Shenmue III Will Be 70% Like The Original and 30% New; Game Design Scaled Up with Deep Silver
Shenmue III was recently confirmed to be published by Deep Silver for PC and PlayStation 4 in 2018.
At Gamescom 2017, series creator Yu Suzuki also stated that the game will last around 30 hours of gameplay. During the convention, he was interviewed by several publications, including Metro GameCentral where Suzuki revealed that Shenmue III won't be much different from its predecessors in terms of gameplay.
I don’t think it’s necessary to change the basics of the gameplay. If I change it too much the existing fans will be very upset. Although I am always making up new ideas and things to add to the game, which can be a problem for my team who are trying to implement these ideas.
At the moment we are trying to keep it to 30% new and the keep the other 70% of the game similar to the original. But the design is constantly changing and I am always coming up with new concepts that we can try to add to the game if there is the opportunity.
Perhaps the story has been adjusted more, though, compared to what he had in mind when Shenmue was created. Interestingly, Suzuki also suggested that the recent partnership with Deep Silver enabled him to "scale up the game design, possibly due to the increased budget.
I wrote the original story of Shenmue back in around 2000, and that consisted of 11 chapters. But even with Shenmue II, we had taken elements from chapters four, five, and six; while removing chapter three completely. So while the basic outline has always remained constant it has never been the case that we stick too rigidly to the initial plan.
When we started to work on Shenmue III I realized I needed to pick up some of the elements of the original games to please fans, but other elements have become changed or removed. I adapt the story to fit the modern era and to my own changing influences. But also I have to make sure that it is a good fit for Shenmue. So certain aspects of the story have remained constant but Shenmue III has become a new game over time.
So I guess, to answer your question, original elements directly exist but I’m converging and adjusting to make a modern game for today.
I’m always constantly adjusting the elements of Shenmue III to be the best. For example, now that we have the new partner Deep Silver I’ve been scaling up the game design of Shenmue III. So I changed a little bit about the gameplay itself and also took into account the new Unreal Engine that we are using.
Shenmue III is still the biggest videogame campaign ever funded on Kickstarter, but even so, its budget is much smaller than the first entries. The first Shenmue had $47 million of budget, according to Suzuki's own words as revealed in a GDC 2011 developer panel.
Will Ys Net and Deep Silver be able to create a worthy third entry? We'll know hopefully next year.