The creator of Shenmue still seems optimistic another sequel could happen, as he admits he has to appeal to a more mainstream audience.
When Shenmue 3 was first announced, back in 2015, it was heralded as the return of one of the most beloved franchises in gaming. The reality of when it was actually released though, is that it’s an extremely niche game that most people have never heard of.
So while Kickstarter backers had already paid for it, very few other people bought it and the chances of a fourth game were immediately thrown into doubt – but creator Yu Suzuki still seems optimistic.
‘With Shenmue 3 I created a game for the fans, but if I have the opportunity to make Shenmue 4 – and I think I will – I know how to satisfy casual users, so I want to make a game that everyone can be satisfied with,’ Yu Suzuki told IGN Japan, as translated by VGC.
Suzuki seems convinced he can give Shenmue 4 a broader appeal, although his examples of how he’s going to do that seem fairly minor and include things like adding quest markers, improving fast travel, adding time skip functions, and a better user interface.
‘With Shenmue 3, I really responded to the fans’ voices, so I wasn’t necessarily thinking about making any money. But since I’m running a company, I have to think about what can sell if I continue. I’ve been seriously talking about it over and over again,’ he said.
All of that seems to be picking around the edges of the problem though, which was that Shenmue 3 is an incredibly slow-paced game, that took ages to get nowhere in particular. It’s also a story-based game in which the story and characters are almost inconsequential, with banal dialogue and very little plot progression over the last game.
How much any of that is going to change in a new sequel remains to be seen, as does whether Suzuki can gain the financial backing to make it.
What’s perhaps most interesting though is that he’s also interested in making new original titles, including open world games and those with a more ‘intimate’ experience.
Before Shenmue, Suzuki was best known for arcade classics such as OutRun, After Burner, and Virtua Fighter but there doesn’t seem to be any suggestion he’ll be making anything like that again.
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