Mr. Yu Suzuki joins the fun for #YouAskYu.
The much awaited PS4 Physical copy was released as a reward today for $60 perhaps helping to boost the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter to generate over $330,000 today with two hours remaining Eastern. Awesome Japan also apologized for the Twitch stream last week and promised to work harder on the campaign which was a welcome apology.
A number of other rewards were also added today including Lucky Hit boards and NPC inclusion.
There have also been several interview video updates on the Kickstarter with the developers of the upcoming game.
SEGA Nerds is hosting an interview with Shenmue voice actors.
The days are winding down…make sure you back Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter!
It has been some time since I played a Sonic the Hedgehog game. Years of disappointment and lackluster releases kept me away from the series. However, this year SEGA released Sonic Runners on the iOS and Android around Sonic the Hedgehog’s 24th birthday and my recent reading of the book Console Wars made me interested so I went ahead and download the game from the Apple Store (no harm since the game is free-to-play).
The game actually moves at a fast pace and is a side-scroller. Side-scrolling was a powerful game genre all on its own during the arcade and 16-bit era of video games and prior. The game includes tons of Sonic’s pals, but doesn’t force you to play with them, although the buddies do become necessary in later parts of the story due to their difficulty.
Difficulty is the main problem with Sonic Runners. The game has cheap mechanics that kill you as you advance in the endless side-scrolling game. The only real way around it is to either power-up like crazy or to pay for red coins that will allow you to revive yourself when you die. In the later levels, death is almost guaranteed due to walls and pits being placed exactly after you speed up, leaving you no option but to die. You may find yourself screaming at your cell phone from frustration. Being forced to die also removes that sense of accomplishment a player normally feels at the end of Sonic the Hedgehog whenever they reach the end of a zone.
Another issue is just how repetitive the stages get. There needs to be more enemy variety and also more differences in the boss battles to make the game interesting enough long-term, otherwise I cannot imagine anyone playing this game past a few weeks at the most. Sonic Runners feels like classic Sonic games, but lacks the depth of those lava, desert, water, and space levels that made those Sonic games truly memorable.
Boss battles with Eggman get increasingly boring as you progress through the game. Eggman has simple attacks and no real edge, which is surprising considering Eggman is a genius who should have some pretty sick attacks and vehicles to attack Sonic with. Even ripping the Eggman machines from the early Sonic games would be enough to provide players a challenge.
I have clocked plenty of hours with the game and the music is interesting at first and then becomes mind-numbing because of how often you have to replay stages in the later parts of the story to get to the main boss. SEGA could easily solve this problem by releasing extra sound tracks as unlockable features, I know I’d love to put some classic Sonic music on my game or even new Sonic music.
Perhaps it is just the Sonic fan in me, but the add-ons for Sonic’s birthday are the real draw to Sonic Runners at the moment. The music in the special stage helps break up the monotony. I have spent hours trying to unlock Classic Sonic and players only have until July 10th, 2015 at 8:59AM (UTC) to unlock him as a character.
I enjoy unlimited data with T-Mobile and have a strong Wi-Fi connection pretty much everywhere I go, but I know others have complained about the need of a data connection to use Sonic Runners. I can imagine that being a problem for many people who lack data plans or have crappy internet connections. Some players seem to be having technically difficulties with Sonic Runners at the moment, however I used an Apple iPhone 6 with iOS8 and experienced no issues playing Sonic Runners.
Overall, Sonic Runners for Apple iOS is not for everyone, but certainly worth checking out…especially since it’s free to download. It certainly has some room to improve though, but is not quite as bad as some other free-to-play games that I have played in the past.
Download Sonic Runners on Apple iOS: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/sonic-runners/id953019873
Mr. Yu Suzuki held a Twitch broadcast on Friday 6/26 to answer some of fans questions of the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter. However, the Twitch stream was badly managed and had a number of issues ranging from audio problems to simply looking rushed. Personally, the number of questions discussed that had already been answered in the Reddit AMA and Kickstarter FAQ was infuriating.
This led fans to start talking more about Awesome Japan – the group managing the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter. They looked unprofessional on-screen and there was particular guy on the right there who seemed off. You can read the responses to the Twitch thread on NeoGAF and Shenmue Dojo.
Watch and cringe for yourself:
Taking a look closer at Awesome Japan
A recent podcast called Best Video Game Podcast analyzed the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter before the Twitch stream went live and actually discussed the overall lack of experience that Awesome Japan has with Kickstarters and why that is a problem for a game like Shenmue 3.
The company has only been managing Kickstarter campaigns since 2014 and here are some other facts pulled from the podcast:
- Awesome Japan has helped 13 Kickstarters prior to this (in a span of 11 months), only 7 were successful
- Only 1 video game Kickstarter is in Awesome Japan’s portfolio called Soul Knights (ex Nippon Ichi staff), barely met the goal of $60k with only 246 backers
- Only 1550 backers and $170k for all of Awesome Japan’s campaigns combined so far
- Awesome Japan had no native English speaker before this Kickstarter apparently. All of their previous campaigns had significant spelling and translation mistakes (If you watched the stream last night it was obvious the translator was having difficulties).
On the bright side, the Kickstarter seemed to temporarily benefit from the announcement of new stretch goals during the Twitch stream and doubled its daily funding. The actual number of backers is moving slowly so who knows how long this will be able to continue.
Personally, I would rather see Yu Suzuki play Shenmue on Twitch to drum up support. Or really anything besides what I saw last night.
There have been many questions concerning Shenmue 3’s budget and what outside sources will be added to the money collected through Kickstarter. I apologize for not having been more forthright in this area and would like to take this opportunity to help clarify the situation.
Ys Net and I have been putting in many long years trying to find a way to bring back a sequel that so many fans have waited so long for. After learning of Kickstarter, I knew it would be possible to get Shenmue 3 started. Wanting to make the best game possible, I also knew that I would have to look to more traditional means to obtain all the funds that would be needed to create the game I had envisioned.
Sony and Shibuya Productions have been wonderful partners because they believe in Shenmue and want to see the best for the fans and the game. Their investment in (and support of) Shenmue have helped to realize a sequel that will stand proud with its predecessors. While it is not business practice to discuss the specific details of such arrangements, I can say that with their assistance on the production and marketing end, and in Sony’s case with some publishing support as well, Ys Net is able to use more of the money we collect through Kickstarter purely for Shenmue 3’s development. It is also important to note that your funds are going strictly to Ys Net for development of Shenmue 3 – Sony and Shibuya Productions are not seeing a cent of your Kickstarter dollars.
The outpouring of support from all of you, the backers, has been so inspirational. I cannot thank you enough. Having reached our funding goal, I am excited to say that the Shenmue story will go on, and our journey with Ryo and Shenhua will continue. Fans will be able to enjoy the sequel they have waited so long for, and newcomers to the series will be introduced to a unique gaming experience.
Of course, like with any Kickstarter, additional funding will only help us make a better game. On top of everything Shenmue 3 will already bring, the Stretch Goals that I have laid out will add extra quests, events, and new gameplay systems that will make the game even more immersive and take the series to the next level. At the $5 million mark, there will be an all new gameplay feature I would be excited to be able to add to the Shenmue legacy. If we should make the $10 million Stretch Goal, a much larger, completely open world will be yours to explore.
Even if these Stretch Goals are not reached, Shenmue 3 will already be a sequel true to its name, and one we can all be proud of. It is my hope though, that together we can make this Shenmue just as revolutionary as the first two were.
I understand this statement may by late in coming. Going forward, we wish to be as open as possible concerning the game’s development. I would like to again ask for your cooperation and support in helping make Shenmue 3 the best that it can be.
Sincerely, Yu Suzuki
PC Gamer: Why I’m excited about Shenmue 3
Shenmue 3 Kickstarter Update #11: Portuguese language stretch goal & Masaya Matsukaze
Shenmue 3 Official Twitter announced.
Great video that discusses some of the controversy around the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter and that still stressed that you should back the Kickstarter.
A fan-made Kickstarter Trailer video for Shenmue 3.
Finally, don’t forget to back Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter.
So…what’s new with the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter?
Many articles were released today expanding on articles made last week (or corrections as I like to call them) and there was also quite a bit of new threads on the interwebs as well as videos uploaded. The Kickstarter has slowed down and is hanging at around $3.5 million dollars, although many people say this is normal for a Kickstarter after the first few days – there is no way to know for sure how much damage the negative publicity did for the campaign, all we can do is look forward.
A bunch of media outlets started reporting today that an XBOX One version of Shenmue may be in reach, although the possibility has been stated on the Kickstarter FAQ for some time and the media was probably too busy falsely discussing how Sony was slathering the Shenmue Kickstarter with tons of cash and telling people to quit the Kickstarter to notice.
The Shenmue original voice actors have come out in support of the Kickstarter – who knows how this may help the campaign, but it is certainly a great thing and shows the strong presence of Shenmue’s fan community.
4Gamer published an interview with Yu Suzuki that has been translated on Shenmue Dojo. It focuses on the Character Perspective System and new stretch goals.
Here is what I have found interesting in the new selection of articles:
- Understanding Sony’s Role in Shenmue 3
- Shenmue 3 Kickstarter Money Won’t Go To Sony, Explains Another Shenmue Partner
- Shenmue 3 Kickstarter Needs $10 Million For ‘Open World’
- Shenmue 3: Suzuki wants $10M from Kickstarter
- Shenmue Fan Pledges $10K. Resides in the Game’s Setting
Jim Sterling released a video about Shenmue 3 – The Good, The Bad, and the Iffy. He is fairly neutral and does not resort to bashing the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, though clearly like most people he is getting a little annoyed at the confusing Kickstarter campaign and like many he is worried about the effect the Kickstarter may have on the game industry overall which is echoed in most online outlets, although that is of course unavoidable. Best summarized by “What the fuck”.
Here are some Twitch users who have been streaming Shenmue in support of the Kickstarter – subscribe to their channels to get updates when they stream:
If you missed the Yu Suzuki Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit you can read it all on Sega Nerds.
Check out this video for music from the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter:
For the latest from the Shenmue Fans join the Shenmue 500K group on Facebook.
Finally don’t forget to back Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter!
Sit back and enjoy! Happy Sunday and Happy Father’s Day!
All this exciting news of the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter has made me go through my old Shenmue song list. Lots of great sounds were produced during these two games that helped provide some ammo to the realistic environment that Shenmue introduced to the world. I wish I could name them all, but there are too many. However, here are my personal favorites:
1. Shenmue – Heart Beats
Heart Beats is jazz music with soul. To me it represents a cool Ryo Hazuki, who is unstoppable in his quest to avenge his father. The music is also very chill which is perfect for a game that lets you wander around town for hours. The actual music only plays briefly while Ryo is looking for information on Chinese sailors, but I always sought out the cassette tapes at the Tomato Mart when I had the chance.
2. Shenmue – Tomato Mart
Ah, I absolutely love this song. It’s so bright and upbeat. The song really makes for a positive shopping environment and to me also represents the positive business vibes Japan felts back in the 1980s. Looking back at it now, it also reminds me of the golden years of SEGA, when they were innovating like crazy and popping out some of the best game systems on Earth. It reminds me a bit of the Earthbound “Buy Something Will Ya” song with the good vibes.
3. Shenmue – Hip de Hop
How could you not love Tom in Shenmue? He doesn’t fit into the Japanese society he lives in at all and that is what makes him so great. This theme is awesome and totally defines Tom – it doesn’t come close to being similar to the other songs in the soundtrack, but it is excellent.
4. Shenmue – Wish
I listened to this song A LOT after the first Shenmue came out. The scene it is paired with in Shenmue is pretty cheesy, but that is exactly what I love about Shenmue. It’s silly, but in a way that makes sense and makes it a game that is realistic, but still a fun story that isn’t really realistic at all. I know this sounds crazy, but if you play Shenmue you will understand exactly what I mean.
5. Shenmue II – Wise Man’s Quarter (Day)
Shenmue II has a completely different vibe from the first game now that Ryo has left home and traveled to China. I feel the song Wise Man’s Quarter (Day) captures this new world pretty well and is telling a story with upbeat drum sounds. One thing about Shenmue is Ryo is always looking ahead and never back, I think this theme is a good representation of that.
6. Shenmue II – South Carmain Quarter (Day)
This theme is much slower than Wise Man’s Quarter and I think it represents the struggle that Ryo is going through in order to find information about Lan Di and to avenge his father. No matter what happens, Ryo keeps pressing forward in his quest and I think this song represents that well…the daily struggle.
7. Shenmue II – Yan Tin Apartments
This song has an eerie vibe to it. To me it represents that this new place Ryo has ventured is pretty dangerous and filled with mystery and darkness. Glad they included something like this in the game.
8. Shenmue – Asia Travel Agency
A song that represents exploration – Shenmue is just the beginning of a much bigger adventure and I think the song is to represent Ryo’s desire to go abroad and continue his journey as well as the mystery behind traveling to a new place. Also the shady nature of some businessmen.
9. Shenmue – Main Theme
You really cannot close out a top 10 list without mentioning the Shenmue Main Theme which has a strong Asian vibe to it and certainly helps capture the cultural elements behind Shenmue. It captures Ryo’s adventure in a way that feels epic, while maintaining an introductory vibe.
10. Shenmue – Hazuki Residence
The theme of the Hazuki Residency mainly comes to mind because of how often you visit Ryo’s house and it’s where the game starts you out. The basics are learned at the Hazuki residence and it brings back memories of bothering Fuku-san on the regular.
Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite Shenmue songs!
Hope this helps!
E3 2015 came and left us with a bunch of surprises including the announcement by Yu Suzuki of a Shenmue 3 Kickstarter. The online message boards and struggling remains of the video game/mainstream media were quick to yell foul at Sony for not funding the game completely outright instead of hosting a fan-backed Kickstarter (which funded in under 24 hours) and announcing support later.
However, consider this:
- Sony has not been announced as an exclusive backer of Shenmue 3 and also has not acquired the IP to Shenmue which Sega still owns. Is it really fair to claim Sony should fund an entire Shenmue 3 game just because they have the money to do so, especially when they do not even hold the rights to the IP?
- Wouldn’t you agree that Sony would be a little skeptical of investing into a game that is over 14 years old without some sense of support remaining from the fan base (which has spent 14 years bitterly awaiting a continuation of Shenmue)?
- Neither Shenmue I nor Shenmue II beat Sega’s estimations to be considered commercial successes for the company in their own right – especially considering their production costs. Sony says that basically every production studio had declined to back Shenmue 3 on it’s own. Backing support from Sony should be a blessing, not a curse.
- Sony says there were 2 routes for Shenmue 3 that Suzuki could take – have the game made with Sony and go through a regular production process or kickstart the game and make it with the fans. Suzuki chose to use Kickstarter and make the game with the fans because it would allow him to include fan’s input in the game and make it a true ending they would be happy with and maintain full control of the game. The Kickstarter route is allowing fans to have a say in the game that will finally answer some burning questions and even some of the rewards have been changed according to fans petitioning.
- Yu Suzuki claimed recently in Famitsu magazine that the $2 million funding was essential for Shenmue 3 to exist at all. It seems that the game media may be overplaying Sony’s hand in Shenmue 3’s development and taking advantage of the fact that Suzuki has contracts that are not allowing him to be forthright about funding details.
- Backing the Kickstarter gets you the game for $29 – which is pretty affordable for a video game nowadays. It is really no difference from making a pre-order at Gamestop – which gamers do all the time. However, this pre-order comes with lots of more perks.
Shenmue 3 has been anticipated by fans for a long time and for some time there it seemed like they were going to lose their chance to ever receive an end to the series. The stalling of Shenmue 3 has been an unfortunate casualty of Sega’s exit from the hardware gaming business and falling overall sales. It would be stupid to shoot it down now because the game finally received some outside support.
Everyone who calls themselves a real gamer owes it to support these dedicated fans who have spent years non-stop tweeting, writing, petitioning, and promoting Shenmue. You don’t have to donate money, but don’t stand in the way of something people have waited over a decade for.
In addition, Yu Suzuki has been a great contribution to the video game industry since the arcade days and everyone also owes it to him to help get him get back on his feet and back into making games we love that move the industry forward.
For the record it would be better if supposedly unbiased and cynical journalists used facts instead of simply stating Sony has a ton of money and is pumping Shenmue 3 with cash when no actual proof of how much money is being supplied has been provided. Ironically, it is the same media that created hundreds of click bait articles for years that Shenmue 3 was being developed that is now creating a backlash against it. Enough said about that.
Something a little less serious :D
I purchased a 2DS along with Pokemon Y on launch date. I wanted to buy a 3DS, but never found it to be in a price range that I find reasonable for a portable gaming console, especially considering my distaste for 3D-anything. The 2DS sold at $129.99 was not a painful purchase. The 2DS feels comfortable in your hands and doesn’t feel like a strain like the regular DS or DS Lite. I was afraid that the mono speaker was going to impact my experience, but honestly it wasn’t too much a difference to me.
Some games coming soon that I am looking forward to playing on the 3DS:
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies
- Dragon Quest VII DS (please bring it to the USA Square-Enix!)
- Super Smash Bros. 3DS
I have to start researching what games I missed out on as well.