What are we really getting at what cost?
Shenmue 3‘s existence is pretty neat. Its presence on a major publisher’s stage show to hock a Kickstarter is less neat, to me. Obviously the $2 million goal (and $3.5 million raised at time of writing) would not be enough for Shenmue 3, so there’s word that Sony’s pitching in, but also:
“Currently we are planning development only for PC (Windows) and PS4. Other platforms have not been decided yet. If other platform versions were added as rewards, an announcement would be made on the update page.”
Wiggle room for more platforms, which maybe makes less sense if Sony’s putting anything significant into it? “SONY will not get any money from the KS, they will help to finance the PS4 version and will also help for advertisement,” tweeted co-producer Cedric Biscay.
Then there’s Yu Suzuki’s Reddit thread wherein he writes, “I will say this: if we reach the $5 mil mark, one of the things I really want to do with Shenmue 3 will become a reality,” followed by “At $10 million, it will truly have the features of an open world.” So what is being funded by what money?
Suzuki told Polygon, “For right now, all I can tell you is that YS Net has been looking at other sources of funding and we’re preparing other sources of funding, so for the Shenmue 3 project it will be what we can source from outside plus the Kickstarter.”
This doesn’t feel like skullduggery, just a lack of the transparency Kickstarter usually affords — because they are usually small projects made by individuals without involvement of huge companies like Sony. At least they were until Double Fine Adventure et al turned the platform into a mid-tier publisher and weird venture capital abetting set up. And that just means more money for Kickstarter, as success like Bloodstained‘s $5 plus million are some of the highest funded projects on the platform (thus, higher cuts to Kickstarter).
Sure, after years of absence and in today’s climate, Shenmue 3 does feel like an underdog, but when you’re up on Sony’s stage at E3, you can only cling so close to that status.