When Shenmue III was announced at E3 2015 on the Sony stage, fans of the series - which has spanned nearly two decades - were justifiably enthused by the news that the game would finally receive a third installment, after having been absent from the gaming scene for several years.
At gamescom, backers of the project received a teaser trailer - during a meet-and-greet Yu Suzuki, CEO of Ys Net, the studio behind the project - that showed some of the combat, in-game activities and places that can be explored during the reportedly 30-hour campaign. However, many were quite surprised by the blank, expressionless face of the protagonist, as well as those of several other characters in the game.
When asked about the omission of these facial animations, Suzuki responded with the following:
“Shenhua, Ryo, and the other characters are mostly temporary [...] Shenhua still has to be fixed up a bit. [Hideaki Morishita] was unable to ready them in time for this trailer."
Suzuki also discussed the studio's latest partnership with Deep Silver, which has allowed it to 'broaden' the scope of the title. In the recent interview (translated from Japanese by Gematsu), he expanded upon the vision behind the game. Shenmue III will be a single-player experience, and downloadable content post-launch is being planned by the studio. Other than that, the main protagonist, Ryo will be voiced by Masaya Matsukaze in the Japanese version, and Corey Marshall for the English version of the game.
Other interesting tidbits include in-game activities, of which Suzuki went into quite a lot of detail. According to him, the player will be able to find so-called jobs in the game - in exchange for money - which can range from becoming a fisherman, lumberjack, and of course, the fan favorite Forklift driver. As for newcomers to the franchise, the Director spoke about plans to include a digest of information that will elaborate the story so that anyone who did not play the first two titles would be able to quickly catch up. However, the studio still needs to decide on whether or not it will be in video format.
According to Suzuki, Shenmue III will utilize a completely new engine, which will include reworked mechanics to allow for a more enjoyable combat system. Although, he did further elaborate that the game will not be an 'action-based' experience, and will closely follow the gameplay style of the previous two entries.
Shenmue III will be released on PlayStation 4 and PC, and is scheduled to launch in 2018.
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