The fundraising on the Kickstarter website to finance the development of the video game Shenmue 3, a sequel to the Shenmue RPG series, is having a striking success. The operation is ambitious because the goal was to collect at least two million dollars. Well, that goal was already reached in the first day and at this moment $4,171,576 were pledged by 48,771 backers!
The original video game Shenmue was released in 1999 on the Dreamcast platform. Created by Yu Suzuki (photo ©Official GDC), it’s a role-playing game in a sophisticated virtual world where players can live the adventures with drama, romance and more with a style closer to cinema than to normal video games. The story begins when a boy named Ryo Hazuki embarks on a quest to avenge the his father’s murder.
In 2001, Shenmue II was released, a sequel in which players could live new chapters in the Ryo Hazuki’s quest. Initially released on the Dreamcast platform, it was later released in a version for Xbox. However, there are several differences between the two versions.
Over the years, spin-off were produced: Shenmue Online, a MMORPG set in the same world, and Shenmue City, a version for various platforms released in Japan that was short-lived as it was closed in 2012.
For some years, Yu Suzuki has been looking for funding to produce a real sequel to the Shenmue series. In some cases it seemed that the new project could move forward only to be canceled. The matter had become almost a soap opera, and this time could finally get a happy ending.
Last month, Yu Suzuki announced a new sequel to the Shenmue series and his plans to start a fundraising to finance its development using the technique of crowdfunding. The intention is to release Shenmue 3 for PlayStation 4 and PC by the end of 2017.
The success was truly amazing! Less than two hours after the opening of the fundraising campaign, a million dollars got already pledged, the fastest video game to achieve such a result on Kickstarter. The two million dollars goal was passed in less than eight hours, again the fastest on Kickstarter.
Right now, there are still 13 days to the end of this campaign and basically every day a new extended goal is reached that leads to further Shenmue 3 expansions. The thing I found really impressive is that there are backers who offered thousands of dollars! This confirms that the Shenmue series, despite its complicated story, is really a classic in the history of video games.