One of the biggest surprises out of Sony’s E3 2015 press conference last night was the announcement for Shenmue III. Long awaited by fans of the cult franchise, the announcement was not that Sony was publishing the title, but rather that a Kickstarter was launching for it to be developed. However, with only a $2 million goal (which was reached very, very quickly), many wondered if that would be enough to properly fund the title?
While more than likely to reach its $4 million stretch goal, it’s important to remember that the original Shenmue cost a record $47 million to produce back in 1999. With the cost of development only rising since then, it became apparent that someone else was going to be helping out with production costs. As it turns out, Sony will be working with Yu Suzuki and company on the project.
During today’s PlayStation live show, Sony director of Third-Party Relations Gio Corsi revealed the news following the announcement of Shenmue III reaching its funding goal. As head of the Third-Party Production team, Corsi had been bombarded on social media from fans of the series to fund the sequel. So, after meeting with Suzuki, the two decided to ask fans to put their money where their mouth is.
We said ‘the only way this is gonna happen is if the fans speak up.’ We thought Kickstarter was the perfect place to do this. We set a goal of two million dollars, and if the fans come in and back it, then absolutely we’re going to make it this a reality.
Sony and PlayStation is definitely a partner in this game, and it’s going to be run through third-party production. We’re going to help Ys Net get the game done, we’re going to be partners on it the whole way, and really excited to see this thing come out in a couple of years.
Although some may find this a bit of a bait-and-switch, I always figured that Suzuki would be partnering with someone else in order to get Shenmue III properly funded. Not only is it a sprawling endeavor, but many Kickstarter games tend to receive outside funding as well.
While no release date has been set in stone, Shenmue III is currently targeting a December 2017 release date on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.