Sega Europe has confirmed the planned launch of classic role-playing titles Shenmue and Shenmue II on Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, even as work on a true next-generation entry in the series continues.
Praised at launch for its immersive world, Yu Suzuki's Shenmue offered an open-world environment the like of which had never been seen before on Sega's ill-fated Dreamcast console. As well as the combat you would expect of a story of revenge for a murdered father, player character Ryo Hazuki spent much of the game shopping, catching scheduled buses, gambling, working on a dock driving a fork-lift truck, buying collectable toys from capsule machines, and even playing classic Sega games in simulated arcades. The death of the Dreamcast, though, was by and large the death of the planned four-game series, bar a port of the second game - though not, oddly, the first - to Microsoft's considerably more successful Xbox in 2002, and a pair of since-cancelled spin-off titles.
Fans' hope for a third game in the series never really died down, however, and while a 2013 trademark application turned out to be fake Shenmue 3 was finally brought to live hit Kickstarter in 2015 and raised £4.4 million. Following clear demonstration of interest, Sega surprised nobody with the announcement that it was looking into high-definition remasters of the original games, and now that too has borne fruit with the announcement of exactly that for consoles and Windows PCs.
Sega has confirmed that the re-released games will 'stay true to the originals with modernised features including fully scalable screen resolution, choice of modern or classic control schemes, PC graphics options, an updated user interface and the option to enjoy either the original Japanese or English voiceovers.' A release date has not been provided, bar that the games will launch some time this year with pre-orders opening soon.
More information is available from the announcement trailer. The Shenmue III Kickstarter campaign, meanwhile, blew past its targeted December 2017 launch date and is now scheduled for the latter half of this year.
February 24 2020 | 12:00