Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Analysis: Examining the In-Game Rewards Screenshots (Part Two) | Shenmue 3

Welcome to the second part of our examination of the reward images that were released with the recent Kickstarter announcement.

Save Shenmue Hall Interior

There was one more screenshot of the interior of the Save Shenmue hall, showing a full-size forklift truck standing on a pedestal (stamped with #31 and YSNET), the model first seen in a screenshot in April's Famitsu interview with Yu Suzuki. Also displayed is a toy forklift driven by a chibi Ryo figure, a larger version of the one in the Shenmue 1 "Gruppa" capsule toy set.

Some more pieces of Shenmue concept art can be seen adorning the walls: one of Ren, one of as Akira (Ryo) as a high school student (interestingly, the image is horizontally flipped compared to the tweeted version) and one of Ryo next to a flowering tree. The last two illustrations were shared by Yu Suzuki on Twitter in July 2015 at the time of the Kickstarter campaign.
There is also a game machine sitting nearby (and the edge of another next to it) that proclaims its name as "Big Wheel". The machine is lit up by numerous glowing lightbulbs. It has pictures on the wheel: a teddy bear, a red apple, cherries, a lemon and, at a guess, a melon and there is also a narrow region with the word BONUS on it. The front panel has a single, large red button on it.

There is a real-life amusement game called Spin 'n' Win that may have been an inspiration: in this game, the player starts the wheel spinning and tries to time their press of the Stop button in order to win tickets or prizes.

In the case of the Big Wheel machine, there is an object on a red shelf in the center that looks like it could be a figurine with its arms raised - perhaps this is one of the prizes on offer?

In-Game Reward: Wishing Plaques

This next screenshot shows Ryo in a room near there are stands that hold rows of small wooden tablets, each hanging by a red cord. Elsewhere in the room can be seen a candle holder and a bottle of Chinese wine on a table, and part of a large statue of a figure in boots and a coat sitting on a chair. The statue  and a framed picture on the wall that is stamped with the name of the temple that Ryo is visiting.

The custom of hanging wishing plaques / prayer tablets is one that will be familiar to Japanese players of the game. (The comments I have made relating to these below are based on how they are used in Japan, but it would be interesting to hear from blog readers as to whether the same customs are common in China).
  • Giant statue: all that can be seen of this statue is the leg of a giant seated figure wearing decorative boots and a patterned coat. However these clues were enough for some online research to turn up a probable identity in the form of a man named Guan Yu, who was a general serving a warlord during the Three Kingdoms period. After his death he became worshiped as a deity in Chinese folk religion,  Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism.
  • Framed picture of a horse: at the top of the picture are characters meaning "offering" in Japanese, which are often found written at shrines and temples. At the side is written the temple's name; the first character is obscured but the last two characters mean "wish" and "temple." The horse is a symbol for communicating prayers and wishes that derives from early beliefs that horses carried messages to the gods.
  • Wishing plaques: worshipers at shrines and temples often write a wish or prayer on a wooden plaque and leave them hanging up to be granted. The plaques often carry images, such as images of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac (Snake, Dog, Boar and so on) as can be seen in the screenshot. 
The wishing plaques were part of the $1,400 Kickstarter reward tier.

The description of this reward reads:
"Choose one of three wishes. Your name and birthdate will be written on a traditional wishing plaque to be displayed at a temple in Bailu Village. Find your plaque and your wish will come true! "
It is likely that the Zodiac animal illustrated on the plaque is the one associated with the backer's birthdate. I wonder what the three choices of wishes were - based on the wording perhaps some kind of in-game item is unlocked for the player if they successfully locate their own plaque.

The reward description also confirms that the location of this temple is located in Bailu Village.

In-Game Reward: Chibi You Capsule Toy

The $1,200 Chibi You Capsule Toy reward tier offered the chance to have character designer Kenji Miyawaki draw you as a chibi figure for a capsule toy vending machine.

Also of interest is the array of items shown in the background of the picture. Here is the section with color adjustments, and labels added.
  • Paintings of the Li River: the scenery in the first painting matches the shape of "Elephant Trunk Hill" on the Li River (a location which has also been reproduced in the game).
  • One of the other paintings shows the partially-obscured face of a man who resembles Yuanda Zhu's aide Zhang from Shenmue 2. (Credit to Truck_1_0_1 from the Shenmue Dojo forums for the identification).
  • The "5 Americans" artwork is official promotional artwork from Shenmue 1.
  • Other items include a painting of Dou Niu, several musical instruments and amulets that are similar to the one Ryo received from Nozomi.
This completes Part Two of our examination of the reward screenshots, and there was plenty to look at! We will cover the photos that were included in the Kickstarter update separately.

Become a Patron!


  1. Looks like a keyboard inbetween the electric guitar and the trombone to me. Great analysis!

    1. Good call KidMarine! I was squinting at it for a while but it didn't click :)