YS Net released a new update over on their Kickstarter page to update gamers on the progress they’ve been making with Shenmue III. The video covers where they’ve been and where they’re going with the upcoming game, as well as a time-frame on how much they’ve completed for the project.
According to Yu Suzuki, they’ve already begun ramping up development after bringing in key developers, and they managed to start on the prototype build back in January of this year. Suzuki goes on to say…
“It has been six months since the project has really taken off. Battles and facial expressions are coming together, and cheers from the crew are growing. It makes me feel it will turn out to be a good game.”
The video is more like a “we’re still working on the game” sort of update rather than anything substantial. It’s fine given the scope of a project like Shenmue III, which by all accounts must be a logistical nightmare to plan out given all the dialogue, the fighting, the mini-games, the exploration and the adventure aspects.
Given how advanced technology is compared to what it was back when Shenmue II came out, I do wonder if Suzuki is making good on the Unreal Engine 4 Blueprints to offload a lot of the grunt work for some design mechanics? They don’t have to build any new shaders or renderers, and creating mini-games can all be done in-engine now instead of outsourcing or relying on third-party middleware.
The post on Kickstarter rounds out by talking about the survey data for Kickstarter backers and how it’s not ready to be sent out just yet, but they’ll announce when the survey will be going out.
I’m sure after seeing the backlash over Mighty No. 9, YS Net is likely keeping a close eye on how they communicate and drip-feed information to their backers. Communication is key in keeping morale high amongst backers and maintaining hype amongst the community.
According to the Kickstarter page a rough approximation for the release of Shenmue III is still tentatively set for December 2017. We’ll see if YS Net can manage to squeeze out a full fledged game in just a year and a half, but even with the power and ease of the Unreal Engine 4 at their fingertips, I wouldn’t expect to see Shenmue III finished until at least 2018, especially if they’ve only managed to get working prototypes up since January.