Tuesday, February 27, 2018

4 New Screenshots from MAGIC 2018 | Kickstarter Update #80

4 New Screenshots from MAGIC 2018

Four new Shenmue III images were revealed by Yu Suzuki at his MAGIC 2018 conference and these were released as a brief Kickstarter Update.

Each image contains one of four different NPCs (some also featuring Ryo) which really emanate a Shenmue vibe. The contribution of the Lakshya Digital team, to whom Yu Suzuki gave special mention during his conference, is apparent with a noticeable improvement in the character models.
In this post we will run through the four images, and add a few comments (however no hidden Easter Eggs have been discovered in them so far!).

Image #1

The first image shows a little girl in a pink cardigan, her hair tied up behind in double buns behind her head. She looks up with a playful expression on her face.

Isn’t she charming?
"Isn’t she charming?"

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Recap: Yu Suzuki at MAGIC 2018

MAGIC 2018 is over, and Yu Suzuki is on his way home again.

In this post we recap the three main Shenmue III related sessions for which Yu was on stage: the opening ceremony, the Shenmue III conference and "Crazy Time" at the end of the day; with a brief mention of the separate autograph-signing session.

Opening Ceremony

The first event of the morning was the opening ceremony, which was attended by all guests. Yu Suzuki was introduced by Shenmue III co-producer Cédric Biscay (Shibuya Productions) and welcomed on stage enthusiastically by the audience.

Video clip courtesy of Geek Rebelde (Twitter: @Agente_Requejo). Thanks to Shenmue Forever (Twitter: @ShenmueForever) for the captions.

Yu remarks "I'm looking forward to the conference."
Yu remarks "I'm looking forward to the conference."
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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Shenmue 3 at MAGIC 2018: Schedule Summary

The MAGIC 2018 event is almost upon us! As promised in the January Kickstarter Update, this Saturday (24th February) Yu Suzuki will be attending to tell - and show - the latest on Shenmue III.

I felt an extra jolt of excitement to see the photo below which was tweeted today on the MAGIC Monaco Twitter account, evidence of Yu Suzuki's arrival at the event venue, the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco (source tweet).

At the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco: Shenmue III co-producer Cédric Biscay with creator Yu Suzuki.
At the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco: Shenmue III co-producer Cédric Biscay with creator Yu Suzuki.

The main Shenmue III conference is scheduled for the morning at 10:40 am CET (Central European Time).

There are also some other times of interest to take note of:
  • An opening ceremony at 9:30 am CET which will include all the conference guests, hence Yu Suzuki should also be present at this.
  • An autograph-signing session held with Yu at 3:00 pm CET for those fans lucky enough to be in attendance.
  • At the end of the day at 5:10 pm CET there is a Shibuya Productions "Crazy Time" with Cédric Biscay. While the exact content is undisclosed, with Shibuya Productions co-producing Shenmue III we may be treated to some additional material; after all it was at this very session at MAGIC 2016 where three new Shenmue III videos were revealed.
The latest schedule information can be found at the MAGIC website.

Below is a summary of the times mentioned above. Remember that all times should be converted to your local timezone:

Key Times for Shenmue III at MAGIC 2018

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Draw Result: Shenmue Guide Map Giveaway on Twitter

Shenmue Guide Map Give-away DRAW RESULT

Congratulations to Twitter user , the winner of the set of Shenmue Sacred Spot Guide Maps from Yokosuka, in our giveaway!

The winner was chosen by random selection from among all valid entries.

A big thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this giveaway a success. We will be lining up another one soon, so stay tuned!

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Interview with Shenmue 2 Designer: Norikazu Hirai | Translation

Earlier in the week, SEGA Interactive published an online interview in Japanese with Norikazu Hirai, whose worked as a designer on Shenmue II early in his career.

We have translated into English some background introductory information, followed by the Shenmue-related part of the interview for Shenmue fans to enjoy. Of particular interest is hearing about Hirai's hand in the design of the famed Sword of Seven Stars that features at the end of Shenmue II.

Norikazu Hirai

Section Manager & Producer,
AM2 Multi-device Business Development Section

Producer of Soul Calibur Zero*
(also known as Soul Calibur: The Lost Story in Europe, or Soul Calibur: Resurrection in USA)

Norikazu Hirai
Norikazu Hirai

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ryo Hazuki Cameo Confirmed for SEGA's New Mobile Game

A spectacular result for Shenmue fans!

Last week we reported about a tiered SEGA promotion for their new mobile game Kotodaman, whereby the character of Ryo Hazuki would be given a cameo in the game upon if a sufficient number of registrations of interest was received.

Shenmue fans across the world responded to the call with enthusiasm, and thanks to everyone's efforts SEGA has just confirmed on the game's website (Japanese) that Ryo Hazuki's cameo has been achieved.

Concept art for Ryo Hazuki as he will appear in the game
Concept art for Ryo Hazuki as he will appear in the game
Although the mobile game is for Japan only, this will provide additional exposure for the Shenmue franchise, and shows SEGA once again the passion of the fans for Shenmue.

Furthermore, the next "reward" tier is for another character that will be close to the hearts of Shenmue fans: the human hero from Space Harrier (whose name is apparently just "Harrier"). This character will be included if a level of 60,000 registrations is reached, an additional 5,000.

Next reward level cameo: "Harrier"
Next reward level cameo: "Harrier"
If you have not yet registered interest for the game, and wish to help Harrier make a cameo too, just follow the instructions in our previous post.

Kotodaman is scheduled to be released in spring of 2018. We will post up footage on the blog of Ryo in action after release!

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Monday, February 12, 2018

"Shenmue Gaiden: A Christmas Story" | Fanmade Visual Novel

Talented developer ShenSun is back with the release of a new visual novel creation named "Shenmue Gaiden: A Christmas Story", for all Shenmue fans to enjoy. (The original intention to release in December didn't work out due to real life commitments, but thankfully there's no need to wait until the end of this year to play!)

ShenSun's previous Shenmue visual novel released a year ago, "Shenmue Gaiden; Christmas Event", masterfully mixed audio-visual elements together to produce a memorable and moving story that was sprinkled with plenty of humor throughout, and this year's release provides an equally-immersive experience to satisfy those Shenmue cravings.

Our post on the previous game can be found here:
Storywise, "A Christmas Story" starts out with a similar premise to the previous version: you the player have been invited along to an upcoming Christmas party with Ryo and friends.
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Friday, February 9, 2018

The Old Red TV | Chinese Restaurants in Shenmue

Following our recent post translating an early Shenmue design document for Hong Kong diners, I decided to collect together shots of the familiar old red TV that can often be found sitting up in the corner of such restaurants in the game, part of the game's careful design.

The Old Red TV in Shenmue 1 and 2.
The old red TV in Shenmue 1 and 2.
Do you know of any other locations?

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Help Ryo Hazuki Appear in SEGA's Mobile Game "Kotodaman"

SEGA are running a promotion that offers the opportunity to help include Ryo Hazuki as a character in their upcoming mobile game called Kotodaman that is scheduled for release in spring 2018 (the official Japanese site is here).

This is a great chance to increase awareness of the Shenmue series among a broader audience.

For those who want to skip information about the game and jump right into registering, please follow the "How to Pre-Register" instructions in blue at the end of the post.

Overview of the Game

Kotodaman is a word-puzzle RPG game in which up to 4 players band together, selecting elements of the Japanese alphabet to form words and defeat enemies (the damage attributed depends on the number and length of the words formed). Being based around Japanese words, it seems likely that the game will be a Japan-only release.

Game screenshot
Game screenshot: the player drags an element from the bottom to the middle area to build words and defeat their foe at the top of the screen.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hong Kong Diner | Translated Shenmue II Design Document

Shenmue II Early Design Document: Hong Kong Diner

A little over a year ago, Yu Suzuki was jointly interviewed with Katsuhiro Harada (of Tekken fame) and during this briefly spoke about a handful of original design documents for the Shenmue games he had brought along with him.

This photo, which accompanied an interview with Yu Suzuki & Katsuhiro Harada, shows Yu with various Shenmue design documents as he points at what appears to be a sketch of a Chinese tulou.
This photo accompanied an interview with Yu Suzuki & Katsuhiro Harada. Yu shows various Shenmue design documents, pointing here at what appears to be a sketch of a Chinese tulou.

We have analyzed some of these design documents in earlier posts on this blog.

Related posts:

Hong Kong Diner Interior

Today, the design document we will be examining is a concept sketch of the interior of a typical Hong Kong casual diner.

The document is headed "VF RPG", indicating that it was produced in the early design period of Shenmue, when the game was still known by its early working name of Virtua Fighter RPG.

It contains a single large illustration with hand-written annotations surrounding it, which I have translated.

Here is the translated design document [click to enlarge]:

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Shenmue Guide Map Giveaway on Twitter | Closes Feb 19th (JST)

Phantom River Stone is giving away a set of the Shenmue Sacred Spot Guide Maps on our Twitter account @phantom_river!

How to Enter:

  • Follow our Twitter account @phantom_river,
  • Retweet the giveaway announcement tweet (below), and
  • Reply to the tweet with a comment. 

Terms of Entry:

The closing date for entries is at noon on 19 February, 2018 (JST). The winner will be drawn from all valid entries on 22 February. One entry per person; entries made using multiple accounts are ineligible.

Good luck!

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