Shenmue 3: 10 Things It Needs To Be Successful

Out of development hell and onto Kickstarter, it's going to be a bumpy ride...

Shenmue III 3
YS Net

Before the Kickstarter, before that Sony press conference, you either used to heave the idea of Shenmue III out of your mouth over a sad pint with a friend, or tense up with anger at the unfairness of another unfinished saga.

This was a game series that provoked all kinds of media desires during the long years in the wilderness between the release of Shenmue II in 2001, and the June 2015 announcement that there would in fact be a real Shenmue III. Fans had endured so much waiting and the added indignity of a failed online version. Indeed, Shenmue III was something longed for, pined for on a day to day basis.

And here we are: starting 2017 some nineteen months after Shenmue III was formally announced. It's still some ways off, admittedly as the official release date is pencilled in as December 2017, but despite the original great news that it had been the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever in the video game category, there are still fourteen unfulfilled stretch goals.

Things could still go very wrong, (though I hope not). Here are 10 ways Shenmue III can ensure it succeeds.

10. Effective Marketing

Shenmue III 3

Japan-centric games can be marketed in a very hit-and-miss fashion in western territories.

Take, for instances, the unforgettable slogan for the UK advertising of N64 smash hit, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: "Wilt thou get the girl... or play like one?"

Not exactly forward thinking in the dying years of the 20th century. The marketing behind the original Yakuza on PlayStation 2 (a.k.a. Ryo Ga Gotoku) didn't fully push the fact it was a type of reborn Shenmue, either. Despite being an open-world, action brawler, instead the story was the main message, and gameplay didn't get a chance to shine.

Shenmue III needs to go mainstream with its marketing if it wants to reach a critical mass of an audience and build to something mass market. Yes, there are almost 75,000 combined backers via Kickstarter and the Slacker Backer programme but 75,000 sales does not a successful game make - especially when you're budget is in the millions and you've got development and publishing partners relying on you.


Bryan Langley’s first console was the Super Nintendo and he hasn’t stopped using his opposable thumbs since. He is based in Bristol, UK and is still searchin' for them glory days he never had.