Shenmue 3 release date, gameplay, and everything else you need to know

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Fast facts

  • Shenmue 3 release date: August 27, 2019
  • Developer: Ys Net
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
  • Price: TBA

After the Shenmue 1 & 2 remasters released on PC and console earlier this year, a whole new audience has been able to discover and appreciate Yu Suzuki's classic tales of Ryo Hazuki, which has only fed into the appetite for the series belated upcoming sequel, Shenmue 3. While the game has seen multiple delays after a hugely successful Kickstarter-backed reveal in 2015, developer Ys Net has now given us a firm release date to look forward to, albeit one that's still quite some ways off. 

Alongside that, there's a bunch of ever expanding Shenmue 3 info to dig into in anticipation of the game's release, including new trailers, images, story details, and more. We've collated all the latest highlights right here, so you don't have to go anywhere else for your Shenmue 3 fix. Read on, and find out why Yu Suzuki's quirky adventure games are kicking up such a fuss across the internet. 

Shenmue 3 release date has been pushed to August 2019

Originally (and incredibly optimistically) pegged for release in December 2017, the Shenmue 3 release date slipped into 2018, before being delayed again at Gamescom to a more specific window of August 29, 2019. The bitter pill of this second push back, however, was accompanied by another new trailer, which teases the return of Lan Di, the series' main villain. 

For anyone who has ever pledged a Kickstarter campaign, that release date push won't come as much of a surprise. With a creation this massive, and with no small amount of expectation on its shoulders, delays seem inevitable. We'd suggest that you should still take that release timeline with a large grain of the proverbial salt. 

Latest Shenmue 3 screenshots promise the return of arcade minigames

Ys Net has been slowly trickling out new Shenmue 3 screenshots over the two and half years since it was first announced, but one highlight from a recent batch in late 2018 suggests a key gameplay feature from the original games is returning for this threequel. That's right, mini games will be back in Shenmue 3, and hopefully the sleepy Japanese city of Yokosuka still has an arcade for players to waste time in while inevitably waiting for the next story beat to become available in the main campaign. 

All the way back in 2015, Ys Net took a poll to determine fan favourite mini games from past Shenmue titles, so expect to see the likes of Lucky Hit and Duck Racing to feature in the upcoming third entry, alongside a bunch of new ones, as seen in the image above. Hopefully not all of them will be quite as rigid or janky as their last appearances...

Shenmue 3 gameplay features QTE's, an open world, and Virtua Fighter style battles

All the game’s many fans would love nothing more than a look at exactly what they’ll be doing in the sequel. Suzuki said early on in the project that it would take $10 million to make the new game a true open world experience, although he didn’t explain exactly what he meant by that. He does have the backing of Sony on top of the crowdsourced funds, so maybe those open world mechanics are still something that we’ll see in the final product. Fingers crossed.

The Gamescom trailer did show off Shenmue 3's gameplay for the first time, albeit in a more cinematic manner than usual, and suggests there'll be more of the kind of martial arts, talking, and exploring that makes up the original double bill, while Suzuki himself has confirmed the iconic Quick Time Events, will be making a return.

As for the battles themselves, Suzuki revealed on an update in Shenmue's Kickstarter page that he wanted "to do something a little different" this time around. "We have been running some tests, and well, it’s not a game like Virtua Fighter that is about timing. So, I hope it will take the form of a puzzle game that anyone can play with a strong emphasis on choreography.”

Watch Shenmue 3's debut trailer right here

The first ever proper trailer for Shenmue 3 dropped at GamesCom 2017 in August, showcasing the first actual footage for the highly anticipated game. The original was applauded for its day and night mechanics, interactivity and mini games - all things that we basically take for granted in today's AAA climate.  It's therefore interesting to see the first actual gameplay footage for the game after many, many years of waiting. Unfortunately though, the trailer gives very little away about the game beyond showing off some sprawling landscapes and detailed city skylines. 

Shenmue 3 now has proper facial animations

The first few glimpses we've had of Shenmue 3 to date have featured characters with incredibly expressionless and stiff faces. Protagonist Ryo Hazuki's face was incredibly problematic throughout the entirety of the game's first teaser trailer. Thankfully, Ys Net's own Yu Suzuki hears the concerns of the game's fans, as evidenced by his interview with Game Watch, explaining that the facial animations had been removed from some of the footage that had already been released for the game. But don't you worry, they're all going back in again. In a development update video, Ys Net then showed off the facial animations it's been working on for the game. Have a look yourself above. 

Shenmue 3's Kickstarter page is a chance to pre-order the game and grab some exclusive merch

Shenmue 3 and its gargantuan budget all began with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign. It started out seeking $2 million, but wound up pulling in a jaw-dropping $6,333,295 in one month. An impressive 69,320 people backed the game, and its crowdsourced funding recently reached a whopping $7.1 million.

Given the high price tag, you’d expect some baller rewards. Different price tiers might be getting an art book, in-game items, illustrations signed by Yu-san himself, or rare merch from the first two Shenmue titles. And for a cool $10K, some super fans will get to have dinner with Yu Suzuki and talk about the game.

 Shenmue 3 may not be the last in the series

It’s been more than 14 years, but it seems we might finally get a resolution to the cliffhanger that ended of Shenmue 2. Last time we saw Ryo, he had just met Shenhua Ling. Then there was a sword and a mural and a whole lot of questions. In the Kickstarter video, Suzuki promised that Shenmue 3 would be “the story you have waited for.” The duo will be traveling through China as Ryo continues to seek vengeance.

Sukuzi has long envisioned Shenmue as a multi-part saga. In a Reddit AMA last summer, he explained that he sees the complete story having 11 chapters, with each title exploring a handful of them. “Over the past 14 years I originally planned for there to be four or five games in the series,” he said. “If at all possible, I would still like to realize the full story of 11 chapters.”