It may have been on the receiving end of a hefty delay, but Shenmue III and Ryo Hazuki were still present and correct at E3 2019, kicking ass, taking names, and spending way too much time and money on gatcha machines.
We got treated to a new cinematic trailer during the PC Gaming Show which took place on Monday evening, as well as a pair of actual gameplay trailers from the E3 show floor. These show off a variety of side activities (a staple of the Shenmue series), as well as a gander at combat and martial arts training.
Wonderfully for Shenmue fans (and not so much for anyone else), Shenmue III is looking like the most Shenmue-ass game since Shenmue II. Yu Suzuki and the team at Ys Net are basically making zero concessions to modern gameplay normas and tropes. Shenmue 3 is staying absolutely pure to what fans loved in the first place.
Unfortunately, this probably means Shenmue III is going to be a very divisive game. The immersion, world-building, and slow pace are what makes the franchise stand out, but it’s also at odds with the slick production of AAA titles today. I’m currently replaying Shenmue HD and it came as quite a shock to the system after all these years. In my mind, I’d started conflating the Shenmue and Yakuza titles as games painted from the same brush, yet they’re actually remarkably different.
Shenmue is all about existing in the very fabric of the world, whether that’s nattering to each and every inhabitant, playing some board games to pass the time, waiting at a bus stop in the rain, or heading to the dojo for a training day. I love it, personally, but the glacial pace may put some off.
Following last week’s delay, Shenmue III will now be coming to PC and PlayStation 4 on November 19th. A quick word of warning - it’s an Epic Games Store exclusive on PC, so make of that what you will.