Release Countdown to November 19th

Monday, November 11, 2019

MAGIC Kyoto 2019 Travel Report

Held on November 6th, the MAGIC Kyoto event that took place in the Kansai region of Japan is one of the last major events to feature Shenmue 3 prior to its release on the 19th. I traveled down to Kyoto to attend the Shenmue 3 conference live (would there perhaps be a new trailer?) and meet with a number of other Shenmue fans both from within Japan and overseas

In this post I'll share some photos of the trip and event (a mix of those taken by myself and by others).

The venue was located a short bus ride from Kyoto station.

Kyoto tower: the first thing to greet you on exiting the train station.

The MAGIC Kyoto venue location: the Rohm Theater.
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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Mini-Interview with Yu Suzuki at MAGIC Kyoto 2019

We are now just over a week until the release of Shenmue III on November 19th, and to keep the hype building we have something special to share in this post - a brand new interview with Yu Suzuki.

In recent weeks, it was announced that Yu Suzuki would be present at the MAGIC Kyoto event, appearing on stage to talk about the game as well as meeting fans at an autograph signing session. I thought that this could be the last opportunity to speak to the legendary creator prior to its release.

Although no media interviews were officially planned, thanks to the kind arrangements and permission from Shibuya Productions, Koch Media and YS Net I was able to snatch some of Yu Suzuki's precious time at the event.

The interview transcript begins below, translated into English.

Yu's Feeling with the Approaching Release

Phantom River Stone: Thank you for your time today. Please tell us how you feel now that you have finished making Shenmue 3?

Yu Suzuki: I can't wait to release it. There are about two weeks to go now, aren't there. I'm a little nervous thinking about how it will go. However, there's no use feeling nervous. I just want it to be released already! [laughs] I'd like it to be in everyone's hands as soon as possible.

PRS: People's reactions to the Shenmue 3 backer demo have been really positive.

YS: I'm glad to hear that.

PRS: What are you most looking forward to after Shenmue 3's release?

YS: The thing I'm most looking forward to after the release is hearing everyone's impressions, and watching videos uploaded to the web where players comment as they play through.
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Friday, November 8, 2019

Yu Suzuki Introduces Shenmue 3: Extra Features | Video & Summary

A fourth promotional video has been released, in which Yu Suzuki introduces another aspect of Shenmue III. This time the theme is the activities and mini-games in Shenmue III. The release date of Shenmue 3 is coming up fast on 19th November!

The previous three Shenmue III promo videos in this interview series can be found here:
Here is the new video. It has official English subs, so remember to turn these on!

Text Summary

Below is a summary of the points Yu talks about in the video (based on the Japanese).
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Monday, November 4, 2019

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for November 2019

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the winning topic for November was...

"Dobuita's motorcycle shop Knocking in real life - where is it now?"

With its under-repair motorcycles scattered about outside, motorcycle shop "Knocking" is an easy-to-find landmark in Shenmue's Dobuita.

Knocking Motorcycle Shop in Shenmue
The Knocking motorcycle shop in Shenmue was based on an actual shop that existed in Dobuita at the time, and it had a very similar name: "Knock"!

Although no such motorcycle shop can be found on real-life Dobuita Street today, online research suggests that the shop may still actually be in business elsewhere in Yokosuka.

We have made it our mission to try to track down its new location and bring back photographic evidence if it is still operating.

Watch for this article on the blog in the near future.

Get early access to this and other articles by becoming a Patreon supporter!

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Nagoshi's Involvement with Shenmue's Release | Anecdote from Sega Management [4Gamer]

This topic was selected by the Phantom River Stone blog patrons via our monthly poll. Check out our page on Patreon!

At the end of 2018, Sega's current Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi talked to GamesRadar about his involvement in getting the first Shenmue game ready for release, in particular how he was enlisted by upper management to get the project wrapped up, which he stated he was able to do within a 6-month timeframe.

Not a lot has been reported on this topic in general, so here we share another angle, this time from the point of view of Sega management at the time.

An article published by 4Gamer earlier this year describes a 2012 interview with Hisashi Suzuki who was a senior director at Sega at the time and had formerly been managing Yu Suzuki prior to the Shenmue project. Hisashi Suzuki is the director whose anecdote about Virtua Racing we also translated recently:
The translated excerpt begins below.

According to the testimony of Sega managing director Hisashi Suzuki, the photo below led to the start of a certain big project.

It was taken when top members of the development teams surround a special guest from the US. I'm sure some people will know immediately who it is, but the special guest is Steven Spielberg. Also there was (CEO) Nakayama, although he isn't in the photo, along with Hisashi Suzuki and Yu Suzuki.

Photo description: At the far left, watching the gameplay from over the partition, is Hisashi Suzuki, with Yu Suzuki beside him. Back right is Steven Spielberg, and on his left is Hisao Oguchi. Playing the game are Mie Kumagai and Spielberg's son. At the front right is Mark Cerny, who was formerly worked on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and is also known for being the lead system architect for the PS4. Cerny was not working for Sega at this time, but is likely to have accompanied Spielberg here due to his involvement in one of Spielberg's projects.
Hisashi Suzuki relates:
 "Spielberg did a tour of Sega, I believe when he was in Japan to promote a movie. He himself owned a game company called GameWorks, you see. Nakayama led the way as they walked around the development offices.
"When he showed Virtua Fighter RPG to Spielberg, he was like, 'That's wonderful!' And that pleased Nakayama so much that he gave the direction to start development on it in earnest."
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Friday, November 1, 2019

Yu Suzuki Introduces Shenmue 3's Training | Video & Text Summary

A third new promotional video has been released, again featuring Yu Suzuki introducing aspects of Shenmue III. This time the theme is Shenmue III's martial arts training. The release date of Shenmue 3 is coming up fast on 19th November!

There previous two Shenmue III promo videos in this interview series can be found here:
Here is the new video (now with official English subs added):

Text Summary

Below is a summary of the points Yu talks about in the video.

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Shenmue III Video Advertisement - An Epic Adventure

Yesterday fans reported that a new official Shenmue III video advertisement has been appearing while watching YouTube videos on mobile devices, although it had been proving elusive to capture.

Thankfully a high-quality copy of it has now been posted on the official Shenmue III Facebook page, with a title of "Shenmue III - An Epic Adventure".

Minor spoiler warning: the video is 30 seconds long, and while no new characters are shown it does contain some content that we have not seen before.

View the video:

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

An Interview with Yu Suzuki by Nagai Industries | Gamescom 2019

We're very pleased to share a new interview that was held with Yu Suzuki at Gamescom 2019 by a passionate Shenmue fan known in the community as Nagai Industries, who in doing so brought a long-held goal of interviewing Yu to reality.

About the author:
Nagai Industries can be found on Twitter and is an indie game developer inspired by the Yu Suzuki's teachings and a freelance journalist.
A Russian-language version of this interview article has also been published on and can be viewed here.

This interview would not have happened without the enormous support of the Shenmue community, of which I became an active part in 2014, when a friend of mine and I started developing a small Shenmue-inspired game — Lucky Hit Challenge.

At that time, the sequels of forgotten game series were popping up on Kickstarter, one by one. We dreamed that, sooner or later, one of these such sequels would be Shenmue III. In the fall of that year, we released the Lucky Hit Challenge in which the player could win money playing Lucky Hit and spend it on the in-game Shenmue III Kickstarter. This project was warmly received by the audience, and two years later I started developing a new project: the social application #ChawanSign that would generate Shenmue memes in augmented reality. It is this project that soon led me to an interview-meeting with Suzuki.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Yu Suzuki & Shenmue III at MAGIC Kyoto 2019: Details

As previously announced by Cédric Biscay, Yu Suzuki will be participating in the upcoming MAGIC Kyoto event, and an update today gives further details about what to expect.
  • MAGIC Kyoto will take place on November 6th at the ROHM Theater, Kyoto. 
  • Yu Suzuki will be on stage to talk about Shenmue III from 8:15 pm to 9 pm. 
  • Joining him will be co-producer Cédric Biscay, Esra Krabbe (IGN Japan) and Shenmue fan Satsuki, to "play Shenmue III, talk all things Shenmue."
  • An autograph signing will be held. Update: the autograph session will be for 30 minutes within the period of 5.10 pm to 6.10pm.
Note that entry to the event is free, but pre-registration is required.

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Virtua Fighter's Connection to Virtua Racing's Pit Crew | Anecdote

Shenmue has its early roots in Yu Suzuki's 3D fighting game, Virtua Fighter, where the character of Akira Yuki was the basis for Ryo Hazuki and its fighting engine was incorporated into the first two games in the series.

In this short anecdote, a former managing director at Sega when Yu Suzuki was working there, named Hisashi Suzuki - no relation!, recalls how Yu Suzuki took up the challenge of creating this revolutionary fighting game to ensure Sega remained competitive.

The interview was held by 4Gamer, in 2012, although the article was published only earlier this year.

Hisashi Suzuki

Virtua Fighter: Born from Pursuing Reality

Yu Suzuki approached the executive office of Hisashi Suzuki and handed him a single video tape, saying, 'This is something I made for fun...'
Hisashi Suzuki: "When I played the tape, it showed the pit crew from Virtua Racing, but their movements were original and not from the game. It was a demo of animating the joints of human models. A prototype of Virtua Fighter. I think he may fitted mathematical processing to it, and at the time I'd say Sega would have been the only ones with the ability to do something like that.
The Virtua Racing pit crew in action
"I also recall that Yu and his team had been actively researching how to build models using as few polygons as possible."
According to [developer] Seiichi Ishii, who I also interviewed, the Virtua Fighter prototype that he himself made wasn't the one that used the Virtua Racing pit crew. It may well be that later, in order to show Hisashi Suzuki in the management offices, a more impactful video was created.

In any case, on seeing the video, Hisashi Suzuki was convinced that they could build a 3D fighting game.
"In an era when animating humans using 3D graphics was considered impossible, and those who thought it possible would be laughed at, Yu told me he wanted to do it. That's what's amazing about him.

"The proposals that Yu would bring me, Yu Suzuki's games - were all about 'reality', I think.

"Thanks to Yu's commitment to reality, the 3D fighting game of Virtua Fighter was able to be made. The characters in it also all look as though they could actually exist, right?

"On seeing the finished game, everyone was at a loss for words at how great it was."
Virtua Fighter

Source: 4Gamer (March 2019, Japanese)

Virtua Fighter was released in the arcades at the end of 1993, claiming its influential place in history as what many would recognize as the first-ever 3D fighting game.

It's pleasing to see from this anecdote that Yu Suzuki's talent for creating highly-convincing worlds is something that was appreciated by SEGA management. Yu would soon go on to start creation of  his "Virtua Fighter RPG", Shenmue's original form.

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Yu Suzuki Introduces Shenmue 3's World | Video & Screenshots

A second new promotional video has been released, again featuring Yu Suzuki introducing aspects of Shenmue III. This time the theme is Shenmue's world and atmosphere, with several new delightful clips from the game, mainly in the town of Niaowu. The release date of Shenmue 3 is coming up fast on 19th November!
Official English subtitles are confirmed to be coming (update: now added to the video), but to ease the wait we have translated Yu's comments below, as well as the Japanese subtitles seen on a few of the in-game video clips.

Along the way, Yu mentions the little bird mascot in Niaowu and the larger-than-life proprietress at Ryo's accommodation. And he reveals a shop with a hilarious theme that you won't want to miss when visiting Niaowu.

Minor Spoilers Ahead: although there are no major story-related spoilers, there are new images taken from the game and comments from Yu about the world of Shenmue 3.

First, the new video (Japanese with English subs).

Read on for our English translation of Yu Suzuki's interview and comments.

The Kind of World Shenmue Aims To Create

Yu Suzuki: "From a story perspective, it's about seeking revenge: Ryo hears that his father killed someone and can't believe it. He decides to go to confirm it for himself. However from the gameplay side, I'm hoping to recreate that feeling you have after completing a solo journey, of the experiences that stay with you as memories. That's the kind of game it is - like a travel experience."

Children rush off the ferry ahead of Ryo & Shenhua on arrival.

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Niao Sun, Shrine Maiden & Other Character Profiles on the New Shenmue 3 Site

A new official Japanese-language website has just been unveiled for Shenmue 3!

While much of the content will be familiar to Shenmue fans, it also contains information not seen to date in other promotional material. We are introduced to the character of Niao Sun and learn more about the identity of the "shrine maiden" seen in previous Kickstarter updates.

In this post we present the character images on the website and translate the summary text for each.

Character Profile: Niao Sun (鳥隼)

Niao Sun is a character who was scheduled to be in Shenmue III since the start of the Kickstarter project, but her existence has long been known to fans since the time of the first game's release, when her image adorned merchandise such as posters, mugs and telephone cards. And during the development of Shenmue III, she was even glimpsed in the background of a teaser video.

Here are images of Niao Sun's character & her description from the new Shenmue III website:
Niao Sun
"One of the leaders of the shadowy Chi You Men criminal organization. Belying her captivating beauty, she is an expert martial arts practitioner. However, her greatest talent is said to lie in the area of plotting and strategy, and she makes use of her cunning wits to play dirty tricks. 'Niao Sun' is merely her nickname inside the organization, a reference to one of the Four Heavenly Beasts - the Vermilion Bird*. However regarding such details as her real name, background, and why she joined the Chi You Men, nothing at all is known".
*This is due to the meaning of the Chinese characters that make up her name: Niao (鳥) = bird, Sun (隼) = a falcon.

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for October 2019

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the winning topic was...

"Yu Suzuki's Research Trip to China: Part Five"

In 1994 Yu Suzuki spent two weeks in China gathering material for his upcoming Virtua Fighter II game, and his findings also greatly influenced his creation of Shenmue.
  • In Part One, we translated blog posts about the trip by Kazunari Uchida, the person who accompanied Yu Suzuki.
  • In Part Two, we translated Yu Suzuki's own comments about his trip, and how his findings would be useful for the development of the Virtua Fighter series.
  • Part Three was the first of a number of "diary" style articles documenting the China trip, again written by Kazunari Uchida, which were published in 1994 as a series in the Japanese Beep! MegaDrive Magazine.
  • Part Four is the journal entry for Day One: Beijing (coming soon).
Part Five will continue with the journal entry for the next part of the journey. Watch for it on the blog in the near future.

For early access to this and other articles published on the blog, support us on Patreon!

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Yu Suzuki Introduces Shenmue III: the Story | Video with Text Summary

A new official video has been released featuring Yu Suzuki talking about the story of Shenmue so far. It is the first of a series of videos to promote the release of Shenmue 3 on 19th November and to attract newcomers. And for those of us who are already fans, it also includes some brand new clips from the game!

Here is the video:

As the video is in Japanese only at the moment (official English captions are to be added soon now added - Oct 25), this post contains a summary of the points Yu talks about, along with some new images captured from the video.
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New Shenmue III Official T-Shirt (Ryo & Shenhua)

Hot on the heels of the white-on-black forklift-design T-shirt that was revealed at the Tokyo Game Show in September is a new official Shenmue III T-shirt from SEGA, also with a black base but this time featuring the promotional full-color image of Ryo and Shenhua in front of the carved mirrors in the cave. It has an image of Yu Suzuki's signature in white at the bottom, and the YS Net logo can be seen on the sleeve.

The list price for the T-shirt is 3,700 yen (a jump in price compared to the 3,000-yen TGS T-shirt, but which includes free shipping within Japan), and comes in these sizes:
  • M: length 70 cm, width 52 cm, sleeve 20 cm
  • L: length 74 cm, width 55 cm, sleeve 22 cm
  • XL: length 78 cm, width 58 cm, sleeve 24 cm


Currently the T-shirt can be pre-ordered on the Japanese Rakuten Books site, either by itself for 3,700 yen or together with the PS4 Day One Edition of Shenmue III for 9,999 yen.

It will become available on November 19th which coincides with the game's release.

Unfortunately, the Rakuten Books site does not accept PayPal or non-Japanese credit cards which may prevent many living outside Japan from ordering the T-shirt from the site without the help of a friend living in the country.

It seems likely that the T-shirt will become available for purchase elsewhere, such as at SEGA's online shop.

Update: Rakuten Books has confirmed in a tweet that this T-shirt is exclusive to their store.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Yu Suzuki's Research Trip to China Part 3: An Invitation from Yu | Translation

This topic was selected by Phantom River Stone patrons in our monthly poll for a topic choice.

In the early 1990s, Yu Suzuki made a seminal trip to China. His objective was to research and gather material for his upcoming Virtua Fighter 2, and this research also influenced his concept for a "Virtua Fighter RPG" which eventually came to be known as Shenmue.

Previous posts in this series:
  • In Part One, we translated blog posts about the trip by Kazunari Uchida, the person who accompanied Yu Suzuki.
  • In Part Two, we translated Yu Suzuki's own comments about his trip, and how his findings would be useful for the development of the Virtua Fighter series.
This post is a translation of the first of a set of articles documenting the China trip, again written by Kazunari Uchida. They were published in 1994 as a series in the Japanese Beep! MegaDrive Magazine.

The translation begins here.

Yu Suzuki: China Research Trip Journal by Kazunari Uchida

The Genius That is Yu Suzuki

When talking about Yu Suzuki, he is often described as a "programming genius". But wherein does his genius lie?

Is he called a genius due to his creation of hit title after hit title in the 10 years since distinguishing himself with Hang On? Or because the ideas themselves are remarkable? Or is it due to his thorough pursuit of reality that characterize his games, together with the programming methods used in its implementation?

On the other hand, someone who has been called a genius gets unconditionally placed upon a pedestal, and others may have the impression that they are not very approachable. But, in that sense, I feel uncomfortable in labeling the Yu Suzuki I know as a "genius".

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Analysis: Examining the Physical Rewards (Part Three) | Shenmue 3

Back in July, the Shenmue 3 team sent out an update that contained in-game screenshots of various backer rewards, which we covered in earlier posts (Part One and Part Two).

In today's post we'll complete the overview (at last!) by examining photos of the physical rewards. As usual, we'll point out any details that can be extracted from the images along the way.

Shenmue Illustration Signed by Yu Suzuki

This signed illustration was part of the $300 "Signed Kickstarter Collector's Edition" reward tier (there was also an unsigned version at the $250 "Kickstarter Collector's Edition" tier).

According to the Kickstarter update, more than 5,000 have been hand-signed by Yu Suzuki himself.

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Shenmue 3 Trial First Impressions from Yuc02 [Part 2/2]

This is the second part of an article by Shenmue Dojo member and frequent guest poster yuc02 describing his experience and thoughts on the Shenmue 3 Trial.

Part One can be found here.

  • Aurally the demo was also excellent, with new BGM tracks introduced along with old/unreleased ones from Shenmue Online. 
  • Transitioning between areas causes different music tracks to fade in/out, giving the same impression as Shenmue I and II without the loading screens.  There were however some moments of silence if Ryo stops in the middle of the transition area.
  • Sound effects also help to accurately depict the rural environment, which varies depending on time of day (cicadas sounds at night for example) and greatly enhances the atmosphere.

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Shenmue 3 Trial First Impressions from Yuc02 [Part 1/2]

Shenmue Dojo member and frequent guest poster yuc02 has contributed a new article describing his experience and thoughts on the Shenmue 3 Trial. There are two parts in total, with this being Part One. Enjoy!

Shenmue 3 Trial First Impressions (Part One)

Wow, what a month September has been. After the fantastic new trailer from TGS, the trial version of the game has finally been released to Kickstarters and Slacker Backers who have donated at the $100 tier or above. I was fortunate enough to be one of them, and here are my first impressions of the gameplay and environments, as well as opinions on the Epic Games launcher itself.

After the KS announcements 115 and 116, Fangamer promptly sent me the download code via email on the morning of September 27th.
The download code and play guides on the Fangamer site
Following the instructions in update 115, I easily installed and downloaded the trial to my laptop, despite the wait being slightly unbearable (although thankfully not as long as the 18 year wait for S3!).

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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Shenmue 3 Backer Trial: Picture Gallery

What an exciting day it has been for many Shenmue fans, with the release of the Shenmue III trial for backers (those who pledged $100 or above to the Kickstarter or Slacker Backer campaigns).

I had some additional unwanted "excitement" as my PC chose this exact day for the screen to start freezing and showing nothing but black after a couple of minutes, each time I started a new game. In the end, opening up my PC and reseating the graphics card firmly did the trick and I was able to relax and enjoy the gameplay.

The content appears to be the same as I experienced playing at the recent Tokyo Game Show, although this time I chose to try it out with English voices rather than Japanese. I'm happy to say that I did beat the bookie and complete the trial on my second attempt, after some training at the dojo on the mountainside.

Have you played the trial yet, and if so what did you think? Leave any comments beneath this post.

Enjoy below a selection of screenshots from the trial, with captioned notes.

The trial comes with an English version of The Prophecy trailer, with a new clip at the end showing the newly-envisaged Shenmue tree which looks spectacular.
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Friday, September 27, 2019

Shenmue III Trial for Backers: Code Distribution Has Commenced

Distribution of the Shenmue 3 trial version to backers has commenced!

Backers that qualify will receive an email from Fangamer to their website where you can collect your Epic Store code (and download a pdf play guide)..

If you are still waiting for your email from Fangamer to arrive, try directly opening your backer survey on their website, and checking the "Downloads & Download Codes" section.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Shenmue III Trial To Be Distributed This Weekend

The trial version of Shenmue III for PC will be distributed to backers who pledged for the Trial Version reward this weekend.

An email will be sent from Fangamer containing a link to open your survey. Open it and visit the Backer Management page: a PDF play guide and download code for installation from the Epic Store can be accessed there.

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Phantom River Stone's Interview with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue 3 | Tokyo Game Show 2019

While Yu Suzuki gave many interviews to the press and media at Tokyo Game Show, I had the honor of interviewing Yu Suzuki as a representative of the Shenmue fan community. Within the strictly-regulated time slot of 20 minutes, my goal was to hopefully uncover one or two little facts or anecdotes about the game that may not have been covered in other interviews, and especially to communicate to Yu-san the appreciation we have as fans for the very fact that the game has been brought into existence.
And now, onto the interview!

Phantom River Stone: Thank you for your time today. To start with, could you please update us on where the development is at now? I believe you have mentioned play testing, for example.

Yu Suzuki: Right now we're working on tuning, brush-ups and bug fixes. That's the focus at the moment. We're doing that while play testing as well as tuning parameters.

PRS: Could you talk about the background of the rather unique owner of the hotel in Niaowu?

The rather distinctive Niaowu hotel owner introduced in Kickstarter Update #69
YS: In Shenmue 3 I've created these kind of characters "as is" with those kind of personalities. They don't have the kind of detailed backgrounds that we made in Shenmue 1.

PRS: I see. How would you describe her in terms of her personality?

YS: She's quite blunt. Not exactly rough, but not subtle. However she's a good person at heart. It's just that her actions are a bit crazy.

PRS: I look forward to seeing Ryo's reaction!

YS: Ryo's a bit taken aback by her. [smiles]

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Suka Pass v.1.1 Announced: New Character Profile Search

The fan-made Shenmue Passport app, Suka Pass, has received a shiny new update (the latest version is 1.1). You can now search for words across any character profile text, and check off characters as you meet them.

New features include:
  • Character Profiles: Mark a character
  • Character Profiles: Text search
  • Character Profiles: Metric Units support
  • Music: New music added
  • Various fixes

Download the update via the Suka Pass site, or read more about the new features.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

SEGASaturno Interview with Yu Suzuki at Gamescom 2019 | Translation

We're very pleased to host today's guest post: an interview with Yu Suzuki about various Shenmue topics, which was carried out by Alfonso "Ryo Suzuki" Martinez  from SEGASaturno at the recent Gamescom event
The article starts below.

Yu Suzuki met with us again at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. A few months ago, we were granted an interview with him at MAGIC Monaco. He was very kind towards us since he already knows us from previous occasions, being fully aware that we usually go to all the possible events related to Shenmue III.

The Japanese master showed us the instruction manual in physical format of the demo that will be available to the backers soon. He seemed proud of this and somewhat enthusiastic.
He also asked us if we had already tried the demo in the Deep Silver booth, but we told him we would do it the following day. Yu-san seemed to be very interested to know our opinions, since he knows we are big Shenmue fans.
This is the brief interview we were able to have. It’s somewhat shorter than usual, but this was expected because we were at a big event like Gamescom, and they have to cover many appointments with journalists.

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Yu Suzuki Confirmed for MAGIC Kyoto 2019

The co-producer of Shenmue 3 and CEO of Shibuya Productions, Cedric Biscay, has been visiting Tokyo and recently shared this photo of his visit with Yu Suzuki at the YS Net development offices. 
Cedric Biscay, controller in hand, with Yu Suzuki at YS Net (Twitter). 
His text with the photo reads:
"We just realized during our meeting today that we are exactly 2 months before the release ! So exciting !"
Cedric also joined a live-stream with IGN Japan yesterday where he made an announcement regarding the upcoming MAGIC Kyoto event in November that is of great interest to Shenmue fans: Yu Suzuki will be attending the conference this year, which takes place on November 6th.

Cedric Biscay announcing Yu Suzuki's attendance at MAGIC Kyoto on the IGN Japan live-stream
While the details of Yu Suzuki's schedules are still being finalized, Cedric did confirm that there he will be participating in an autograph session at the event.

With the event taking place less than two weeks before the release of Shenmue 3, we're excited to see what will be in store for the game's promotion!


Date: 6 November 2019 (Wednesday)
Venue: Rohm Theater, Kyoto

More information on the event is promised "soon".
Follow MAGIC Kyoto on Facebook here.

The Rohm Theater in Kyoto

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Monday, September 16, 2019

[4Gamer] Interview with Yu Suzuki at TGS2019 | Translation

Japanese gaming website 4Gamer interviewed Yu Suzuki about Shenmue III at this year's Tokyo Game Show on 12th September 2019, and their article has been fully translated and made available thanks to blog contributor Daniel Mann.

About Daniel 

Daniel has been studying Japanese for a little over 5 years and since, has been occasionally flexing his new found muscle with various translations and scanlations. 

Daniel is also an avid Shenmue fan and has been following the series since the game first released on the Dreamcast back in the year 2000. A long time lurker of the Shenmue Dojo forums, he finally registered an account in 2018 (under the handle danielmann861).

These days, you can find him posting regularly. Feel free to say “hello.” He won’t bite (hard). We guarantee it!
The translation begins from here.

During the opening day of Tokyo Games Show 2019, a stage event for Shenmue III (PS4/PC) was held at the SEGA booth. Creator and Director of Shenmue, Yu Suzuki, took center stage where he proudly proclaimed: “At long last, we will finally release Shenmue III!”

4Gamer had a chance to sit down and chat with Yu Suzuki after the event…

4Gamer: Thank you for your time today. We had the opportunity to play the trial version of Shenmue III earlier, but found the considerably strict 45 minute time limit to be a little irritating…

Yu Suzuki: Really, was it that short? (Laughs) At this time, it is a trial version and it picks up just a little bit after the opening of the game. Beforehand, there will be a couple of tutorials and spots to help guide players to understand the course of events from Shenmue II, so I think it will be a little easier for players to pick up and play in the final retail version.

4Gamer: The game is just under 2 months away from release. We would imagine it’s a busy time for you with various promotional events and the like, but has the development cycle considerably settled down?

Yu Suzuki: You could say that. Our team is still hard at work continuing to polish the game. We are also further balancing parameters and currently bug fixing. We also have numerous QA testers checking for major game breaking bugs.

4Gamer: It has been four years since the announcement of the Kickstarter at E3 2015. Looking back on the past four years, can you name one moment in particular that stands out the most?

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Hands-On Play of the Shenmue III Demo at TGS 2019

Through good fortune, and with the invaluable assistance of certain people behind the scenes for the arrangements, I was granted the chance to try out the demo for Shenmue III at the Tokyo Game Show. It's a game so many have been waiting for: one which represents years of hopes, disappointments and above all an undying belief from the fans that this game would one day come to fruition. And unbelievably, here I was about to guide Ryo around inside the world of Shenmue once again. This is a brief account of my experience.

Spoiler warning: this post describes some of the places and things that are encountered during the Shenmue III demo.


The Shenmue III logo was there on the screen with an image of Ryo and Shenhua standing together with the background of the cave. And these words were my invitation to enter the newly-realized world of Shenmue again, closing a gap of almost 20 years.

It was hard to believe I was there, in a room at the top floor of a hotel near the 2019 Tokyo Game Show event center, seated in front of one of four PCs in the room that were loaded up with the Shenmue III demo.

The set-up at my table consisted of a PC, screen, Xbox 360 style controller, headphones and a full-color guide booklet for Shenmue III of around 30 pages. Standing against a wall nearby there was also a large vertical banner summarizing the most useful actions (photography of this was not permitted).

I was informed that play time had been set to a 45-minute limit (the same as at the recent Gamescom), and without further instruction I was left to begin. I placed the headphones on my head, took up the controller and felt immediately at home as the notes of a piano playing the Shenmue theme over an orchestral accompaniment flooded into my ears.

The adventure is about to begin
And then I pressed a button and the screen faded out. The demo play had begun!

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Shenmue 3 Merchandise Online at the SEGA Store

Two new items of Shenmue 3 merchandise were announced recently by SEGA Japan for the Tokyo Game Show 2019, and these are now also available on their online store.

The T-shirt is 3000 yen (sizes: M/L/XL) and the forklift keychain is 900 yen.

  • Estimated delivery is the end of September.
  • Overseas shipping is not available from the online store, so a forwarding company may be needed.

Link to Store: Go to the store page (Shenmue items)

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Monday, September 9, 2019

[IGN Japan] Yu Suzuki on How Shenmue Differs from an Open World | Translation

This is a translation of an article recently published by IGN Japan's Esra Krabbe, who spoke with Yu Suzuki at Gamescom 2019.

Yu Suzuki on How Shenmue Differs from an Open World

"It's just a train, but it's bigger than an open world!"
When I entered Yu Suzuki's room in the business area at the Gamescom games event held in Cologne, Germany, he greeted me with a slight nod, an amiable expression creasing his eyes.

On telling him how excited I was after seeing the newly-released Shenmue III trailer, he smiled with a touch of pleasure.

"If I do say so myself, Shenmue is quite fun."

These words carry a great deal of weight, as it must be because Shenmue III has ended up as a title Suzuki can promote with confidence that he was able to make such a declaration.

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Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for September 2019

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. The results are in for September's topic. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the winning topic was...
"Kiss off twit!" The original Japanese for insults in Shenmue
During Ryo's investigation on the hunt for his father's killer, he often ends up in situations where his calm yet persistent questioning is not exactly welcomed (not that he lets this dissuade him from continuing his mission).

Despite the tough appearance and hardened attitude of some of the characters Ryo meets, their tough talk occasionally does not hold up to close scrutiny:

In this article we'll review some of these not-so-intimidating phrases and compare them to their equivalent lines are in Japanese.

Watch for it to come to the blog in a future
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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Shenmue Documentary Updates: B-Roll Filming & Insert Booklet

The Shenmue Documentary crew has been hard at work on crafting the documentary, and has recently released some new updates on what is currently in progress.

The discovery of some classic Yu Suzuki arcade machines at the local bowling alley provided the perfect opportunity to capture some "b-roll" footage for the documentary, to be interspersed among the interviews.

The character from whom Ryo Hazuki evolved: Akira Yuki in Virtua Fighter
And in the most recent update, project creator Adam Sipione shared some prototype images of the insert booklet that will accompany the Bluray version of the documentary. Inspired by Ryo's notebook in the game, it will contain a mix of photos and journal entries from their trip to Japan at the end of last year.

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Shenmue III on the SEGA Stage: TGS 2019 Schedule

SEGA has published their stage event schedule for the Tokyo Game Show next week, and Shenmue III is included!

Shenmue III Stage Presentation

The Shenmue III presentation will take place at TGS 2019 on:
Thursday September 12th at 11:45 am JST
Thursday September 12th at  3:45 am BST
Wednesday September 11th at 10:45 pm EST
for a 30-minute slot. This is the first Business Day of the event, however although it won't be open to the general public, it will be live-streamed at the links below.

Live-stream Links

Live-stream links for the SEGA stage on September 12th:

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Shenmue III Merchandise from SEGA at TGS 2019

SEGA Japan has just revealed their merchandise line-up for the Tokyo Game Show 2019, and it includes no less than two Shenmue III items for fans!

Shenmue III T-Shirt

The first item is a black T-shirt which has the Shenmue III logo on the front and an illustration of - what else - Ryo driving a forklift truck. The merchandise page does not indicate if there is anything else on the rear of the shirt.
Sizes available: M, L, XL
Price: 3000 yen (incl tax)

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