Shenmue 3 has been in development for quite some time, but 2019 is the year when players will finally be able to experience the continuation of the story that has been on hold since the release of the second entry in the series back in 2001. There's still a lot we don't know about the game, but it seems like Yu Suzuki and his team are ready to share more details on it.
In a recent interview from the G-Fusion Tour in China, Yu Suzuki and Hiroaki Takeuchi talked about Shenmue 3. Yu Suzuki revealed that the game is much bigger than its predecessors, and it will take multiple weeks to complete, as opposed to the single week needed to complete the previous games. Yu Suzuki also added that mini-games are better integrated, and the new ones created specifically for Shenmue 3 are more interesting than older ones.
Yu Suzuki also commented on the game's features. Back in 2017, he stated that the new game would feature 70% older ideas and 30% new, but it seems like things have changed since then, as half of the game's features are actually new to the series.
You can check out a summary of the latest interviews below, provided by Shenmue Dojo forums member Spaghetti.
Yu describes the new combat as "very varied, richer, and more playable". Takeuchi-san elaborates that the goal is to create a combat system that welcomes players of different skill levels, and that a lot of consideration of design and balance went into making combat feel fun for all players. He finishes saying a lot of effort went into the combat. Yu's ambitions are to show a lifelike representation of Chinese martial arts.
Some mini-games from the original won't return, but there are new ones included that they feel are more interesting. Old mini-games confirmed to return are Lucky Hit, Excite QTE, capsule toys, and yes, forklifts.
Mini-games will hold greater impact and influence over the wider game because of better integration, and there will be surprises after playing for a while. Takeuchi-san is looking forward to player reactions on this aspect.
Yu's comments in 2017 about Shenmue III being a 70/30 split between old and new ideas has changed thanks to development advancing, and now stands at 50/50.
Side quests and the main story will have better integration, and form a better closed loop. A better translation might be able to elaborate on this, as machine translation threw up the word "branch" and might be related to Yu talking about quests that could have branching outcomes. Side quests will no longer be isolated from the main plot. This was apparently considered for the originals, but couldn't be achieved at the time.
Yu says Shenmue III is more of a hardcore game than the originals because of elements of playability and increased degree of freedom, it seems to be implied Shenmue III may take longer to complete than the originals (Yu says I & II are single week games, III is a multi-week game). Also seems to infer players can interact, or not interact, with content how they choose. Not completely clear on what this means.
Yu implies once the main story has wrapped up, there are other storylines to explore and systems to play. Sounds to go beyond just the mini-game and combat collection Shenmue II had once you cleared the game, and implies possibly being able to mop that extra content up without having to start a new save.
Shenmue 3 launches on PC and PlayStation 4 on August 27th.