Monday, February 27, 2023

Shenhua's Home Renovations - What Changed in Shenmue III

It has been a while since our earlier post on the blog in which we looked at changes in appearance to the exterior of Shenhua's house and the surrounding landscape from Shenmue II compared to Shenmue III. In this post, we'll turn our attention to the house's interior to cover what changes have been made within.

House Footprint

One notable difference seen from external observation, even before Ryo steps inside, is that Shenhua's house in Shenmue III has a difference in shape compared to Shenmue II.

Originally, the house's footprint was previously a simple "L" shape:

Shenhua's house, Shenmue II

However in the later game, the right-hand side of the house has been extended with a new wing:

Shenhua's house, Shenmue III
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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Weekly AM2 Vol. 7: Interview with Shenmue Planning Director, Eigo Kasahara | 25th Jan 2000

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. 7 contains an interview with Shenmue Planning Director, Eigo Kasahara (who also returned to manage the localization for Shenmue I & II many years later). There is also an announcement of the prizes for the Network Ranking competition, as well as another Shenmue digital wallpaper.



Vol.6: 2000.1.25

Have you cleared Shenmue? I'm Takuan.

Are you all participating in the Network Rankings? The Shenmue Passport makes Shenmue even more fun!

This week's contents:
  • Notice of Yu Suzuki's talk
  • Interview with Shenmue's Planning Director, Eigo Kasahara
  • Announcement of Network Rankings Prizes
  • Shenmue Wallpaper Download Service, Round 2

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Friday, February 17, 2023

Forklift No. 5

Spotted in the wild... a genuine Forklift No. 5.

Ready for the morning race.

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Friday, February 10, 2023

Band-Aids at the Tomato Convenience Store - Early Design Document | Translation

In this post we examine and translate an early Shenmue design document which gives some interesting insight into some design changes made before the game's release.

The document is an illustration that details the contents of the shelves at the Tomato Convenience store in Dobuita, as shown below:

Early design document of the shelves at the Tomato Convenience Store

The appearance and layout of these shelves match very closely with the shelves at the Dobuita branch of the Tomato Convenience Store in the first game:

Shelves at the Tomato Convenience Store in Dobuita (release version)

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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for February 2023

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the winning topic that has been voted this time is:

"The Significance of the Big Dipper in Shenmue"

The Big Dipper is what is known as an asterism, which is a recognizable pattern of stars that is not a formal constellation in itself, but can often be part of one. In the case of the Big Dipper, it is part of the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear). In Chinese culture, the Big Dipper is often associated with the mythical creature the Dragon.

The stars and their constellations are a recurring topic encountered throughout the Shenmue games, and are woven into the story. For example:
  • Ancient beliefs: in Shenmue I: the Russiya antique shop in Dobuita, where the owner, Xiuyu Xia, explains the significance that people in China attach to the Big Dipper and other nearby stars.
  • Celestial harbinger: Ryo notices a book about constellations when visiting Shenhua's house for the first time. When Ryo asks about it, she recounts that while observing the Big Dipper the night before, the behavior of a neighboring star gave her an uneasy feeling that something bad had happened.
  • Symbolism: the Sword of Seven Stars that has been left at the Stone Pit by Shenhua's father is inscribed with the same seven-star pattern of the Big Dipper.

Another aspect we will touch on is the extent to which the symbolism and importance of the Big Dipper and other star formations that has been hinted at throughout the first two games, carries through to the third game in the series.

Watch for this article in an upcoming post! Early access will be available for blog patrons.

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