How to properly prepare for Shenmue III

Shenmue's hero, Ryu Hazuki, facing off against some criminals.

Shenmue III is back from the dead. Well, it’s technically been back from the dead for quite some time. The 2015 Kickstarter campaign shattered funding recording, smashing its $2 million goal in about seven to eight hours. The game has since come to gather over $7.1 million through crowdfunding plus support from Sony, Deep Silver, and Epic Games. I, along with many other fans all around the world, are extremely excited to be able to experience Ryo’s journey once again.

Shenmue’s history is littered with disappointment

A screenshot from the remastered edition of Shenmue.
A screenshot from the remastered edition of Shenmue.

The story of Shenmue is a tragic one, both in real life and in the actual game itself. You can find the entire development journey here, but I’d like to shed some light on a few things for the unaware.

Shenmue was a revolutionary game at the time, with an enormous marketing cost between $47 and $70 million USD. It was one of the most expensive games created at the time, especially for the Dreamcast, which wasn’t selling. At a time when the PS2 was launching, the Dreamcast struggled to perform. It suffered a lot of problems eventually leading to its ultimate demise when the Dreamcast was taken off the market. This was a crippling blow for Sega, Shenmue, and loyal fans everywhere.

Shenmue distribution

The sequel, Shenmue II, released on the Dreamcast in 2001. However, the Dreamcast release was only in Japan and Europe. While the game received critical acclaim, it only sold about 100,000 copies, a mere fraction of the first game’s sales, which were also well-below expectations. It would eventually see a release on the original Xbox in North America after Microsoft procured the rights to Shenmue II’s distribution. Even so, the game failed to garner much luck on the sales front.

As tragedy seems to strike Shenmue at every turn, the game’s ultimate future was left in limbo at the game’s paltry sales figures. Cue the decade-plus-long purgatory that the game’s development future rested in, and we’ll arrive at 2015. To the surprise of most, Yu Suzuki announced the plan to Kickstart the project on stage at E3 2015, and the rest is history. In 2017, Sega announced a remake but soon canceled it. Instead, Shenmue and Shenmue II were re-released as remasters for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

To summarize:

  • Shenmue debuted on Dreamcast in 1999
  • Shenmue II released in Japan and Europe in 2001 for the Dreamcast, then North America on the Xbox in 2002
  • Dead for all we know
  • In 2015, a crowdfunding campaign is announced
  • 2018 give us Shenmue and Shenmue II as remasters on PS4, Xbox One, PC

There’s an incredible video by YouTuber Super Eyepatch Wolf that does an incredible job of describing the woes the game has suffered in incredible detail. It’s a long video but is crucial if you’d like to understand all of the parts I’ve skimmed over.

Shenmue – The Tragic History created by Super Eyepatch Wolf

Shenmue today

So here we are, it’s 2019 and Shenmue III is expected to finally come out on November 19, 2019. On PC, it’ll be released exclusively on the Epic Games store. That revelation in itself was the center of heated controversy. Epic Games will maintain a one-year exclusivity of the game’s PC presence before it’ll be allowed onto other platforms. Epic Games is also refunding people who refuse to play the game on its platform.

The full PC specs have been revealed, but you’ll be able to get the game on the Playstation 4 as well. Sorry, Xbox peeps, but now that Sony’s got some skin in the game, this move could be seen from a mile away.

Shenmue III PC Version System Requirements

(Note: These were sourced from the game’s Kickstarter page):

*Game is currently in development so system requirements may change without notice. We thank you for your understanding.

OS: Windows 7×64, Windows 8×64, Windows 10×64 (64-bit OS Required)
Processor: Intel Core i5-4460 (3.40 GHz) or better; Quad-core or better
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti or better (DirectX 11 card & VRAM 2GB Required)
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband internet connection
Storage: 100 GB available space
Sound card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
Additional Info: Requires Epic Games Store Client to activate.

OS: Windows 10 (64-bit OS Required)
Processor: Intel Core i7-7700 (3.60 GHz)
Memory: 16GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband internet connection
Storage: 100 GB available space
Sound card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
Additional Info: Requires Epic Games Store Client to activate.

If you’re planning on playing Shenmue III, but don’t have the old games and don’t want the remasters, watch this video below for some story insight.

Shenmue and Shenmue II story summary by YouTuber The Patient Wolf

Funny observation that has nothing to do with anything, but both of the best videos on YouTube were made by “wolves”. Ehh, I thought it was pretty neat.

Shenmue III—the final chapter?

So there you have it: A quick overview of how Shenmue III came to be, a few of the tragedies it’s suffered over the years, and what the future holds. I’m incredibly excited, but honestly, a bit jaded. Whenever my world is graced by the presence of the immaculate masterpiece of a video game series, heartbreak follows shortly after. I truly hope that this isn’t the case again.

Shenmue debuts on PC through the Epic Games Store and the Playstation 4 on Number 19, 2019.

Estevan Zamora
An entrepreneur, photographer, and writer. He likes capturing beautiful images, scrubbing it up in various competitive FPS games, and browsing reddit like it's about to shut down.

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