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New Shenmue game likely heading to smartphones

Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki told Gamasutra the current incarnation of the Shenmue series, a microtransaction-based social game called Shenmue Gai (sometimes called Shenmue City, but Suzuki claims to be partial to the equally valid translation Shenmue Town) is more than likely heading to smartphones.

“From the start, I’ve been thinking of this as a multiplatform game... So I’m thinking about smartphone strategies right now.” While iPhone is currently the most visible and popular smartphone in Japan, Android is making large inroads into the market. Suzuki's vague allusions to smartphones in general seem to imply Shenmue City might head to both platforms.

This is good news for foreign fans of the series who, while technically able to sign up for a Shenmue City account, have to overcome large language barriers to do so. The Android marketplace is unified, meaning anyone from anywhere in the world can download any app. Meanwhile, setting up a Japanese iTunes account is no more painful than signing up for Japanese PSN. We have a small amount of additional info about the game here.

The port may be a while off. Suzuki cautioned that, “the experience definitely needs to be customized for the smartphone.”

March 1, 2011

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