The character models featured in the recent Shenmue III teaser trailer are mostly temporary, series creator and project director Yu Suziki has confirmed.
Speaking to Game Spark, Suzuki said that the character models are largely incomplete. “Shenhua, Ryo, and the other characters are mostly temporary,” Suzuki said in response to concerns about the character models. “Shenhua still has to be fixed up a bit.” Pointing to other characters, Suzuki said, “This is a character close to completion. This one is temporary. This one is also temporary. This one is temporary, too.”
Characters of sufficiently high quality are seemingly being made, but executive producer Hideaki Morishita “was unable to ready them in time for this trailer.” According to Morishita, the major milestone of signing a contract with Deep Silver tells us that development on the project is progressing with new form, but since a trailer was not released alongside the announcement, they put one together despite feeling it might be premature. Morishita said, “While there is little excuse, there are parts that are still lacking or parts that are not sufficient.”
Speaking to Game Watch, Suzuki also said that facial expressions have yet to be implemented. “Facial expressions were implemented a month ago, but were temporarily removed,” he said.
Here are some of other tidbits from the interviews, with some additional information from Famitsu:
- Shenmue III will be a single-player-only game. Post-release downloadable content is planned, but Suzuki could not discuss its contents.
- The voice actors for Ryo—Masaya Matsukaze in Japanese and Corey Marshall in English—have already signed on. There are a lot of voice actors Suzuki wants on board and will try to accomplish that as much as possible. However, since the previous game came out such a long time ago, some voice actors have since retired. For example, he will be holding auditions for a new voice actor for Shenhua.
- While Shenmue used the Virtua Fighter engine and Shenmue II used the Virtua Fighter II engine for its fighting system, Shenmue III uses a new system built from scratch. Suzuki does not think that Shenmue III should be “an action game where critical command inputs are necessary.” From the beginning, Shenmue has been a game of thought where what is important is not the player’s timing input skills, but judgment. That is why a new battle engine is being made.
- There will be a race. Suzuki also wants to include lure fishing. A system is being prepared where various people tell you about fishing spots, and you can sell the fish you catch for money. You will also be able to make money wood-chopping. As for the forklift, “everyone will be mad at me if we don’t do it,” Suzuki said. “The forklift is being prepared.”
- For users who have not played the first two games, Suzuki wants to create a visually-based digest that introduces the story of the previous titles, but has yet to decide if this will be a video or not. He wants it to be simpler than the digest video included with Shenmue II. Since Ryo is tracing in the footsteps of his father, he will recall old things during the story, and since he can make international calls to characters from previous games, he may be reminded of when “I had that experience with this person.” Rather than relying on a single movie, Suzuki thinks it is better to scatter it across the game. Suzuki wants players new to the series to be able to enjoy it, as well as to bring a smile to the faces of returning players.
- While he has difficulty predicting the gameplay length of Shenmue III, Suzuki said it should be about 30 hours in length.
- While Deep Silver is the international publisher of Shenmue III, a Japanese publisher has yet to be decided. Partnering with Deep Silver stabilized the project in various aspects, including budget and promotion support. While he was originally thinking about scaling back, this led him to aim a little higher. This also slightly extended the development deadline an increased the number of developers working on the game. The game is currently in full-scale production.
- Regarding a revival of Shenmue and Shenmue II on PlayStation 4, Suzuki notes that they are properties of Sega, so he is not in the position to comment. He understands that they are many users that want it, and thinks that they should do it if they can coordinate it with Shenmue III, as the releases can be beneficial to each other. He noted that the first two games had a high budget and invested in a lot more staff and trivial character details, which is something that cannot be done now. For that reason, he joked, if Shenmue and Shenmue II were re-released, they would be a director competitor to Shenmue III.
- Suzuki would like to make Shenmue IV after Shenmue III, if possible. He does not think the story will be completed after Shenmue III, and has no interest in forcing it. While there are many users who want the story to be completed, he does not want to cut so many things short. He hopes to be able to complete the story within his lifetime.
- Shenmue III will not be at Tokyo Game Show 2017. The only reason it is at Gamescom 2017 is because of the Deep Silver partnership announcement.
Shenmue III is due out for PlayStation 4 and PC in the second half of 2018. It will be published both physically and digitally by Deep Silver.