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Yu Suzuki's five finest moments

1) Making Shenmue
If Suzuki's career will only be remembered for one game, it's this. Shenmue's brilliance is as documented as its abrupt ending, and with Suzuki's step-down it now looks even more likely it will never be concluded. Lan Di has gotten away with murder (literally) and even the crap-looking but fan-beckoning MMO Shenmue Online has been put on indefinite hold.


Above: The arcade, where some of Suzuki's early works are playable

Shenmue should have been Sega and Suzuki's finest hour. A $70 million development budget, the most realistic and detailed game world ever (at the time but even now still impressive) and a cast of genuinely memorable characters. 

The story is compelling, the routines of the NPCs so good you can follow them around for a whole day to see what they do. The weather in the game is exactly what the weather was like in real-life Japan in 1986. The game also introduced QTE events to the world (OK, so even the greatest make mistakes) and featured fully voiced characters throughout the game. It was phenomenal.


Above: We excitedly translated the kana only to find it says 'Shenmue'

But it demands time and patience to get into - the only reason we can think of that it didn't quite do the business at retail. Mind you, it's said that every Dreamcast owner would have had to have bought the game TWICE in order for it to break even, let alone turn a profit. We know loss-leaders can work in business, but sadly Suzuki's best work was not enough to save the Dreamcast from an early death. Shenmue II did appear on Xbox, but it's not the sort of thing you can come to halfway through, even with the summary DVD that came with it.

To its fans, we would suggest being happy for having Parts 1 and 2 that were made. For Fukuhara-san, for the little kitten, the Game YOU arcade and that motorbike ride with Nozomi. We will never forget.

So have we heard the last from the great man of Sega? The last game he directed was the currently arcade-only Sega Race TV (which we're still itching to play as it looks ace). Sadly, that 'AM Plus' division has only released games in Japan so far, so a western console conversion of any of their work seems unlikely.

But so long as he remains at Sega in any capacity, even if it's just Coffee Machine Replenishment Executive, we'll still hold out some hope for Shenmue III. Yes, we know.

06 April, 2009

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17 comments

  • boondocks50 - February 11, 2010 10:51 a.m.

    @ twishart: thats one of the saddest things ive ever heard, shenmue is one of 2 games that made me fall in love with video games, the other being grandia 2, goodbye Yu Suzuki and thank you!
  • JoelyFletcher - April 16, 2009 2:40 p.m.

    Shenmue...Wow
  • aktirak - April 12, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    We can't also forget Space Harrier,Virtual-Cop and Power Drift.Its incredible to see the power house that Yu Suzuki was along side Yuji Naka (Sonic creator) and still SEGA could not survived any of the console wars they fought. @d0x: SEGA had it coming when thay decline selling the company to Microsoft back when the DC was giving sings of dying. dont get me wrong I used to own Master System,Genesis,Saturn and Dreamcast(with I still own the Saturn and DC specially with all the import games that could be found over the net) and I love them but buisness are buisness.
  • drunation - April 7, 2009 6:12 p.m.

    This is great, can anyone suggest websites or cd's that might have some of these tracks? I have been looking for like a zelda, mega man, earthbound kind of cd for a while now.
  • Thequestion 121 - April 7, 2009 4:42 p.m.

    Man, it's a shame someone so influential stepped down in Sega.
  • zeden - April 7, 2009 10:02 a.m.

    "The game also introduced QTE events to the world" Sorry to pull the pedant card, but I'm a bit bored of seeing this idea trotted out. Have you by chance heard of Die Hard Arcade? The fantastic and mostly forgotten 3d Streets of Rage type arcade game? That featured QTE between stages years before Shen Mue hit shelves.
  • Montag - April 6, 2009 11:44 p.m.

    I have always told people Virtua Racing is one of the best drivers out there!!! The first game where you could drift, loved it in the arcade, loved in on the Megadrive and outrageous on the Saturn! Still to this day the only fighter I have ever really played is Virtua Fighter. Bet you didn't know it even appeared on the Master System. I was a sega bod, never a nintendo
  • Red - April 6, 2009 10:30 p.m.

    I'll be the first to admit the games haven't aged well, but nobody can deny the quality they both had. I loved the Shenmue games. They felt like an alternate reality to me when I was a kid. It really is depressing the game will never be concluded.
  • twishart - April 6, 2009 9:47 p.m.

    Shenmue was the first game my wife beat the FUCK out of before I even got near it. She still asks me on a regular basis if I've heard anything about any sequels. I don't have the heart to break it to her, I just say I don't know... :(
  • MisterAdequate - April 6, 2009 5:42 p.m.

    Yu Suzuki is arguably the reason I moved from thinking videogames were a fun pastime to them being my primary hobby that I love above all others. Here's to Yu.
  • JohnDD - April 6, 2009 4:57 p.m.

    Yu Suzuki is a God: cannot and will not forget - EVER - playing 8-Player Daytona in the arcades. Sega arcade games were sublime - something that Nintendo only very rarely entered, which means that, to me, Sega wins.
  • earthvampire - April 6, 2009 4:53 p.m.

    i remember playing outrun as a child and thinking gaming couldent get much better, even now when im in an arcade that still has an outrun cabinet left there as a reminder of the good old days i have to get on it and play it^^. we will miis you yu
  • kenny disco - April 6, 2009 4:35 p.m.

    blimey, thats most of my formative years there..
  • d0x - April 7, 2009 6:22 p.m.

    This breaks my gamer heart. It was so damn sad when Sammie bought Sega and shelved Suzuki. Some of my best gaming memories were playing his games. Whether it was the first time seeing Daytona USA at the arcades, playing any of his Saturn fighting games, or having my mind blown away by Shenmue. This is truly terrible news and if it wasnt for Sammies mismanagement of everything Sega he would still be making incredible games for the world to play. Sammie...go to hell and burn.
  • TehKnuck - April 7, 2009 1:31 a.m.

    I cry myself to sleep every night I don't get to play Shenmue III.
  • ssj4raditz - April 6, 2009 7:50 p.m.

    Shenmue was my second Dreamcast game. Such fond memories! You will be missed, Mr. Suzuki.
  • iluvmyDS - April 6, 2009 4:55 p.m.

    I was there for all of this. I can't believe he's stepping down.

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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