Sega is set to release remasters of Shenmue I and II this year for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The two games, originally released at the beginning of this millennium for Sega’s Dreamcast, are being bundled together.
Sega shows the first images of the remasters in a trailer. It is an early alpha version, which does not seem to differ much from the original games in terms of graphic style. Sega therefore promises that the remasters “stay true to the original”. In any case, the resolution of the remasters will be considerably higher than that of the original games.
Shenmue was released in Europe in late 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast. With production and marketing costs between $47 and 70 million, it was the most expensive game ever at the time. 1.2 million copies of the game were sold and that was not enough to cover the costs. The game became a commercial flop.
The game did receive good reviews and is seen as innovative, because it was one of the first open world games and the use of quick time events was also new at the time. The game has a day and night cycle, and variable weather conditions. The level of detail in the virtual city and the presence of various mini-games were considered very detailed at the time. Shenmue II was released a year later, but that game also failed to convince with sales numbers.
Martial artist Ryo Hazuki is the main character in both games. The first part is set in the early eighties in Yokosuka, Japan. Hazuki is there to get revenge for his father’s murder. Set in Hong Kong in 1987, the second part sees Hazuki continuing his search for his father’s killer.
Sega has not yet announced a release date for the remasters, but does report that the games will be released this year. The remasters will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam. Both games come in a bundle that will cost $30.
Shenmue III is also being worked on, but not by Sega. Yu Suzuki, the developer who came up with the series, has been given the freedom by Sega to create a new part. Money has been raised for this through crowdfunding. Shenmue III is due out in the second half of this year for Windows and the PlayStation 4.