I will say up front: I can't get images to work seemingly, and I also don't care. Images are for the weak. Or something.
Anyways, I bought my Dreamcast back in grade 10, around 2001, 2002. This was the end of the systems short life cycle, and I was fine with it. I bought it used, got a great deal, and collected a massive amount of games in a very short period from pawn shops and clearence bins. I look back on that time fondly, and I remember the day I went to go get it. It was sweltering hot, I was sweating balls, and I carried it home in a garbage bag, immediately rented Ecco the Dolphin, and spent the entire day playing in the heat of my cooking hot little bedroom.
One of the last games I got brand new from EB Games was Shenmue. I had heard the hype, and was super curious about it, but waited awhile to take the plunge. I didn't quite understand what it was, except it sounded intriguing. I popped it in the system, and gave it a whirl and - oh my God.
The game was fucking awesome. Sure, it was boring a lot of the time. You wandered around aimlessly. But this little world felt so fleshed out, a slice of a country I had always dreamed of visiting but never could. I could play Sega arcade games whenever I wanted collect little toys, and even hang out at the grocery store. It was quaint, it was unique, and wonderful, and over the summer I played through and beat it, the culminating end fight being one of my favorite moments in gaming to this day.
When it was announced that Shenmue 2 was officially canceled, I was heart broken. The Lan Di story was just getting started, and now I wouldn't be able to play it? I considered importing, but it was cost prohibitive. And then finally, a ray of hope - the sequel was announced on Xbox.
I eventually got my hands on it, and to be frank, it just never captured me the same way as the original. Games had changed since then, becoming more engaging, more impressive. Shenmue 2 just kind of felt like a clunky chore to me. And slowly, my interest started to fade, along with the hope of everyone that the third and final game in the series was coming - and I accepted that I would never get to find out what happened with Lan Di, or how Ryo's story would end. But hey, we can't win em all, and I got over it.
Here we are, in 2019. The Shenmue collection was released not too long ago, and although I was somewhat tempted to try it, it just felt too little too late. It's just not something I want to go through, but hearing that Shenmue 3 finally was announced made me happy in a vicarious way for all the folks who, like me, were absorbed into the first game, and whose patience had finally paid off in a way mine hadn't.
So, I checked out some E3 footage.
Honestly, I have to say that although the game looks almost unreasonably outdated, I would probably be okay with that aspect of it. Just squint your eyes and pretend like it came out on the Dreamcast! So no problem.
Then I heard the unfortunate news about backers not being given their promised Steam version. Well, that's quite a joke - it happens a lot with Kickstarter's, sure, but it's never nice when it does. A promise is made, and then invariably broken. This is part of the reason I generally stay far the fuck away from crowdfunding, except in a few isolated cases.
But the straw for me was reading a recent article explaining how "Shenmue 3's ending will be open ended, allowing for more games."
That is just utter bullshit, I'm sorry.
Look, there was no hope for a long time of closing up the story for Shenmue. It's a weird, niche title as it is. But even as someone who fell off the wagon for the game, I would have at least liked to have read about Shenmue 3, watched a playthrough about how it ended, something, to finally give closure on how the story ended. I'm sorry, but I thought that was the fucking point? In my recollection, it had always been planned as a sort of trilogy. Or am I remember things wrong?
If the game is a failure, what this means is that Shenmue will once again fade out of memory, never to find closure. This comes across as nothing more than another cheap tactic to keep the money train rolling, and not in the best interest of people who have been waiting literally two decades to see a story finally come to a close. You want to make more Shenmue like games, or spinoffs? Fine, but if this is your last shot at a finale, which it certainly might be, why not just have a hard end to it all, and cut it off at the third game with a logical conclusion to the story? Holy shit.
Those are just my two cents about this project, and how these things can become so ambitious and balloon out of control. I am sure some will be happy to know that Shenmue could potentially keep going, but the last time I played the game, I was fifteen and begging my older friends to buy me beer. Now I have gray hair and go fishing on the weekends with my equally aging neighbour while our wives look after the babies. I can't even believe how much time has passed since this shit was last relevant, and they won't even have the good grace to just wrap it the fuck up already.
Oh well, what do I care. I just hope the real fans are gonna be happy with how all this plays out. Otherwise, it's a real damn shame if it goes south.