Dreamcast classic Shenmue and its sequel Shenmue II (which also appeared on the original Xbox), has long been viewed as a franchise many people would sell their right leg for if SEGA promised to make another one. Speaking to Famitsu 360 in Japan, SEGA would appear to be open to working on a follow-up, if a publisher was willing to pony up the coin for its exclusivity rights. Eurogamer reports:
“None of the previous games sold really well for the investment made, and SEGA is in doubt as to if it will resurrect the series. However, SEGA assured the fans that if there is some opportunity to revisit the series, they would love to do it. SEGA also mentioned the chance of one of the three hardware makers financing the game’s (Shenmue III) production in exchange for an exclusivity deal.”
Of course, we kinda already have new Shenmue considering Yakuza has often been quoted as a successor to the series – at least spiritually. Not to mention that many of the team who made the Shenmue games went on to work on the popular Japanese crime-syndicate titles. But people still want Shenmue III. Will the likes of Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo be willing to step in and plonk a chunk of cash on the table for the privilege of having it solely on their platform?
Remember, the first game cost $70 million to make, and a third episode would likely also cost a fair bit of coin. Maybe Microsoft, burnt from writing all those cheques to Japanese developers for timed exclusives that didn’t really have the desired effect, may look at Shenmue III as a perfect way of ingratiating themselves with the Japanese gaming public.