'Shenmue III' Is Happening and Fans Were So Excited They Broke Kickstarter
The long-awaited second sequel met its fundraising goal in just a few hours.
When gamers get excited about a game, they get really excited. That was evidenced overnight when Kickstarter's site went down for some users after a campaign to fund the long-awaited second sequel to open-world adventure game Shenmue was launched.
Shenmue III reached its $2 million crowdfunding goal in just a matter of hours and currently has another $327,000 on top of that. Kickstarter told us the campaign hit the $1 million mark in just one hour and 42 minutes, and hit the $2 million mark at eight hours and 38 minutes. It hit both marks faster than any other game in Kickstarter history. But it's not all that surprising; fans of the game have been waiting 14 years for another installment in the series that is consistently ranked one of the best of all time.
Just look how excited the folks at Game Trailers Live were when they realized there was going to be a Shenmue III (you might want to turn down your headphones a bit):
The Kickstarter campaign was announced yesterday during Sony's press conference at E3, the annual video game conference where the biggest names in gaming reveal their upcoming projects and gear. Along with announcements about the release of perpetually-delayed video game The Last Guardian and a remake of Final Fantasy VII, Sony revealed a Shenmue sequel was in the works… but it wasn't going to pay for it.
During the conference, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki told the audience he wanted to crowdfund the project so that fans would be able to be more involved in the process.
Suzuki became a household name with Sega fans, responsible for some of their best arcade classics like Space Harrier, After Burner, and Out Run. When the Dreamcast came out, Suzuki took a sharp turn from high-octane score attacks to a street brawling, urban mystery adventure called Shenmue, telling the tale about a forklift enthusiast named Ryo Hazuki hunting down his father's killer. It immediately became a cult classic.
The last gamers had seen of Ryo was in 2002, when Shenmue II was ported to the first Xbox. (That is unless you include him driving against Billy Hatcher in Sonic & All-Stars Racing, which should probably be considered non-canon.) Since then, a third act had been discussed but seemed stuck in limbo.
Ultimately, the crowdfunding campaign was an easy win for Suzuki and Sony, and the Kickstarter backers do get some decent perks. A pledge of $29 gets a backer a digital copy of the game, and bigger contributions can score backers a name in the credits, toys, art books, and gameplay strategies.
It always seems a bit questionable when big corporations use Kickstarter to fund projects they could easily fund themselves—and from which they stand to profit greatly—but overall, it seems Shenmue fans don't care much about how it gets made. They're just psyched that it's finally happening.
Correction: an earlier version of this story said Shenmue III raised $2 million in nine hours and 17 minutes, as was indicated to Motherboard by Kickstarter. Kickstarter has since clarified that the campaign reached that amount in eight hours and 38 minutes.