Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Shenmue Game Yu Suzuki Wants to Make Next | Excerpts from the Yokosuka Livestream

During the recent livestream talk event to celebrate the release of Shenmue the Animation that was held on location in Yokosuka, Yu Suzuki was asked about his plans or intention for his next Shenmue-related project.

The focus of the livestream was naturally on the anime, but in this post we have transcribed extracts from Yu Suzuki that are pertinent to the topic of the Shenmue video games and any plans for a next Shenmue entry (translations by Switch).

Reflections on Shenmue III

While the focus of the livestream was of course the anime, in the latter half the topic turned to Shenmue III. The MC, Esra Krabbe of IGN Japan, pointed out that, while he had held interviews with Yu Suzuki several times in the period leading up to the game's release, there had not been so much of an opportunity to talk with him about the game in the 3 years after its release.

Yu Suzuki: Through the support of long-time players, the game [Shenmue III] was able to be realized through Kickstarter, and they rated it really highly. That's largely because I put my heart and soul into it with fans in mind, and made it just for them. Their high ratings really gave me a feeling of achievement and I was very happy to see that.

Esra asked Suzuki if there are any changes he would like to make for a game going forwards:

Esra Krabbe: Looking back now, is there any aspect you would have liked to have done differently?

Yu Suzuki: It's a game that I gave my utmost to making with Shenmue fans in mind, so I feel that I may have left behind players who were new to the series and who hadn't played Shenmue before.

Esra pointed out that the game did not ignore new players completely: there was a digest movie to recap events up to that point, as well as flashback scenes during play. However, Suzuki went on to indicate that he would like to cater even better to new players:

Yu Suzuki: My goal for next time is to make it not just enjoyable just for Shenmue fans, but also to turn newcomers into fans. In a sense, the anime has been perfect for that. It really brings out the world of Shenmue in a way that's easy to grasp.

Yu Suzuki on What's Next

Esra Krabbe: I think all the fans will be wondering and looking forward to what will be coming next. I don't expect you'll be able to say much on this stream... [Suzuki laughs] but if you have the chance in future to make something Shenmue related, what sort of thing would you like to make? For example, Shenmue 4, or some kind of spinoff etc. We would really like to hear what you think about that, to the extent you're able to comment.

Yu Suzuki: Of course, I'd really like to make Shenmue 4 or a spinoff title, if I have the chance.

Esra Krabbe: That's about as much as you can say? [Suzuki laughs] Your continued desire to make something hasn't changed, then.

Yu Suzuki: I'm still frequently getting lots of enquiries from everyone asking me about Shenmue 4, or even a spinoff. And if I have the chance, I'd really like to do so.

In summary, in the livestream Yu Suzuki reiterated his desire to create another Shenmue-related game, with a goal of making it accessible to newcomers. This echoes the thoughts he expressed in a previous interview with IGN Japan in 2020.

As can be seen, Suzuki did not specifically state whether or not there is a game in the works at the moment, which is entirely understandable given that the livestream was not an appropriate event for such an announcement. Any such announcement would surely be made more formally on a more suitable occasion.

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