Release Countdown to November 19th

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tough Shenmue Quiz from the Recent Fan Meeting in Yokosuka | Translation

A special Shenmue quiz was held at last month's Shenmue Fan Meeting that was held on Christmas Eve in Yokosuka. The quiz was entitled "How About Trying a Mega-Tough Quiz?" (naturally, spoken in the vein of the owner of a Lucky Hit game trying to attract customers!).

In this post we present the translated quiz questions so you can try for yourselves (answers are hidden in spoiler tags).
The quiz was devised by the MC for the event, Esra Krabbe of IGN Japan (who in fact organized the entire event together with Yokosuka City), with the promise that all the questions, while not easy, are potentially all answerable if you are familiar with through the games.

Give it a try, noting down your answers as you go. The answers follow the end of the questions, of which there are 6 in total.

Mega-Tough Shenmue Quiz from the Recent Fan Meeting in Yokosuka | Translation


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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Yu Suzuki Interview by GameCores | Part One: Early Games Development at Sega

Yu Suzuki Interview by GameCores | Part One: Early Games Development at Sega

Thanks to the prolific translation efforts of yuc02, a newly-translated interview with Yu Suzuki is now available. The text is a transcript of an interview on a radio show by GameCores, which was held when Yu Suzuki was in China for the G-Fusion event last month (December 2018).

The translation starts below. Part Two to follow in a separate post.

GameCores Interview with Yu Suzuki Part One: Yu's Background


Original text (Chinese): https://www.gcores.com/articles/105359

This text is the full transcript of the interview that accompanies the radio program "Let Us Tell You What We Chatted with Yu Suzuki-san About". Thanks to Joe-san and Takeuchi-san’s support, and everyone else’s help with the recording and editing. Finally we thank WeGame for their full support and making this G-Fusion meet with Yu Suzuki possible!

Q: You were born into a family that revolved around the music profession, so why did you choose not to work in music, but instead the gaming industry?

YS: You’re right, my parents both worked in the music industry. They produced traditional music, and my father wanted me to carry on the work; but children are always a bit rebellious, and although I did dabble with music, I went instead towards the rock music route. Anyway, my view is that most children don’t develop in the way their parents would have wanted.

Q: When you were at Okayama University, you had already done research into 3D animation. What in particular did you research?

YS: 3D architecture drawings: building up from wireframe into surfaces that are correct from different perspectives. Personal computers at the time were quite primitive, so we used the mainframe computer at the university to run simulations as well.

Q: You entered Sega in 1983, and by 1984 you were already supervising your first project, the SG-1000 title Champion Boxing. It must be quite rare for someone to be able to take up such responsibility after just one year?

YS: At the time the term “supervisor” didn’t exist in Sega, I was just a project leader. Normally it would take 7-8 years’ experience to be one, and even then only people from the planning department would become a project leader. I don’t know what my boss was thinking, but anyway I became one in my second year!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What's On the Menu at the Manpukuken Ramen Restaurant | Translation

What's On the Menu at the Manpukuken Ramen Restaurant | Translation

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

Although Ryo is never seen eating in Shenmue, the attention to detail is just as present with the restaurant interiors as with any of the other locations in the game. They have bottles of sauces and condiments for customers on the table, water dispensers, air conditioners, television sets - and menus showing the names of various dishes, and their prices, served at each establishment.

In this new series of posts, we'll be visiting the restaurants scattered around the Dobuita Street area in the first game to see exactly what they have on offer.

For today's shop, we will be visiting...

Manpukuken Ramen


Manpukuken Ramen is a casual Chinese diner operated by Junko Yamamoto, that opens in the late afternoon and does not close until the early hours of the morning.

Let's take a seat at the counter and see what they have to offer - the second part of their name is a give-away as to what they specialize in!
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Monday, January 21, 2019

Shenmue 3 to Include Previously-Cut "Chapter Two Content" - Yu Suzuki

Yu Suzuki: Shenmue 3 to Include Previously-Cut "Chapter Two" Content

During his visit to China for the G-Fusion event last month, Yu Suzuki carried out a number of interviews including an audio interview for a podcast by GameCores.

This post is a sneak-peek of part of the full interview, courtesy once again of yuc02 (who can be found on the Shenmue Dojo forums). In this extract, Yu talks about the origin of the codename for the project, "Project Berkley", and the meaning behind the name of the ship Ryo takes to Hong Kong. Finally, he reveals plans for Shenmue III to incorporate certain content that had been cut from earlier in the story due to constraints.


Background:


According to a 2001 interview, the name of the cut chapter was to have been "Chapter 2 - The Boat", covering Ryo's journey from Yokosuka to Hong Kong, and was to have involved an encounter with Chai. In the end it was scrapped, however it did remain in the form of one of an official Shenmue Side Story manga entitled "Chai & Ryo" that was included with the Xbox version of Shenmue II.
First page of the Shenmue Side Story "Chai & Ryo" that was originally intended to be a playable chapter.
The interview extract starts below.

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Interview with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue 3 [Gamersky]: Full Transcript - Part Two

Interview with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue 3 [Gamersky]: Full Transcript - Part Two

This is Part Two of a full interview transcript with Yu Suzuki held in China, carried out by Gamersky.com and translated by yuc02 (contact him at the Shenmue Dojo).

The interview continues below. Go here for Part One.



Shenmue 3 Director Yu Suzuki Interview - Fighting System’s Complete Revamp [Part 2]


Original text from https://www.gamersky.com/news/201812/1135488.shtml

YS = Yu Suzuki

Q: You announced that Shenmue 3 would be released in China via WeGame for the PC and Oasis Games for PS4. How did you assess and decide on these two partners?

YS: Shenmue had not yet been officially released in the Chinese market prior to this, so it was important for us to find a reliable partner to expand the series. WeGame is the biggest PC gaming platform in China, with a large player base, so we along with Deep Silver believe that WeGame will be very influential to us in reaching out to new players and markets. In addition we believe as a platform WeGame provides very good marketing and localization services for the developers, which would be very helpful for a new IP like ours. As for the console version, Shenmue used to be a console-only game, and many console players have a lot of affection towards the Shenmue franchise. Sony gave us a lot of help during the Kickstarter process, and as Oasis Games is an important Chinese partner to the PlayStation business, we therefore have a lot of faith in them.
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Monday, January 14, 2019

Interview with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue 3 [Gamersky]: Full Transcript - Part One


We recently posted a translation by yuc02 of a report summarizing an interview held with Shenmue III director Yu Suzuki and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi at the recent G-Fusion Tour event in Xiamen, China.
    Today's post, kindly translated once again by yuc02, is a full interview transcript, carried out by Gamersky.com.

    The translation starts below. Part Two to follow in a separate post.


    Shenmue 3 Director Yu Suzuki Interview - Fighting System’s Complete Revamp [Part 1]


    Original text from https://www.gamersky.com/news/201812/1135488.shtml

    Following WeGame’s invitation, the author had the privilege to meet with Shenmue 3 director Yu Suzuki (YS) and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi (HT) in Xiamen, and with fellow journalists conducted an interview about the state of the game.

    Shenmue 3 director Yu Suzuki (left) and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi (right)
    Shenmue 3 director Yu Suzuki (left) and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi (right)
    Q: Apart from the location of Shenmue 3 being set in Guilin, what other aspects of Chinese culture will be represented? The first two games in the series contained the Chinese martial art Bajiquan; will Shenmue 3 introduce more martial arts styles?

    YS: In my early game development years I visited China numerous times, and learned Bajiquan from Master Wu [Master Wu Lian Zhi], with whom I still keep in touch and meet every year, although not on this occasion. I am quite familiar with China, and have visited Xiamen’s Kulangsu for cultural studies, and learned about Chinese architectural styles for the game. We did not carry out any studies on new martial arts, but have incorporated other Chinese styles such as Xingyiquan in the game, although these will not be part of Ryo’s repertoire; rather they’ll be styles owned by other characters.

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    Saturday, January 12, 2019

    Shenmue Documentary: Japan Visit Production Stills

    Last week the team behind the Shenmue Documentary (officially title: "A Gamer's Journey: The Definitive History of Shenmue") posted a Kickstarter update displaying some production stills from footage and interviews captured during their December visit to Japan which really conjure up a taste of how the documentary will feel.

    This first image shows Eigo Kasahara, who was planning director on the original Shenmue games, being interviewed at the SEGA head office. Kasahara also worked on the Japan localisation of the re-released Shenmue I & II, and has participated in several Shenmue related events including last month's Shenmue fan meeting that was held in Yokosuka.

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    Friday, January 11, 2019

    Yu Suzuki's China Interview Report Part Two: Early Game Development Years [YouYanShe Publication Group]

    This is the second part of a translation by yuc02 of a recent Chinese-language article reporting on an interview held with Shenmue III director Yu Suzuki and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi at the recent G-Fusion Tour event in Xiamen, China. The report was published on sohu.com.

    Part Two below focuses on Yu Suzuki's earlier years in game development. Go here to read Part One.

    Dialogue with Yu Suzuki On the Birth of Shenmue - Part 2


    Original text & images from http://www.sohu.com/a/283337668_628730

    Aside from Shenmue, we also talked with Yu Suzuki about stories from his early game development years, as well as his views on the video gaming industry. Although his iconic status as one Sega’s top developers in the 80s and 90s has meant that much has already been written about him, it was still fascinating to hear his views and stories in person.

    Prior to working on Shenmue, Yu Suzuki’s work mainly revolved around arcade gaming. At that time many titles were developed from his AM2 studio (Outrun, Space Harrier, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop etc.). One can say that he’s worked in, as well as advanced, almost every gaming genre available.


    But in actual fact, he was still not fully satisfied, and wished to try more things on the home gaming front. Yu Suzuki explained that “At the time the golden rule with arcade games is that average play times must be limited to 3 minutes per credit, and given the 30 seconds or so for changing between machines, that left around 2 mins 40 seconds for the developers to showcase the game".

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    Thursday, January 10, 2019

    Yu Suzuki's China Interview Report Part One: Shenmue III Details [YouYanShe Publication Group]

    Today's post was contributed by yuc02, who has translated a recent Chinese-language article reporting on an interview held with Shenmue III director Yu Suzuki and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi at the recent G-Fusion Tour event in Xiamen, China. The report was published on sohu.com.

    The article translation is in two parts, with this being Part One.

    The translation starts below.



    Dialogue with Yu Suzuki On the Birth of Shenmue - Part 1


    Original text & images from http://www.sohu.com/a/283337668_628730

    “A video game is a reconstruction of reality, but it doesn’t mean that the game will be more addictive the more realistic it is. What interests gamers the most will always be the gameplay.”
    On December 16th, following an invitation by WeGame, publication group YouYanShe arrived in Xiamen, and participated in the G-Fusion event along with Shenmue’s creator Yu Suzuki. Aside from the announcement that WeGame will publish the Simplified Chinese version of Shenmue 3, we also chatted with Suzuki-san, and learned many things about Shenmue, Chinese culture and his experiences during the early development years.

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    Wednesday, January 9, 2019

    Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for January 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 January's topic, and the most highly-voted topic (including accumulated votes from previous months) was...

    "Interview w/ Shenmue Director Keiji Okayasu on Shenmue's Development from the Saturn to the Dreamcast (December 1999)"

    The December 1999 issue of the Japanese Dreamcast Magazine contained a 15-page Shenmue special to coincide with the game's release at the end of the month.



    One part of the special feature was an in-depth interview with game director Keiji Okayasu. As the topic indicates, the questions cover development of Shenmue from its early beginnings, through to the still in-progress (at the time) Shenmue II.


    We will be providing a full translation of the interview in English. It should make for some interesting reading!

    Watch for the article later this month.

    For early access to this and other articles published on the blog, check us out on Patreon. Link to Phantom River Stone on Patreon.

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    Friday, January 4, 2019

    Season's Greeting Illustrations | Shenmue 3

    Over the past couple of weeks the Shenmue III team has sent out a number of new greeting illustrations to all backers.

    The following illustration was sent as part of a short Christmas update that confirmed that Shenmue III will be partnering with Tencent and Oasis Games for distribution in China.


    Fans will recognize Fang Mei holding her broom, Shenhua looking optimistic, Ryo riding a "Yu Suzuki Reindeer" #5 forklift truck (!), Xuiying looking as serious as ever, and Joy riding a motorbike that is based on the Super Hang On cabinet bike - right down to the number 7 on its side. Joy also has a passenger who we will talk about later on.

    Koch Media, the parent company of their publishing arm Deep Silver, sent out Shenmue season's greetings of their own.

    The design is rather straight-forward, with just Ryo and Shenhua sitting inside a loop of Christmas decorative lights. Again we see a little yellow guest flying next to Shenhua!

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