- Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki Says he wants Shenmue 4 to be more accessible to newcomers.
- Shenmue 4 could be a prequel story similar to SEGA’s Yakuza 0.
- Yu Suzuki is interested in the idea of remaking Shenmue’s original setting in higher fidelity.
It’s a good day for Shenmue fans! Speaking to IGN, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki talks about the potential opportunity of working on a Shenmue 4. In the interview, Suzuki-san said that he wants Shenmue 4 to be more accessible to newcomers. He further added that he has been actively considering making the fourth Shenmue game a prequel set before the events of the first game.
Suzuki-san expressed his desire on making a newcomer-friendly game that requires players to know around 20-30% of the story. He adds that he wants new players to naturally learn the story of the prior titles through the game itself rather than expecting them to watch an optional movie or cutscene to catch up. One of the ideas he had was through the use of playable flashbacks.
I want Shenmue 4 to be enjoyable for newcomers. To make that possible, the most important thing is to make it enjoyable without knowing previous events in the story. I don’t think that a new player wants to know 100% of the story. 20 or 30% could be enough.
In Shenmue 3, we implemented a digest movie that teaches the player the main events of the previous games, but for Shenmue 4 I want to integrate that part into the main game. It would be great if the player could naturally learn about previous events just by playing the game. For example, rather than watching a separate movie, having playable flashbacks could be a way to do it.”
When asked if Shenmue 4 would ever do something similar to the Yakuza series, which received a prequel in 2017, Suzuki-san replied that he has been thinking about a prequel. Similar to Shenmue, the Yakuza series was considered a relatively niche franchise with only a small Western following. The series didn’t experience mainstream appeal in the West until the release of Yakuza 0, which is once again available on Xbox Game Pass.
Rockstar took the same approach with Red Dead Redemption 2, which was a prequel to Red Dead Redemption. It would be interesting to see a similar approach applied to Shenmue 4. Suzuki-san seemed interested in the opportunity as well, finding the chance to recreate the setting of the original Shenmue with more detail, fidelity, and a larger scope to be fairly enticing.
I cannot go into detail at this point, but it is something I have been thinking about. I think recreating the streets of Dobuita with modern visuals on a new engine alone would make it worth doing. It also connects to the topic of not simply expanding in size. Making an even more detailed Dobuita than the original Shenmue is an interesting idea, especially if it’s not a remake but a prequel with a new story.”
The interview also went into detail about Suzuki-san’s career, and he proceeded to talk about his upcoming new game, “Air Twister” and how his design philosophy affected its development. Air Twister is set to launch for PC and consoles on November 10.
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