Yu Suzuki, legendary former head of Sega studio AM#2 and creator of the now infamous Shenmue series, has given a candid and honest interview with a French Shenmue fansite (opens in new tab)... and reignited our hopes of getting Shenmue III all over again. For starters, he confirms that while Sega currently owns the Shenmue IP, he 'can obtain it from them'. Of course, what we really wanted to hear was 'we will obtain it from them', but it sounds like a statement of intent from here. Oh, but there's more. Much more.
Suzuki goes on to talk about some elements of the plot of the next game, including the revelation that an old training partner of Ryo's father (potentially the man in the photo of Hazuki-sensei that Ryo finds in the basement of the family dojo) will play a large role in the next part of the story. He also reveals that Ryo's lust for revenge will dissipate as the story goes on. We still wouldn't bet against a final showdown with Lan Di for some other reason, but it definitely won't be a hollow act of revenge when/if it happens.
Above: Revelations! Also, Ryo's mother will not play a large role in the story, coming to Ryo only through his thoughts and memories
Also during the interview, it is put to Yu Suzuki that the other man in that mysterious photograph is Lan Di's father. Suzuki nods his head - something that the interviewer in question picks up on. However, I should point out that during Japanese conversation, it is polite to nod and say 'hai' while the other person is speaking, to show that you understand what they're saying - not necessarily that they are correct.
Most tantalising of all? When asked what his favourite part of the Shenmue saga is, Suzuki explains that Shenmue 1 and Shenmue 2 only cover the first six chapters of the 11-chapters of story he has outlined (so far) - and that his favourite part is still to come. Ooh, the big tease.
Above: Yeah, I agree. The bit where Ryo appears to get killed in a sinking tanker and you play the rest of the game as Fuku-san is pretty damn awesome...
Suzuki's musings are by no means confirmation that Shenmue III is coming, but it's clearly still very much in his thoughts. And the news that there are open avenues allowing even the tiniest possibility of a new sequel is wonderful. But, honestly, it's incredibly cruel to keep fans hanging on like this. Every time we give up on hope of ever seeing a Shenmue III, we get thrown a scrap to fight over. This has been a particularly tasty scrap to nibble on and savour, but it's still tinged with the salty tears of frustration.
Here's the interview in full - well worth a watch if you have even the slightest interest in the subject. Although it is worth noting that we're reading English translations of French translations of answers given in Japanese. A dangerous game of Chinese whispers, but given the geographical direction the story's headed, perhaps that's quite fitting.