So Shenmue III, a game that has been one of my life’s great “if only”s, is now a reality. $2m funded in less time that it takes to play both Shenmue I and II back to back. That’s impressive.
I last wrote about this two and a half years ago, all dewy-eyed because it was that time of year when the date in the game was the same as the date in real life. Every year, I get a hankering to play the game, and I usually play a few days or so. Just to relive that first moment I left the house and walked down towards Yamanose, and I thought to myself (back in 2000) “Shit, I’m in a real Japanese town.”
Whatever happens next is almost irrelevant. The game can never be as good as my expectations. In fact, my expectations were that Shenmue III would include an HD remake of I and II where you could properly play pool or mah jong.
But that’s not going to happen. What’s also not going to happen is the shock of the new. After everything that’s happened in fifteen years, there’s no way it can have the same effect that it once did. That’s not important.
It feels like an ex-girlfriend suddenly got in touch and suggested meeting up. Now I feel nervous. Will there still be magic? Is it doomed to failure and a sudden jolting realisation about how old you’ve both become? Either way, only an idiot would turn down the opportunity (assuming you happen to be single at the time).
So far, it’s all hope and no substance. The concept artwork and videos are pretty uninspiring. But there is time. People have written about a Winter 2017 release date, but I think 2018 is more realistic. There’ll be no lack of goodwill in the videogame industry to get this done.
I think the reason why Shenmue and the Dreamcast are held in such affection is because, back then, Sega had this crazy idea that all they had to do was make great games, and people would buy it. Cruelly, this didn’t turn out to be the case. No DVD compatibility and no EA Sports hurt the Dreamcast bad. Plus, of course, the PS2 was a great machine. I should be angry at it for ruining the Dreamcast, but it gave us Ico and Final Fantasy XII, so I’ll let it slide.
But now the waiting is over. Apart from the waiting before the release, that is. I want to go back, and finish what I started. I want to beat Lan Di. I want to marry Shenhua. But only after I’ve had a crazy passionate fling with Joy (see second screenshot). And I want to tell Nozomi to take a hike after she cruelly told me to “Cheer up will ya?” only a few days after my dad died.