Release Countdown to November 19th

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 for the arrangements, I was granted the chance to try out the demo for Shenmue III. 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 the play time was limited to 45 minutes (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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Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Changing Beauty of the Hazuki Cherry Tree

The Shenmue series is beloved by fans for its ability to draw you into its world with attention to the smallest details that really make you believe in it as a living, breathing world. And a new video by James Brown illustrates that perfectly, showing off the incredible depths in the game implemented by Yu Suzuki and team.
The cherry tree that stands in the Hazuki garden is brought to the player's attention in the starting prologue, which occurs during a thundery winter day, where it's calm domain is violated by Lan Di and his henchmen who dig up the earth to locate the Dragon mirror that has been buried there. After that, while it makes further appearances in a childhood flashback and dream sequences, it's appearance during game play may escape the player's notice.

James has captured its gradual season transformation that is portrayed in detail as time goes on, emphasizing its role as a time keeper in the game. Not only that, but other areas of the garden also undergo changes with the arrival of spring flowers popping up.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

"What is Shenmue 3?" | Fan-made Trailer

A wonderful trailer for Shenmue III has been put together for Shenmue Day (the 3rd of every month) by Shenmue Dojo member yuc02.

yuc02 is a past contributor of articles to this blog, and who also organized and produced a banner on behalf of the community, adorned with signatures and logos, that is now hanging proudly in the YS Net office.

This new trailer crafts together trailer footage, concept art and photos. Watch it here:

There is also a Japanese version:

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