Sunday, June 9, 2019

Analysis Part One: New Shenmue III Scenes from PS4 Kiosk at Walmart

Analysis Part One: New Shenmue III Scenes from PS4 Kiosk at Walmart

Previously-unseen footage of a Shenmue III teaser has recently been discovered at a Walmart store. It was first discovered by Cebman who was visiting the games section and selected Shenmue III at a PS4 demo kiosk. To his surprise, the teaser that played contained a number of new scenes from the game. The video ends with the old release date (before its change to 19th November) and so it represents an accidental leak of a video created prior to the rescheduling. However, it does contain some exciting snippets of scenes so in this post, we'll run through and examine each of the new scenes in detail.

Thank you to yuc02 for contributing to this post and for confirming Chinese character meanings.

  • The release date advertised at the end of the teaser shows that it was created for a release of 27th August; the release date has now changed to 19th November. 
  • All scenes in the video are marked "Work in progress. Game not final."
  • Images in this post are of reduced quality as they are screen-grabbed from a hand-held recording of the monitor.
The video may be viewed here if you have not yet seen it, or to refresh your memory before we walk through it. (Video footage credit: praj from the Shenmue Dojo. Image stabilization has been applied).

Read on to see what tiny details are hiding in these scenes.

Scene 1: The Fleeing Fortune Teller


The video opens with a man dressed in a blue silk top running down steps and glancing anxiously behind him as his arms flail about. He ducks behind Ryo, and we soon realize the object of his fear: a bald-headed man following close behind him with clenched fists who comes to a stop when he sees Ryo. The man sheltering behind Ryo pops up and points towards his pursuer, explaining (in English), "It was just a fortune. I only said wine was bad for his luck!"

The fortune teller flees. The pattern on his silk garment shimmers as it reflects the light.

In the background of the shopping street is an archway with what looks like the statue of a warrior inside it; above, a sign says "名店街" (the shopping quarter). In front are a number of colorful patio umbrellas, such as you find outside a café. Further along is a striped pole that suggests a barber shop. Shops at either side sell items such as variously-sized vases, and golden religious statues.
Details: archway with Shopping Quarter sign (left); a vase shop & barber-shop pole (center) and golden statues (right).
On the wall of the shop with the golden statue is a sign with the Chinese character 闘 (meaning "fight") in a circle and text that reads "薔薇園 Rose Garden" with an arrow pointing to the right. Fans who have read the article from Edge magazine in April will recognize this as being the name of a fighting ring.
This way to the "Rose Garden"
The scene is set at an entrance to the shopping area in the town of Niaowu, near the wharf. Behind Ryo, we spy two street vendors stalls, one with a green canopy that has white writing on its side, and next to it one with a red canopy.
The color of these stalls are clues to the location.
Using these clues, we may be able to locate more specifically where this scene took place.

Firstly, let's check to see if stalls matching these attributes can be found within the row of vendors' stalls running along the waterfront seen in the image below, which is a screen grab from the Prophecy trailer. The row of stalls is highlighted at the far right.
This image, courtesy of Shenmue Forever, zooms in on the vendor stalls on the Niaowu waterfront (center inset).
The sequence of colors of the stalls is: green, yellow, red, green, yellow - we have a potential match for the two stalls observed in the video.

Next, let's examine this daytime image, where the row of stalls can be glimpsed in from a slightly different angle.

As well as revealing that the sequence of stalls continues on with blue then red, we are able to identify the green canopy (and confirm it has white writing on its side) with the red next to it beyond.

Furthermore, there is also an extra feature visible behind the stalls at that spot, in the form of a tall gateway. While we don't see a gateway in the fortune teller scene, we do see the base of round decorated pillars that are indicative that there is one there.
Sturdy, decorated pillars.
An ornate gate also stands at the end of the main shopping street, as seen in the Gamescom 2017 Shenmue teaser.
Screenshot from the Gamescom 2017 teaser
I was expecting at first that the background in the fortune teller clip should match this street scenery, including the long road up the hill, but they are clearly different. However, on closer examination it becomes apparent that this is not the same gate: the main entrance gate is positioned in front of the ferry boarding area while the entrance in the clip is further along. So it would seem reasonable to assume the location of the fortune teller scene is a side-entrance to the shopping area.

Scene 2: Ryo on a Forklift

After the first scene, the Shenmue III logo is displayed with falling petals, accompanied by the sound of a gong, leading on to the next clip.


The clip starts with Ryo's view from the driver's seat of a forklift that is making its way speedily along a boarded path at the waterfront. Blocking the way ahead are a row of traffic cones, so the forklift turns left to move alongside a building. The view then switches to overhead and Ryo's forklift enters a warehouse marked "01". As he does so, he raises the forks of the truck, with that familiar mechanical whine we heard in the first game.
Driver's view from the forklift. Ryo's destination warehouse is ahead, but traffic cones redirect him.

Following the tease of a screenshot of Ryo in a forklift from Famitsu earlier in the year, it's wonderful to see Ryo and his forklift in motion.
Ryo on a forklift in Shenmue I (left) and Shenmue III (right). The back of the forklift has "YSNET" and there's even a stenciled number "5" on the seat as a nod to the one he operated in Yokosuka.
The fast pace at which Ryo is travelling in the clip and the lines of traffic cones forcing a detour are reminiscent of the forklift racing in the original Shenmue. Might forklift racing be included in Shenmue III together with the forklift job? The evidence against this theory is that the clip shows no on-screen speed gauge or time display.

Regarding the warehouse location, in 2018 a likely-looking warehouse was spotted in the background of a screenshot from the MAGIC 2018 press conference, giving rise to speculation as to whether the might be involved in forklifting activities in the game. Now we have that confirmation that this is the case.
The warehouse and nearby building can be recognized in this development screenshot (Jan 2018).
The Prophecy trailer later in the year shows the same warehouse in a night view looking down on the river.
The same warehouse and building from the Prophecy trailer (Sep 2018).
A banner stands outside the building that Ryo drives his forklift past, with the words "Hiring Part Timers" on it.

Perhaps this is the administrative office for the warehouse, to which Ryo must pay a visit to start his forklift job (the sign on the building is a little too blurry to make out from the current footage).

The contents of the warehouse reveal a stack of crates (towards which Ryo steers his forklift), and a large white ceramic object. But over at the back is one very unusual statue who may be destined for a certain "Panda Land" arcade center...

Update: additional findings added below.

The sharp of eyes of Spaghetti noticed the word GAME on the side of one of the buildings Ryo drives near in his forklift, suggesting the possibility of a games arcade inside.

The word GAME can be seen on the side of one building.
This inspired me to investigate other past screenshots and trailers that show this building, and a screen capture from the Prophecy trailer helped crack the mystery of the giant mole seen when Ryo drives his forklift into the warehouse in the video.

The giant moles look so pretty at night!
Apparently the statues are promotional figures that are lit up at night to attract visitors to play at a games arcade!

The appearance of the building is quite different from the PANDA High-Tech Land screenshot seen at the Reboot Develop conference, suggesting multiple arcade centers may exist.

Scene 3: Whac-a-Mole

At Yu Suzuki's talk at the recent Reboot Develop, he shared a screenshot of an arcade game center, and one of the machines there could be recognized as a Whac-a-Mole game which we now see in action.


In this brief but colorful clip, we see Ryo playing a frantic game of Whac-a-Mole, nimbly thumping a hammer down on helmeted moles as they pop up.


From the scoreboard we can see that each successful contact with a mole is worth 10 points. In this clip, Ryo manages to hit a green, yellow and dark-purple mole, increasing his score by 30 points to 720, accompanied by an appropriate electronic sound effect. The high score is 1000, and the previous game's score is 230.

The layout of the moles and their helmet colors have been carefully chosen to match the layout and button colors of the player's controller - in this case they match the button colors of an Xbox-style controller. Presumably the game would adjust the mole's helmet colors accordingly for a PS4 controller.
The mole positions and helmet colors have been carefully chosen to match the controller.
Some other machines can be seen in the arcade: a Highway Star driving game from the Reboot Develop screenshot sits at the back, and there's a second Whac-a-Mole machine beside the first one. And through the gap between the two Whac-a-Mole games can be seen the familiar pattern of a QTE Title machine.

Some small differences can be seen in the relative positioning of the machines compared to the screenshot of the arcade interior from April's Reboot Develop conference: for example, in the conference screenshot the Highway Star game has been turned against the side wall next to a QTE Title machine, and a picture of Pai Chan from Virtua Fighter added:
Detail from a screenshot shared by Yu Suzuki at April's Reboot Develop conference.

I will wrap up Part One here, and complete the remaining clips from the video in Part Two.

Leave a comment below with any other observations or thoughts!

Continue to Part Two
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  1. Great analysis of the Wallmart vídeo Switch, really informative stuff. Can barely wait for part two. Don't know why Deep Silver hasn't released this vídeo oficially since it has already been leacked. Hope they don't hold back at this E3 and end up impressing the gaming media.

    1. Thanks Shenmue Unofficial! Yes, fingers crossed for a good impression at E3. I noticed that the clips in this teaser all seem to be mainly from Niaowu (although there are some training scenes from Bailu village). It will be interesting to see if the press access at E3 will be a section of Bailu village, like the footage that the press reported on at MAGIC, or whether Niaowu will feature at all.

  2. Did that sound like Eric Kelso doing Ren's voice?? I can't tell.

    1. No, Eric didn't voice Ren this time but it sounds pretty similar doesn't it.