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."

Shenmue III Conference

The main Shenmue III session was approximately 1 hour long. The stage was set up with a large screen, with Yu Suzuki sitting at a low table with his laptop. Alongside him was a translator and the MC.

Yu Suzuki presenting at the Shenmue III session.
Yu Suzuki presenting at the Shenmue III session.

Yu's talk started by giving an overview of the history of Shenmue, starting from his work on arcade games, through the initial development for the Sega Saturn through and eventually the successful launch of the Kickstarter for Shenmue III many years later.

It does not appear that any explosive new information was revealed about Shenmue III at the session, but the highlight of the session was when Yu displayed four beautiful new pictures on the screen behind him, each featuring a different character appearing in the game - these can be viewed in our next blog post.

English audio was not available for the conference, but French site Gameblog has a summary posted up of their live text notes on the conference at their website.

Video footage of the Shenmue III conference:

Phantom River Stone is currently making a full translation of Yu Suzuki's presentation, and working with the community to create an English-captioned video of the event.

Autograph Signing

In the afternoon, Yu Suzuki met with fans and signed various pieces of Shenmue memorabilia and merchandise. Of course, this session was also completely free to all MAGIC attendees.

Yu Suzuki signs the box of a Lan Di figure for a fan.
Yu Suzuki signs the box of a Lan Di figure for a fan.

Crazy Time Session

A "Crazy Time" session was held at the end of the day. This is the name given to the session organized by Shibuya Productions for various announcements and potentially additional information or glimpses of games that they are producing. The entire session lasts only 20 minutes. The content of the session is not disclosed beforehand, which can cause fans' imaginations to run wild!

An announcement was made that a second MAGIC event will be held later in 2018, with the venue being in Kyoto, Japan. The timeframe is autumn, around October/November.

And no doubt to the delight of the Shenmue fans in attendance, Yu Suzuki took the stage once more.

Yu Suzuki with Cédric Biscay at the Crazy Time session
Yu Suzuki with Cédric Biscay at the Crazy Time session
On the main screen, a Shenmue III video was played, lasting around 3 minutes in length. In fact this turned out to be an extended version of the Shenmue III teaser that was revealed at the Gamescom event in August 2017, one that had only been shown to limited members of the press and was not released generally.
A message at the start of the teaser noted that the footage "does not represent the latest of the game in development", and the public is requested not to record or share the video (and we have chosen not to post the video on the blog).
Request displayed at the start of the extended teaser.
Request displayed at the start of the extended teaser.
Extra content not seen in the general-release teaser includes things such as footage of a QTE in action, Ryo playing at a QTE Title arcade machine, and a shopping street scene showing multiple NPCs.

Overall, this was a nice bonus for attendees to enjoy, but clearly was not intended to be a glimpse of the latest state of the game.

Closing Comment

The high quality of the new screenshots revealed in the conference is a very positive sign of development progress. See our next post for a discussion of these.

And in addition to the official scheduled events above, a number of interviews with Yu Suzuki were held by the media and members of the Shenmue fan community and so we can look forward to learning more about Shenmue III and other topics as these are released over the coming weeks.

Keep an eye out for a fully-captioned video of Yu Suzuki's Shenmue III conference, which we will announce here on the blog and on social media once ready.

Of note is that no footage of actual gameplay was revealed this time, leading fans to wonder at which of the coming games events this will occur. Once it does, our curiosity may finally be satisfied regarding what was being shown here on Yu's laptop screen:

Image tweeted out by Cédric on the day of the event.
Image tweeted out by Cédric on the morning of MAGIC 2018.
What did you think about MAGIC 2018? Leave any thoughts and comments below.

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  1. I was a bit diappointed because of the Tweet with Cedric Biscay and Yu Suzuki on the laptop and it looked that they have much fun. It's better when they never showing this pictures. But it was a great Event for me and following the Event via Live-Chat was exciting and interesting. Thank you so much to all the people they made Livestreams to all Fans on the Event. I don't expect so much in the future (E3, gamescom 2018, etc.) I let the things come and then i'm more surprised when anythind Shenmue-related will happen. We don't know how much old the gamescom-Teaser Material is when it was first shown(half year before premiere?). I'm still positive to Shenmue 3 and looking forward to an hopeful exciting year.

    1. Hi SledgeNE, glad you were able to follow the event. The community certainly did a great job in sharing tweets, pictures and video of the event so fans around the world could share in the excitement. (By the way, the unofficial word is that there was a last-minute change of plans regarding what was able to be shown, which might account for why the expected revelation of some latest gameplay did not come to be this time). Yu Suzuki mentioned in his conference that he is even working weekends, which really shows the dedication he and his team have to making a great game for us.