One of the most beloved video game series of all time is coming back in 2018, as Shenmue and its sequel Shenmue II are launching on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, along with a PC release on Steam. The original games were released on the short-lived Sega Dreamcast console in 1999 and 2001, respectively, where they gained a passionate following. As the series makes its way to a new generation of consoles and gamers, a press release from Sega states this is its “most requested re-release of all time.”
The story follows young martial artist Ryo Hazuki as he sets out to avenge the death of his father, who died at the hands of a man seeking a mysterious stone artifact known as the Dragon Mirror. Hazuki wanders his home city of Yokosuka, Japan, investigating leads that take him to the harbor and onboard a boat to Hong Kong, where the second game picks up the story.
The Shenmue series combined open-world exploration with a complex fighting system and RPG elements. Day cycles into night and weather patterns change as NPCs and local businesses follow their own schedules according to the game’s internal clock. Minigames offer a break from the action, and in-game currency can be used to purchase everything from food to toys. If that’s not enough, you can also partake in a little duck racing.
Shenmue had the distinction of being the most expensive video game ever developed at the time of its release. Despite praise from gamers and reviewers alike, neither of the games met commercial expectations, though Shenmue II was ported to Xbox in 2002.
Shenmue I & II will launch both physically and digitally for consoles, while PC users will be able to download the collection via the Steam digital platform. Sega aims to maintain the original series’ look and feel, while adding modern features such as scaleable screen resolution, a choice of modern or classic controls, graphics options for the PC version, an updated user interface, and original voiceover audio in both English and Japanese.
According to the press release, the physical and digital editions will be available to pre-order from “first party stores, Steam, and U.S. and EMEA retailers soon.” The latest information can be found on the official Shenmue I & II Shenmue I & II site.
After years of delays, a sequel to the series broke the record for video game campaigns on Kickstarter. Shenmue III raised more than $6 million dollars from nearly 70,000 backers, and is set to be released for PS4 and PC in the second half of 2018. You can also keep an eye out for a possible preview at E3 this year.