Saturday, December 22, 2018

Shenmue III: Yu Suzuki Talks On Stage in Xiamen [Video | ENG Subs]

On December 16th, Yu Suzuki took to the stage to talk about Shenmue III to an audience of gaming fans at the G-Fusion Tour event that was held in Xiamen, Fujian province in China (as announced at the end of November).

As with the recent Tokyo Game Show, animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi also took part.

The following items were announced during the stage talk:
  • There will be a version of Shenmue III released with Simplified Chinese subtitles.
  • The distribution of Shenmue III in China is to be handled by Tencent (on the WeGame platform) and Oasis Games (for PS4).
Also during the talk, a slightly modified version of the "The Prophecy" trailer for Shenmue III was shown, with Chinese subtitles, to a warm reception from the audience.

We have added English translated captions to the video which can be viewed below. Or, if you prefer to read a written version, a full transcript of these follows.

Video (ENG subs): Yu Suzuki & Hiroaki Takeuchi on Shenmue III

Watch the video of the talk below: 


Yu Suzuki (YS): Everyone, I'm Yu Suzuki. I'm glad to be here today.

Hiroaki Takeuchi (HT): Nĭ hăo! My name is Hiroaki Takeuchi.

Q: We've heard that you've come to China several times. Is this your first time in Xiamen?

YS: I've been here once before, about 3 or 4 years ago. I came to research the circular tower-like structures of the Hakka people, which look sort of like missile bases.

Q: For the first question, what is the current state of development of Shenmue 3? Could you share with us how it's going?

YS: Shenmue 3 is going smoothly. The Japanese text has largely been completed and now we're doing things like the English recording and we're carrying out localization work.

HT: The graphics are looking gorgeous.

(applause from the audience)

YS: Thank you.

HT: You're going to love them! We're really looking forward to it.

Q: You released Shenmue in 1999, and its scale was amazing. Why did you choose China as the setting for this creation? And, do you have special feelings toward China?

YS: The reason I chose to set Shenmue in China comes from the fact that I first used a lot of Chinese martial arts in a game called Virtual Fighter. And when the Virtua Fighter project was being planned out, we needed to include characteristics of various types of martial arts. China has a lot of martial art styles for example ones that copy animals like Monkey Kung Fu, as well as Drunken Boxing and so on.

To research them, I visited places like Shaolin temple and other towns where martial arts are active. At that time, I came into contact with the people in China, the Chinese culture and China's history, and I grew fond of China.

HT: I've been working with Yu-san for 30 years, and among the creators in the Japan's game industry he's probably the most knowledgeable about China.

Q: You carried out a lot of research, and became good friends, we understand, with Mr. Wu Lian-Zhi and other Chinese martial arts teachers. Do you still keep in touch with Mr. Wu Lian-Zhi or the other martial artists?

YS: Master Wu also has a branch of Bajiquan in Japan. And Master Wu comes to Japan about twice a year, you see. At those times, I go to see him and we drink baijiu together again, and so on.

Q: Which of you is the heavier drinker?

YS: I think Master Wu drinks the most!

Q: It's said that Shenmue was the game that pioneered the Open World genre, and it is a genre that is still immensely popular today. Do you have any thoughts about Open World games?

YS: When I was pursuing "reality", what I wanted to do was to capture the subtle, everyday elements.
When I started making Shenmue, pretty much all games had a single theme and the concept of a game containing several themes simultaneously - in other words, an "open world" game - hadn't existed prior to creating Shenmue. They had always been made with a sole theme. The player would have a degree of freedom, and would have a lot of choices within the one game.

At the time, I gave that concept the name "FREE". It was the first such attempt. Considering that nowdays many AAA titles are created with an open-world format, I think that trying my hand at it turned out to be good for the games industry.

Q: When you made the Shenmue 3 announcement at E3 in 2015, many fans were delighted. With your decision to make Shenmue 3 again more than 10 years later, how did you feel about it and what was going on behind the scenes? 

YS: About 5 years after I had finished making Shenmue 2, I started getting emails and all sorts of requests each year asking me to make Shenmue 3. There were various issues, such as with licensing, and the budget and so on. So although I was aware of everyone's wish for me to make it, the right conditions didn't easily fall into place. Despite that, I never stopped thinking about how to make it happen. Shenmue fans were bombarding me with passionate pleas to reveal how the story continues, even if that would mean as a novel or as manga. Then one of these ardent Shenmue fans suggested, "There's this thing called 'Kickstarter'. Why don't you give it a try?" So I began to seriously consider it.

At first it was a small Shenmue project. But we have gained the cooperation of various people such as Sony and Deep Silver, and so, all going well, we'll be able to bring you a Shenmue 3 that has become quite substantial in size.


Thank you.

Q: Do you have anything you would like to show everyone?

YS: In August, in Europe there was an event called Gamescom at which a trailer was shown. I've made a version of it to show everyone which has Chinese subtitles added.

Please take a look.

This is the world premiere of the trailer with Chinese subtitles.

HT: Everyone, how were the Chinese subtitles?


Q: Having shown the video just now, I believe there's something you'd like to tell everyone.

YS: I have an announcement to make today. The publishers for Shenmue 3 in China have been decided. The publisher for the PC will be WeGame. The publisher for the PS4 will be Oasis Games. These will be the publishers.

Q: Why did you select the WeGame platform? How do you rate it?

YS: It's China's largest game distribution platform, and it's impeccable in terms of both experience and its business track record. To put it the other way round: I'm extremely happy that Tencent has chosen to publish Shenmue 3 with us.

Q: With entry to the Chinese market, do you have any expectations towards Chinese fans?

YS: From way back, I owe a lot to the people of China who have treated me so well all those times
such as when I was researching China's culture and history and so on. I have a sincere love and respect for China. And so, if you play this game I've made I think my feeling that lies within it will be conveyed. I hope the game reaches everyone as soon as possible and my feeling is conveyed.

Q: Localization is an essential task, so how is localization for the Chinese version of Shenmue 3 progressing?

YS: Regarding localization for the Chinese version, that is being handled by WeGame. WeGame localizes many overseas games, so I'm sure it will be a very good localization. I'm really looking forward to it.

HT: WeGame is also really well-known in Japan. So we truly believe that they'll make a localization
that will be loved by the fans in China for when it is released there. We're very excited about it.

Q: You have always tried to introduce the latest technologies into the game industry. For example, the first sit-down arcade game, the first use of 3D graphics in the game industry and so on. What are your thoughts on the relationship between leading-edge technologies and good games?

YS: I'm not sure there's much of a relationship between leading-edge technologies and good games. There are great games that feel amazing and provide a good experience even if they may lack technology. However, I think players having a lot of different options to choose from is definitely better for the game industry. Like with cooking, a meal that makes the most of simple ingredients can be delicious. but there are also complicated dishes that make use of all kinds of techniques. But, in the end, I think what's important is for players to have the choice.

But I also have my own style. My style is 50% the technical part and 50% gameplay. Roughly a 50-50 mix. That's my style as a creator, and those are the kind of games I want to make.

HT: In the game industry, Yu is the only one, even globally, who can pull off this fifty-fifty mix of creativity and technology. That's my take.

Many years ago - and this is a true story - when people like Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg said they wanted to meet Yu, I observed that they all came to ask him how to combine leading-edge technology and a fun, creative element.

Yu Suzuki with Michael Jackson

Yu Suzuki with Steve Spielberg and son
Q: Due to time we've come to the last question: Remakes have become very popular in the game industry these days. Assuming all technical considerations were met, if you were to remake one of your past games, which one would you choose?

YS: Um… [laughs]

I always want to be doing new things, so I want to do... not a remake, but a completely new project.

End of interview. Translation to English by Switch.
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