Sunday, August 8, 2021

Weekly AM2 Vol. 2: Shenmue Pre-Release Interview with Keiji Okayasu | 21st Dec 1999

In this series we translate Shenmue content from Weekly AM2, the official online magazine published by Sega's AM2 development team back in the day. News and information about the Shenmue series could be found regularly within these pages from the end of 1999 through to 2001 with the release of Shenmue II.

Vol. 2 was released on 21st December 1999, a few days before the official release of Shenmue in Japan on the 29th, and includes a mini-interview with the game's director Keiji Okayasu. Okayasu also directed Shenmue II and returned to Shenmue once again many years later to work with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue III.



Hello, this is Takuan.

Get ready for another exciting edition as we bring the latest news!

This week's contents:
  • Pre-release interview with Shenmue game director, Keiji Okayasu
  • F355 Challenge: prizes for the top Internet Ranking winners!
  • Shenmue launch event scheduled!
  • Start of i-mode service on December 24!

Shenmue Pre-release Interview!

We spoke with Keiji Okayasu, who can finally take a break (?) after finishing the development of Shenmue: Chapter 1, Yokosuka. Let's get right to it!

Q: What did you enjoy and what did you struggle with while working on Shenmue?

KO: We tried a lot of new things with Shenmue, so I work with a lot of people from different professions outside of the game industry. For example, when we were doing motion capture, we had directors who actually film movies come in and give us advice. Of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing; with our being developers who have been making games for many years, there were some difficulties reflecting those ideas directly in the game, as they were based on real-world filming. However, it was a lot of fun to get to know so many people and hear their various opinions.

Q: What is the appeal of Shenmue?

KO: It's fun in a way that's hard to describe. Its fun isn't in your face, but rather it's the kind of fun that builds gradually. It's an addictive game that will have you hooked before you know it. The kind where, once you try it, you can't stop!

Q: Please give a message to everyone who's waiting for Shenmue.

KO: For starters: please buy it! It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a game that's packed with value, and is well worth the price of the software. If you play Shenmue, I'd love to hear what you think of it. We've tried a lot of new things in it, so I'd like to hear your thoughts. That goes not just for me, but for all of the project team. Everyone will have their own idea on what makes something fun, but rest assured that you won't feel let down. That's a promise!

Keiji Okayasu

Game director of Shenmue, who also worked on the Saturn version of Virtua Fighter 2. Rumor has it that he is already working on the next Shenmue game. He is also hard at work on the DC version of Rent-a-Hero.

21 December 1999

Shenmue Launch Event in Akihabara on December 29th!

Well everybody, this is the last Shenmue event of 1999.

At the year end, why not head to Akihabara, purchase Shenmue, meet the real Ryo, Shenhua, and Nozomi, and declare that this year has been a good one!

In any case, this is an event you won't want to miss, so please come along!

Event: commemoration of the release of Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka & meet-the-actors event.

Date & Place: Wednesday, December 29, 1999, at the following stores in Akihabara.

Location: Yamagiwa Soft-kan
Guests: Masaya Matsukaze, Hazuki Ishigaki. Special autographed portraits will be given away.

Location: Messe Sanoh
Guests: Masaya Matsukaze, Megumi Yasu.

Location: Kakuta Sofmap
Guests: Masaya Matsukaze, Megumi Yasu.

Location: Laox Computer Game Center
Guests: Masaya Matsukaze, Megumi Yasu.

Those who purchase Shenmue: Chapter 1 Yokosuka on the day of the event will receive a ticket to participate in the handshake event as well as receiving a signed software sleeve, on a first-come, first-served basis. Please enquire at each store for details.

Schedule subject to change.

Hazuki Ishigaki (Ling Shenhua), Masaya Matsukaze (Ryo Hazuki) and Megumi Yasu (Nozomi Harasaki).

i-mode Service Starts December 24th!

The i-mode* service of the Shenmue official website starts on December 24th. If you have i-mode, access this link now!

*Note from Switch: "i-mode" was the name of a mobile internet technology announced in 1999 that was provided as an optional pay service for users of DoCoMo mobile phones.    [Link inactive]

The site is packed with information, including the latest news, mini-game network ranking, monthly character visuals, game introductions, and more.

Incredibly, this service is free of charge!

This month's character visual is the heroine Shenhua. It's a really cute picture, so please check it out on i-mode. Depending on your device, you can also make it your screen saver.

The i-mode (mobile phone) version of the Shenmue official website.

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