Sunday, December 27, 2020

Yu Suzuki's Plans for 2021: "Shooting / RPG" plus a Sequel Tease []

"110 Game Creators' New Year's Resolutions" (the jumping cow represents the 2021 animal sign of the Chinese Zodiac: the Ox)

As in previous years, Japanese website has released their annual survey of members of the games industry, interviewing a total of 110 game creators. The survey asks each to choose a word or phrase that sums up their direction for the coming year, as well as a New Year's Resolution and goal.

The survey responses may be new, but Famitsu's recycled photo of Yu Suzuki is not! (It's from their 2016 interview, in fact).

Here are Yu Suzuki's responses for this year's survey:

Q: Your Keyword for 2021?

YS: Shooting / RPG.
Q: Your New Year's Resolution?

1) Look back on competitive fighting games.
2) The sequel to...

Q: Status update?

YS: On November 19th, 2020, Shenmue III was released on Steam and GOG. I hope that the New Year of 2021 will be a time for people to unwind at home and heal their body and soul with a relaxing game like Shenmue. 
Q: What will you be keeping an eye on in 2021?

YS: I sincerely hope that the coronavirus will be contained and that the Tokyo Olympics will be held safely and smoothly.
In Yu Suzuki's response to the first question about his keyword for next year he mentions two seemingly-distinct game styles. This may be an indication of that his studio will have multiple projects in progress including a shooter / shoot-em-up game and an RPG (presumably excluding the FREE-based Shenmue).

Yu Suzuki hinted in Famitsu's previous survey, which came soon after the successful release of Shenmue III, that he had been planning to start "a new project" in the upcoming year. In IGN Japan's April interview, he also expressed interest in creating new games across various genres (racing, fighting, fantasy, science fiction, story-based games, titles suitable for esports). We have not heard any concrete news from YS Net since then - could it be that that projects revolving around one or both of these ideas are already underway?

In the second response, one of Yu Suzuki's New Year's Resolutions is to "look back" on competitive fighting games. It would be an exciting development if the father of the Virtua Fighter franchise were to develop a new twist on combat games.

The other part to the New Year's Resolution response was left deliberately open-ended: "The sequel to..." - surely a tease especially for Shenmue fans! Yu Suzuki spoke earlier in the year, in the above-mentioned IGN Japan interview, of his desire to continue on to a Shenmue IV if the demand is there, and I'd like to think that this response is a reaffirmation of that, or even better an indication that there may be some movement behind the scenes for the sequel.

We feel hopeful that there will be some interesting project news announced by Yu Suzuki and YS Net in 2021.
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  1. Perhaps the VF X Esports project is keeping his thoughts somewhat preoccupied as well? Competitive fighting games...

    1. Great thought, that would certainly tie in nicely.