For those that never got a chance to play Shenmue back on the Sega Dreamcast, there may be hope.
At last year’s E3, the crowd went absolutely wild with the announcement of Shenmue 3. And deservedly so — the first two games were beloved, and were a cinematic hallmark for the time. But because the first and second Shenmue games were on the Dreamcast, not everyone got a chance to play them.
In a YouTube video answering fan questions, a user asked about the possibility of Shenmue being remastered. “Of course we would love to release these tomorrow” said Sega’s Dan Sheridan, but “sadly it’s not as simple as porting the games to the current platforms as we would need to ensure that any HD remaster lived up to the quality of the original titles.”
But what does living up to the quality of the original titles entail? “There are further complications from licensed products that were included in the original games,” Sheridan said. Because these licensing deals would need to be renegotiated, it adds another layer of legal complexity before resources can be thrown at remastering.
Sheradin did admit that Sega is “currently investigating how to make it a reality.”
Shenmue isn’t the first rerelease to run into licensing issues. When Capcom tried to bring Mega Man Legends to the PlayStation Network, it too ran into contractual problems with license holders. Capcom was able to get these issues resolved and did eventually release Mega Man Legends on the PSN, to the surprise of many.
Of course Sega could go back and replace the licensed assets with fictional ones instead. But for the time, it was novel to see real-life products in a video game, and Sega may have wanted to preserve that.
Back in 2014, a fan did release a video showing what an HD remaster of Shenmue would look like. If Sega’s probable remaster looks anything like the video below, consider us sold.