Which camp do you belong to when it comes to the Shenmue series? Any utterance of that word will either drive you into a frenzied state of anticipation for the upcoming Shenmue III, or the opposite; you’ve never heard of it and wonder what all the fuss is about.
Well, regardless of which one best describes you, there’s now a very real chance that the first two games in the series will be getting re-released on current-gen consoles for everyone to revisit or discover for the first time.
In an interview with Marketing Week, SEGA Europe’s head of marketing John Rooke hinted that the Japanese company is looking into ways to make it happen.
Despite Rooke’s comments that the company intends to “innovate and back smartphones and virtual reality,” he says SEGA’s other key purpose is to “go back to what the brand used to stand for and I think the buzz around Shenmue 3 shows that people love our legacy.”
What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means SEGA has started to take notice of the excitement around Shenmue III and are “exploring ways to re-release the original two Shenmue titles.” In a previous interview with GameInformer, Yu Suzuki – the man behind the Shenmue series – had stated how both himself and SEGA had an amicable relationship and that they were “very happy to see Shenmue III being made.”
YS Net received the licensing rights from SEGA [to develop Shenmue 3]. Of course, the original properties are still licensed with SEGA. This time, they’re allowing us to use it and allowing us to use the licensing rights. They also gave us a lot of resources from I and II to help us with this project. They’ve been very happy to see Shenmue III being made and we have a very good relationship.
Rooke also expresses his desire to see SEGA recapture the image of being a forerunner for innovative gameplay, but as part of a more gradual process.
SEGA was an innovator, the Dreamcast was offering online gaming as early as 1998. But perhaps back then we were pushing boundaries a little too soon. Nowadays we know what we’re good at and the strategy is to be more gradual. Over the next few years, we want to use engaging content and marketing to remind the public why they fell in love with SEGA in the first place.
Shenmue III is due to release in 2017 for PC and PlayStation 4.