzuki at Gamescom, conducted by Japanese media.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Masaya Matsukaze Visits Yu Suzuki | Photo

Earlier this week, Masaya Matsukaze tweeted a photo of himself with Yu Suzuki at the YS Net development studio, where he caught up on the latest state of Shenmue III.

Masaya Matsukaze is of course the original voice & motion-capture actor for the character of Ryo Hazuki in the first two Shenmue games, and it was confirmed early on that he will be reprising his role as the voice of Ryo for Shenmue III.

Masaya Matsukaze with Yu Suzuki
Masaya Matsukaze with Yu Suzuki.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Best All-Time Game Poll Results | Famitsu 1500th Edition

Best All-Time Game: Famitsu Poll Results

Back in July Famitsu held an online poll for the Best Game of All Time. Although the poll was in Japanese, it was open to global participation and we put up a brief guide to filling it in for English speakers.

As a reminder, the main rules for this poll were:
  • Vote for up to 3 games, with weightings being 3 points for your first choice, 2 points for your second and 1 point for your third.
  • Announcement of the results to be published in the printed edition of the Weekly Famicom magazine's September (and 1500th) edition. 

Cover of this month's Weekly Famicom magazine, the 1500th edition.

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