Sunday, September 9, 2018

Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part Two]

Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part Two]

Welcome to Part Two of our analysis of the Shenmue III release date announcement trailer. Part One can be found here.

We pick up as Ryo, backpack on one shoulder, steps off the berthed ferry across a rough ramp of wooden boards, onto the wharf at Choubu.

Disembarking from the Ferry


Ryo steps onto the wharf.
Ryo steps onto the wharf.
A lot of small graphical details help to bring the scene to life, such as a puff of steam produced from inside the ferry. The glass in the windows are smeared, and grimy residue can be seen on the walls and under the port holes.
Small graphical details: a puff of steam (left); smeared windows (middle) and grimy walls (right).
Small graphical details: a puff of steam (left); smeared windows (middle) and grimy walls (right).
There are some nice touches with the character animations too. Not unlike his arrival at Hong Kong in Shenmue II, Ryo pauses to look around at his new surroundings. Other ferry passengers also move and react naturally: one lady wearing a mauve top, who is obviously staying onboard for a later port, looks bored as she rests her head on her hand, while the man wearing spectacles in front of Ryo looks up towards the night sky as he exits the boat.
Whether remaining onboard or disembarking, each of the ferry passengers has a distinctive pose and reaction.
Whether remaining onboard or disembarking, each of the ferry passengers has a distinctive pose and reaction.
Ryo turns to observe the water, and we get a glimpse of his trusty backpack that has accompanied him all the way from Yokosuka. It seems that he has swapped back to carrying it over his right shoulder, as he did when boarding the boat in Japan, rather than on his left as he did throughout Shenmue II.

Ryo swaps shoulders for carrying his backpack between games
Ryo swaps shoulders for carrying his backpack between games: right shoulder in Shenmue I, left shoulder in Shenmue II and right shoulder again in Shenmue III.
Ryo's gaze falls upon the fishermen's bamboo rafts that we saw in earlier in the video. But something in particular has caught his attention: there's a fisherman standing on one of the rafts, with his two fishing birds perched on the long pole he's carrying.
Ryo spots a fisherman on one of the rafts.
Ryo spots a fisherman on one of the rafts.
This is a method that fisherman on the Li River use in real life for transporting the birds.

It may also be a subtle foreshadowing of Ryo's later training with a fisherman in that same area (even if not the same exact one) who was seen in the Gamescom 2017 First Teaser video.
A foreshadowing of this encounter?
A foreshadowing of a future event? (Gamescom 2017 First Teaser video)

The scene then fades out, taking us to a new one:

Encounter with a Martial Artist


A new scene fades in, with a silver-haired man taking a martial arts stance inside an elaborately-decorated room, and Ryo standing defensively in front of him. The man's clothes have visible patches of dirt.


I did some research on the pose seen above, and discovered that it's a Wushu (Chinese martial arts) stance called Xie Bu, also known as a Cross Stance or Rest Stance. The crossed-over legs provide defense whilst preparing to spring up into a kick, as demonstrated here:
Demonstration of the Xie Bu stance (source: YouTube)
And indeed, in the clip, the martial artist then goes on to perform a roundhouse-style kick at Ryo, who raises his arms higher in defense. However it does not appear as if actual contact was made:
Demonstration, or actual combat?
Demonstration, or actual combat?
Notice that Ryo no longer has his backpack with him, so this scene probably takes place after he has found himself accommodation in Choubu.

What is really going on in this scene? Perhaps we will find get some clues from the other characters present in the room.

The first of these characters, glimpsed only briefly and easy to miss on the first watch of the video, is the very familiar figure of Ren, standing just inside the doorway. (His presence in the game has been previously alluded to by Yu Suzuki in interviews mentioning his new Character Perspective system, but this is the first time his model has been clearly seen in an official video). It's interesting to note his body language here, as he carries his weight on one leg and looks to be merely observing the pair in the center of the room, with no sign that he is ready to charge in to help Ryo if needed.

Several seconds later, the camera angle reveals two unknown characters who are located across the room from Ren, on the other side of the doorway in front of a large motif of a dragon. The unfriendly expressions on their faces suggests that they are uncooperative at best, or about to become physically aggressive at worst.

Other characters in the room: Ren is back! (left); two unpleasant-looking characters (right).
Other characters in the room: Ren is back! (left); two unpleasant-looking characters (right).
Based on the fact that some of the characters seem to be merely observing the situation, I think that Ryo may be undergoing some kind of challenge from the silver-haired man. For example, perhaps Ryo must prove his worth by preventing him from landing a punch or kick (or even defeat him in one-on-one combat), in order for him to reveal information.


The Room Decorations


The room they are in is opulent, almost gaudy, with statues and antique decorations all around designed to show off the wealth. Tall polished pillars of purple reach to the ceiling. There are various sets of sofas, tables and low tables suggesting it may be the lobby of a luxury meeting house or headquarters of some kind.

In the image can be seen decorative lamps of various types hanging from a paneled ceiling, a large red fan and a gold-colored scroll displayed on the wall, among intricately-carved screens and woodwork.
A place of wealth and luxury: some of the lamps, scrolls, fans on display.
A place of wealth and luxury: some of the lamps, scrolls, fans on display.
From other angles, we see there are statues of golden dragons either side of the doors, as well as a sword on a stand.
Left: one of the pair of dragons guarding the doors; right: a sword that looks like it means business.
Left: one of the pair of dragons guarding the doors; right: a sword that looks like it means business.
One object may not have been immediately recognizable. It is the one from the larger of the above images, at the lower right. Here it is from another angle, enlarged:
Another pair of dragons, but what are they decorating?
Another pair of dragons, but what are they decorating?
In fact, the identity of this object is a set of Chinese bells. Comparing with the photo below, there is a strong resemblance.
A set of Chinese bells
A set of Chinese bells
While unlikely to play a part in the story, they are another of the small details that help to add to the atmosphere and feeling of authenticity.


Where is this Building?


The question remains of where this building is located.

Through the open doors, a wooden deck with a red railing can be observed. Beyond this, what appears to be a faint silvery reflection below the silhouette of the mountains suggests that the building is located at the water's edge.
The view through the open doors.
The view through the open doors.
We have seen red railings before in images of the "temple maiden" from MAGIC 2018, although the ones we have seen have a different design and lack the golden caps on the posts.
The railings behind the "temple maiden" seen in a previous screenshot.
The railings behind the "temple maiden" seen in a previous screenshot.
Hence I think the video shows a separate location from the temple complex.


On to Part Three


This concludes Part Two. Watch for our third and final part of this analysis, coming soon.

In the meantime, if you have a theory on what is happening in the scene with Ryo and Ren, and where the scene takes place, leave a comment below!

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7 comments:

  1. It's amazing the amount of information that we can get in so many little details in this trailer. Great analysis Switch :)
    The fighting scene in this trailer reminded me of a movie called the Grandmaster; about the life of Ip Man (Bruce Lee's Wing Chun Master).
    In the movie, there is a part where Ip Man goes to a council of Chinese martial arts masters in a luxurious building, but to attend this meeting he will have to fight several martial arts masters in each one of the floors of the building before reaching the top floor where the meeting was going to be held.

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    1. Thank you for your comment! That's an interesting thought. I located a trailer online for the Grandmaster and spotted some interiors that may be one of the floors of the building you are referring to. Perhaps Yu Suzuki gained inspiration from this movie or a similar scenario in others. (Hm, will have to check if the room in which Lan Di is standing is indeed in the same room as this one!).

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    2. If you haven't seen the movie yet, I suggest you do so, because personally for me it is one of the best martial arts movies i've seen in recente years and one that i think every shenmue fan should watch. It features a wide range of martial arts from the north and south of china including of course our beloved Baji Quan.
      Here are some links in case you are interested:
      The Grandmaster Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC5amKLgnFU
      Baji Quan : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iscP8gase1Q
      Ip Man fighting the Grandmasters:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj39F_M9OOA

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  2. Replies
    1. Coming soon! Early access should be available within the next couple of days. :)

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