Shenmue

Kickstarter’s ultimate test could be just around the corner, and a lot sooner than anyone expected. It’s had a lot of success in funding some high profile games, but nothing comes close to topping this. Could Shenmue 3 be the game that proves this crowd-funding solution is indeed for real?

A French video game journalist who interviewed series creator, Yu Suzuki, at the Monaco Anime Game Show has tweeted that the longtime SEGA game producer has been considering turning to the fans for help to finally get the long awaited conclusion to their story. His full interview will be published in the near future at Canal Street.TV.

The SEGA Dreamcast masterpiece, Shenmue, holds the distinction of being the most expensive video game created for nearly a decade until Grand Theft Auto IV eventually took that title. Although not exactly much these days, the game took a staggering $47 million to complete. That’s a fortune by 1999 standards, roughly $70 million after inflation. The sequel clocked in at a slightly lower price, bringing both games to a $90 million price tag.

What price it would take to make a game of the same quality, and would Kickstarter even be enough to cover the cost?

Suzuki’s labor of love opened a lot of doors with its non-linear approach to solving puzzles and free-roaming cities, which was unheard of at the time. Unfortunately, it also tanked pretty hard with not a lot of gamers not understanding how to approach Suzuki’s ambitions. The sequel was pushed onto the Xbox, which was unpopular in Shenmue‘s native country of Japan, and the series hasn’t been heard from since.

Could Shenmue 3 be finally completed with help from the fans? Do we recast the voice actors, or is the corny dialogue an inseparable element of the Shemue franchise? Do we update into HD, or are the blocky SEGA polygons enough to finish the job?

The biggest question is if this will even happen. SEGA and Suzuki have yet to officially comment, and the interview has yet to be released in full.

Regardless, a successful Shenmue 3 campaign would be huge for Kickstarter. I can’t think of many other abandoned series as high profile as Shenmue that could benefit from a huge and vocal fan-supported campaign, and should this get off the ground, I have a feeling it could have the potential to make or break the system.