Shenmue III project update details the return of a cult classic

shenmue 3 enters preliminary testing s3month3 header

A long-awaited sequel in Sega’s cult classic Shenmue series is one step closer to becoming reality, as Shenmue III‘s creative team has posted a project update detailing preliminary testing of crucial gameplay elements.

“The story and scenarios are now out of the planning stage and it is time to get the people, places and things to start fitting together into a world with proper dimension, adequate space, and appropriate scale to keep the feel and essence of all that is a Shenmue game,” the project’s organizers explain.

Announced at E3 earlier this year, Shenmue III went on to break crowdfunding records at Kickstarter, reaching $2 million in pledges faster than any project in the service’s history. The sequel earned over $6 million from its initial round of Kickstarter funding, and continues to solicit pledges via an independently conducted follow-up campaign.

Shenmue III continues a globetrotting storyline introduced in 2000’s Shenmue for the Sega Dreamcast. Players control Ryo Hazuki, who traveled to Hong Kong from Japan while seeking his father’s murderer throughout previous series entries. Shenmue III will continue the series after a decade-long hiatus.

Currently, Shenmue III‘s developers are crafting and perfecting the game’s environments, in order to pave the way for combat, character conversations, and exploration elements.

“In this phase of the development, the major work being done is the map testing,” the team explains. “Map testing will define the different areas to make sure they are neither too big, nor too small to get to that Goldilocks zone.

“This consists of looking at the layout of a certain space, and experimenting to make necessary alterations. For example, an outside area may feel too open. That space may be reduced by 20%, and the number of people there increased from 10 to 16, to affect the proper consistency and density of the area.”

A playable version of Shenmue III is expected to launch in December of 2017.