Still Hope For Shenmue III?

Highly Acclaimed Series May Finally See A Conclusion According to Famitsu

February 1, 2010 An interview in the latest issue of Japanese gaming magazine ‘Famitsu 360’ has revealed that the Shenmue series may not be dead.

The original Shenmue was released in Japan for the Dreamcast in 1999. The title made the jump to the United States almost a full year later in November of 2000. The game follows Ryo Hazuki as he tries to find the reason and perpetrator behind his father’s murder. The title was very expensive for the time (estimates put the total cost at nearly $70 million) and despite critical acclaim did not sell particularly well.

SEGA intended Shenmue II to be a blockbuster title for the Dreamcast but the release of the Playstation 2 sunk the system before the title could reach its full potential. The game was released in 2001 in Japan and Europe but a North American release was canceled. Luckily enough for US fans of the series Microsoft Game Studios stepped in and helped bring the title to the original Xbox. The series once again received heaps of critical praise that did not turn into sales. The game’s cliffhanger ending has gone unresolved for almost nine years.

From time to time rumors of the series’ return have appeared online but SEGA rarely commented on the speculation. This new interview with the developer gives hope to fans everywhere. While far from a confirmation, the fact that SEGA is willing to revisit the series could be the first step towards Shenmue III. The developer hopes that an exclusivity deal with one of the major consoles will finance the project, as they are unwilling to take a major risk with the series once again.

So, will Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo step up and help bring Ryo’s story to a close? Or are gamers going to have to settle for Hazuki’s cameo in the upcoming kart racer, ‘Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing‘?