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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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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