The Legend That Shenmue Became

By Sohrab Khan 14 Sep, 19

Two decades ago, I remember I was browsing through the game library, desperately searching for a game for my Sega Dreamcast. These were the days when this console was still kicking in with Crazy Taxi 2 and Sonic. I had intended to pick out a game, but for some reason, I picked up a game with a funny name. The fact of the matter was, I couldn’t even pronounce it right, “Shen… Moo”. I decided to go for it nonetheless. What happened next was something I had never witnessed nor imagined. I had picked up a game that would go on to become a legend for the sheer entertainment value it provides. 

Image source: Gearnuke

If you have never played the original game, here is a quick overview. Shenmue was the brainchild of Yu Suzuki. This game revolutionized entertainment by introducing the most exceptional Quick-Time Sequence (QTS) to date and integrated the same with a storyline that was gripping and evolving at every single turn. This game was also the most expensive game ever developed, and back then it showed. 

Shenmue finds itself centered around a young character named Ryo Hazuki, who just witnessed his father getting killed by Lan di. Apparently, this ornament called “the dragon mirror” was significant and Ryo’s father had kept it hidden. Needless to say, he died protecting it, and Lan di finished the job. Now, you wake up and retrace your steps to figure out who this guy was and what exactly was he after. While the story may seem less appealing initially, it is the way this game was presented to the audience. 

You have a budget that you can spend on numerous activities, food items, arcade games and many more. You will need to manage time too as you have to ensure you get your sleep, wake up, and carry out the daily chores. You will eventually get a job too, and that means you will need to be punctual about leaving your house, catching the bus and doing all that is required accordingly. There is not a moment in the game where you feel like things are being dragged around. 

This is one of those games which I have never found monotonous in any way. This game is what gave birth to the likes of Yakuza and Sleeping Dogs, minus the vehicles. The intense action where everyone knows Martial arts will test your execution, quick thinking, and planning capabilities. There is just too much this game provided, and the ending was just a cherry on top!

Shenmue then released its second chapter. While the second chapter continued to live up to the expectations, it was the third chapter that brought a halt to the entire game. Owing to various difficulties, Yu Suzuki never came forth with the third installment. For a good decade and a half, there were no talks about Shenmue 3. People wanted a proper closure to the story. 

Fan reactions at E3 on the Shenmue announcement - Image source: Independent

Finally, at the E3 2015, Yu Suzuki delivered the world the news they have been waiting for. A Kickstarter campaign that gathered $6 Million in a matter of 24 hours only, the world was now getting their voices heard. Shenmue, just when all hopes were lost, is coming back on the 19th of November 2019 to remind the world just why it has become one of the most iconic names in the gaming history. 

Thank you, Yu Suzuki, for Shenmue 3 and thank you for choosing my birthday as the big day. It just made my hunt for the perfect gift much easier.