Every year, the city of Los Angeles welcomes in June the biggest video game show in the world: E3. This time, Sony’s conference got the best feedback because of a major announcement during its presentation, the return of Shenmue.


Since the third episode of the series had been expected for a long time, in spite of the sales of the two first episodes, that were disappointing compared to their cost, the craze after the trailer showing the new project was outstanding on the Internet. Every single year before E3, fans expect Yu Suzuki –the creator of the series- to make an appearance in order to present the new episode but it never happened. This tradition became a running-gag over the years since the game had not been presented for almost ten years.


The first episode cost about 47 million dollars in its development when it was released in 1999 on Dreamcast. It followed the story of Ryo Hazuki, whose father was killed in front of him, and takes place in Asia. The purpose of the young man is to understand the murder of his father and to find his killer. The possibilities offered by the game in terms of gameplay were fantastic for its age. This is the reason why its hype lives on.


Perhaps the ambition of the creator of the game was too big, because it was impossible for it to be profitable. Indeed, even if every owner of the system had bought the game, it would not have been profitable because of the unreasonableness of the budget. Nevertheless, Yu Suzuki’s work is considered to be one of the best game ever created, and so is the second episode, that was as excellent as its precursor. Unfortunately, the sales were ridiculous compared to the expectations: 1.18 million for Shenmue on Dreamcast and 470 000 for Shenmue 2 on both Dreamcast and Xbox.

This failure may be the main reason why Shenmue 3 took so long to be announced. Even if there is a huge fan base, would it be enough to support the cost of such a game? Nowadays, there is an easy solution if you want to see if your project is about to work: crowdfunding. Shortly after the presentation, Yu Suzuki launched a campaign on Kickstarter for the game to be financed with an objective of 2 million dollars. Did it work? It did and figures are pretty impressive. The campaign broke the record of the fastest one about videogames to reach one million dollar of donations with 1 hour 42 minutes. It is even the second fastest of all Kickstarter’s campaigns, as the only one to reach the million faster is the Pebble watch one that did it in 46 minutes.


As we speak, the game just reached 3,600,000 dollars of funding while the objective was only 2 million. In order for the game to be the best as possible, Sony will also give its contribution by financing a part of Shenmue 3 and offering this sequel to its fan. They will have to be patient, the game is planned to be released in 2017 on PS4 and PC in the best case scenario. But for fans, the wait was worthy since they finally know the game exists.


Thomas  SCHMIDT  Etudiant en M2 Droit de l’économie numérique car passionné par les nouvelles technologies qui sont désormais au cœur de la société et qui soulèvent de nouvelles problématiques, notamment juridiques et éthiques. Au-delà de ça, je suis également féru de sport, et particulièrement le football que je pratique en club. J’ai la chance de pouvoir mettre mes compétences en la matière au service des parieurs sur en proposant mes analyses pour la Ligue 1.

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