Following the announcement for the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter 3 campaign, many questions were left un-answered, the most important one being: is $2 million goal enough to make a game like Shenmue 3?
During Sony's Press conference, VP Adam Boyes announced that iconic designer Yu Suzuki has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3, asking for $2 million. It didn't take long, in fact less than 12 hours after the announcement, and the project has already reached its goal. It currently sits at $3,144,734 with 29 days to go. There are some stretch goals to hit, such as Rapport system for $3.2 million, Skill Tree system for $3.5 million, as well mini-games and events for higher mark-ups. These numbers are genuinely impressive, but the money might not be enough to build a proper Shenmue game. After all, creator Yu Suzuki told Destructoid back in 2011 that the original Shenmue had a $47 million cost attached, and that was a mere 16 years ago.
The Kickstarter announcement itself was rather odd, taking place during Sony's press-conference, alongside many a PlayStation 4 exclusive title. Shenmue was definitely not an exclusive, since it's also slated to arrive on PC. The reason for this is quite simple, because Sony is footing most of the bill. Shortly after reaching its goal, Sony's director of third-party production Gio Corsi said "We hit our goal in under 24 hours," which implies Sony still has a big part to play in the game's development.
"Sony and PlayStation is definitely a partner in this game, and it’s going to be run through third-party production," he went on to explain. "We're going to help YsNet get the game done. We're going to be partners on it the whole way."
In short, the Kickstarter campaign was designed as proof-of-interest, to show investors there's still reason enough to invest. We don't know what the final budget will be, but considering the game's success as of yet, we might see more big-name publishers using crowdfunding campaigns to fish for interest from gamers.
Shenmue 3 is a continuation of Yu Suzuki's original series, tying up the storyline and introducing new mechanics, such as technique scrolls for level-up - these being obtained via mini-games scattered across the world. The game takes place in 80's China, will feature three different regions - Baisha, Choubu, and Bailu Village and will be based on Unreal Engine 4.
The game is under development with the help of Shibuya Productions, a Monaco-based studio currently working on an Astroboy reboot, and several members of the original production team will help Yu Suzuki and YSNet to finish the game. Right now, it's estimated for a late 2017 release on PC and PlayStation 4.