It wasn't a dream; Shenmue 3 is still happening. Not only have Kickstarter (opens in new tab) backers received an update (as reported by Eurogamer (opens in new tab)), complete with new screenshots, but a game conference known as 'MAGIC' in Monaco has shown us new in-engine footage too. Granted, there's no actual gameplay yet, but that doesn't mean there isn't new information to glean.
Firstly the environment shows Shenhua's house, complete with the eponymous Shenmue tree in full blossom outside. Series protagonist, Ryo Hazuki, is conspicuously absent, which could suggest that you'll get to play as Shenhua for a bit (those screens are certainly in chase cam), or – more likely - that Ryo's character model is being reworked. The one in the Kickstarter campaign arguably doesn’t look quite right, so perhaps it's been noted by Yu Suzuki and his team.
The other exciting thing (no, really) is that the sky shows a different time of day in each of the screenshots, suggesting that the original games' fully dynamic time and weather system is back and already working, allowing for story scenes to play out uniquely for each player, depending on when they encounter them.
And finally, but most importantly, the footage feels like Shenmue. The way the swooping camera glides through the gorgeous environment, dwelling on small details is exactly the sort of thing Shenmue always did so well. These aren't just game areas for you to do missions in – they're supposed to be beautiful places for you savour. All it needs now is for somebody to be practicing Martial Arts under the tree and we'll have ourselves a Shenmue.
But the main news here is undoubtedly that Shenmue 3 is still happening and looks on-track, aiming for release in December 2017. Now let's all be quiet so as not to scare it away.
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