Move over, Koji! Just one week after Koji Igarashi’s Castlevania successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night set the record for most-funded video game on Kickstarter, Shenmue 3 surpassed it on the final day of fundraising to set the new record. With 11 hours to go at time of writing, Yu Suzuki’s Shenmue 3 has raised over $5.66 million, surpassing Bloodstained‘s $5.55 million.
Following its a surprise announcement at Sony’s E3 press conference, Shenmue 3 reached its initial goal of $2 million in just over nine hours. An open-world action adventure, it continues the saga of teenager Ryo Hazuki in his quest to become a martial arts bad-ass and avenge the murder of his father.
The original Shenmue was released in 1999 for Sega’s short-lived Dreamcast console. It featured an unprecedented amount of depth and simulation, placing Ryo in a living world with a day/night cycle, dynamic weather, and NPCs with their own schedules. It was the most expensive video game ever produced at the time, and in fact failed to recoup those development costs, despite critics praising it as revolutionary for its time.
One of at least three planned sequels was released for Dreamcast and the original Xbox, but the story was left unfinished, establishing its position as a cult classic and one of most requested revivals in gaming.
A quick glance at the most-funded Kickstarter video games shows what a powerful role nostalgia has played in the largest crowdfunding successes so far. The top two, Shenmue 3 and Bloodstained are both helmed by acclaimed Japanese developers whose late 90s creations (Shenmue and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) were hugely influential for the medium’s subsequent evolution.
They are closely followed by Torment: Tides of Numenera and Pillars of Eternity, computer roleplaying games that hearken back directly to late 90s classics like Planescape: Torment and Baldur’s Gate, and that were also led by some of those games’ original creators. Rounding out the top 5 is Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9, which evokes Inafune’s legendary Mega Man games.
Shenmue 3 is still a ways off, currently scheduled for a 2017 release on PlayStation 4 and PC.
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