Understanding Sony's Role in Shenmue 3

Understanding Sony's Role in Shenmue 3

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Many fans were confused after learning about Sony's direct involvement in Shenmue 3, but it's simpler than you may think.

Sony blew away the media and fans alike during their 2015 E3 showcase, especially when they brought developer Yu Suzuki on stage for the announcement that a Kickstarter had been created to bring fans the long anticipated title Shenmue 3.

Recently, it was revealed that Sony will be a partner in creating Shenmue 3, although there is no mention of this partnership on the Kickstarter page. Additionally, during the announcement at E3, VP of publisher & developer relations at PlayStation Adam Boyes appeared to say the opposite.

"Recently a developer told us that they were bringing back a fan favorite to Kickstarter for PC and PS4. Now, this is very much their project, but we wanted to celebrate their announcement on our stage. Since this has been a game that Playstation fans have been very, very, very vocal about."

However, during the Playstation E3 Experience livecast, Playstation's Director of third party production and developer relations Gio Corsi made Sony's involvement clear.

"We said the only way this is going to happen is if the fans speak up, and we thought Kickstarter was the perfect place to do this."

"Sony and Playstation is very much a partner in this game and it's going to be run through third party production, and we're going to help YS Net get the game done," Corsi continued. "And we're going to be partners on it the whole way."

While many seemed concerned over this omission, it appears that Sony's role is not as hands-on as people are assuming.

Engadget spoke with Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida, who explained a bit further Sony's involvement. "It's a very exciting project and there are lots of PlayStation fans asking for it. But it's a Sega IP and of course Suzuki Yu-san is the creator. So somehow Suzuki-san was able to work out with Sega to allow them to Kickstart the project. And because we liked the project, our third-party relations team struck a deal to help Kickstart the campaign at the E3 conference. That's great PR."

Adam Boyes later stated "we're backing it as well... we're putting scratch in" but that the title will be self-published with Sony helping with the marketing. Had Sony made the decision to fully fund Shenmue 3, Boyes estimates that two years would have been dedicated solely to showing there is a demand for the game, then the process to secure funding would begin, then development would start. Also, in the case of full funding, Shenmue 3 would have been a first party title for Sony, which likely would have waded into murky water as far as licensing from Sega was concerned, as well as with Yu Suzuki's role in the development process.

Yu Suzuki hosted an AMA on Reddit Friday, and while he did not address any of the questions regarding his partnership with Sony (many questions went unanswered due to the popularity of the thread, not just ones regarding Sony), he did say "I will say this: if we reach the $5 mil mark, one of the things I really want to do with Shenmue 3 will become a reality. At $10 million, it will truly have the features of an open world."

Shibuya Productions President & CEO Cedric Biscay, Co-Producer for Shenmue 3, addressed Sony's involvement briefly in several tweets, including one that stated "Sony is providing various supports, including marketing and investment, to YSNet. However, SONY is just one of many backers of #Shenmue3." Further clarifying, Biscay wrote "SONY will not get any money from the KS, they will help to finance the PS4 version and will also help for advertisement."

In 2011, Suzuki told Destructoid that Shenmue, released in 1999, cost $47 million to make.

At the time of this posting, Shenmue 3 is the seventh most funded game Kickstarter of all time with nearly $3.5 million pledged and 26 days remaining.

1.The E3 reveal of Shenmue 3 begins at 46:40 of this video.

2.The Shenmue 3 interview begins at 2:44:06 on this video, with Corsi discussing Playstation's involvement at 2:49:28.

Permalink

Does anyone else see the start of a really disturbing trend here?
Publisher: "We'd like to make this new game, really, it's just that we want the fan base to prove to they want it... by being the people to take the responsibility for funding it and risk of failure off our shoulders despite our immense financial power"

Well that clears up something I never knew needed clearing up. Alas, Tis the way of the tinternet.

I'm a fan of seeing this series complete one day, but I am unsure of going to kickstarter for it. It's just...i feel a little worried the game's formula may have aged a bit. I was young and easily impressed by good graphics, dramatic storytelling and rifling through various people's bedside drawers, so the menial jobs in that game with either terrible collision detection or repeatative QTE prompts were easily skimmed over. But that just won't cut it nowdays.
The action scenes with QTEs are understandable, I guess. But they need to add some fresh gameplay ideas. The living, breathing, working world was great though. It felt like a real, inhabited place. Yet again, more impressive for its' time.

I dunno, it would be nice to see what they have planned at least.

Is it wrong that when they announced it, I cried a little? Exactly like that blonde fella in the audience, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

Too much political nonsense to hide the fact that Sony is practically benefiting from this like a publisher would.
People who fund this kickstarter are saps. That's it. If you think that other publishers won't try to do the same for some of the older IP's you're dead wrong. And impulsive as they are, gamers will gladly give in to them. And pretty soon we'll have billionaire publishers asking money from fans to even consider making a game. As if pre-orders weren't bad enough, gamers are willing to pay for a fuckin' idea! So sad. I applaud Sony for this. They didn't just make a great business deal, but they've revealed just how naive and prone to being taken advantage of gamers can be. Jesus fuckin' Christ.

Its nice to see a publisher that's not really publishing a title still hold it up and agree to market it despite them not necessarily being behind the IP at all.
Some might see this as a bad thing but really I'm quite excited that Shenmue is getting the final note it deserves and is being handled by people who are directly involved with the original. That Sony allowed them to use their stage at E3 is, IMHO, an awesome way of being supportive of 3rd party titles. If more publishers could realize that they don't need to own every developer in-house, and can be involved without lording over the IP, maybe more great games could be made without corporate bullshit politics getting in the way.

Hm, did not know that, at first I thought Sony wasn't monetarily involved. I'm not too sure I like seeing big publishers get involved in Kickstarters. I love Kickstarter for its grassroots nature. A big publisher doesn't belong in an ecosystem like that, hell you could say it's meant to escape the big-pub ecosystem.

As it stands now, Sony is sort of profiting from small-time folks' money. And I don't like the sound of that.

MoltenSilver:
Does anyone else see the start of a really disturbing trend here?
Publisher: "We'd like to make this new game, really, it's just that we want the fan base to prove to they want it... by being the people to take the responsibility for funding it and risk of failure off our shoulders despite our immense financial power"

That's not quite what is happening here. Sony's financial role in this appears to be more akin to a minor investor than that of a traditional AAA publisher arrangement where the publisher takes all the profit and then just pays the developer an agreed upon amount. Yu has made it very clear that the Kickstarter is what is going to determine the scope of the game, not outside funding. Sony isn't making this game in the way that EA made Dragon Age Inquisition. This isn't even like the Bloodstained Kickstarter where 90% of the funding was already promised.

The main problem here is that the Kickstarter itself is being badly managed. All of this should have been made clear up front. Even if Sony was providing substantial development funds, at least having that in black and white on the KS page would have let people make informed decisions, and really, people should know by now that when information is unclear, the Internet will assume the worst.

Here's a video from a long time Shenume fan helping to explain the situation.

I'm glad that those who are against this whole thing weren't coming out of the woodwork during Bloodstained's kickstarter. The people who don't even give a shit about these games outside of getting outraged at something are in full force it seems.

Not that there aren't legitimate concerns, but boy do a lot of people who are getting their knickers in a twist don't actually know fucking anything, and are either parroting shit they heard or are basing their whole stance on half a sentence they read.

Though I do love the "oh no, publishers are going to use this as nostalgia bait for money" stance. I would like all of them to check what the most succesful game kickstartes are.

Considering how great The Witcher 3 was with a smaller budget then most Triple A games, I wonder what Shenmue 3's budget will be like, surely more then the KS money for sure.

And this is why I'll never donate to KS, one for the risk of the product actually failing, and thus losing my money in the process, and funding a product that's actually being backed by a major corporation who rather not risk their own funds but let the little people do it.

Yeah no, if this becomes the precedent, major corporations letting people fund their product without or little risk of their own side, then we're letting our corporate overlords screw us even more then they do with governments.

WolvDragon:
Considering how great The Witcher 3 was with a smaller budget then most Triple A games, I wonder what Shenmue 3's budget will be like, surely more then the KS money for sure.

And this is why I'll never donate to KS, one for the risk of the product actually failing, and thus losing my money in the process, and funding a product that's actually being backed by a major corporation who rather not risk their own funds but let the little people do it.

Yeah no, if this becomes the precedent, major corporations letting people fund their product without or little risk of their own side, then we're letting our corporate overlords screw us even more then they do with governments.

It's not Sony's product, and Ys Net is a small developer run by one of the gods of Japanese gaming development, not a major corporation.

Scars Unseen:

WolvDragon:
Considering how great The Witcher 3 was with a smaller budget then most Triple A games, I wonder what Shenmue 3's budget will be like, surely more then the KS money for sure.

And this is why I'll never donate to KS, one for the risk of the product actually failing, and thus losing my money in the process, and funding a product that's actually being backed by a major corporation who rather not risk their own funds but let the little people do it.

Yeah no, if this becomes the precedent, major corporations letting people fund their product without or little risk of their own side, then we're letting our corporate overlords screw us even more then they do with governments.

It's not Sony's product, and Ys Net is a small developer run by one of the gods of Japanese gaming development, not a major corporation.

Well I disagree YS is a "god" but to each their own, my points still stands about corporations letting people fund their prodcuts and not investing the money themselves.

WolvDragon:

Scars Unseen:

WolvDragon:
Considering how great The Witcher 3 was with a smaller budget then most Triple A games, I wonder what Shenmue 3's budget will be like, surely more then the KS money for sure.

And this is why I'll never donate to KS, one for the risk of the product actually failing, and thus losing my money in the process, and funding a product that's actually being backed by a major corporation who rather not risk their own funds but let the little people do it.

Yeah no, if this becomes the precedent, major corporations letting people fund their product without or little risk of their own side, then we're letting our corporate overlords screw us even more then they do with governments.

It's not Sony's product, and Ys Net is a small developer run by one of the gods of Japanese gaming development, not a major corporation.

Well I disagree YS is a "god" but to each their own, my points still stands about corporations letting people fund their prodcuts and not investing the money themselves.

Your point doesn't stand. It's not Sony's product.

Scars Unseen:

WolvDragon:

Scars Unseen:

It's not Sony's product, and Ys Net is a small developer run by one of the gods of Japanese gaming development, not a major corporation.

Well I disagree YS is a "god" but to each their own, my points still stands about corporations letting people fund their prodcuts and not investing the money themselves.

Your point doesn't stand. It's not Sony's product.

Well true, they're only investing it to a small degree, unless they have a lock on the IP as a console exclusive.

Even that wouldn't matter as far as the issue of Kickstarter goes. There are a lot of console exclusive deals made on games that aren't owned by the console manufacturer. Certainly, I could understand someone not wanting to back a project that was exclusive to a console they neither owned nor planned on buying(though at least here PC is also an option), but that's not really related to Kickstarter itself.

What matters is whether the IP and/or development is controlled by an outside agency, and who gets the profits from the project. In this case, the IP is owned by Sega, not Sony, the development is controlled by Yu himself, and the profits aren't known 100%, but they certainly aren't going to Sony in the manner of a typical publisher/developer relationship.

There is room here for speculation, even some bit of healthy skepticism, but the outright condemnation that people are throwing at this project is largely based on fabricated claims and baseless assumptions spread through the rumor mill, so accusations thrown at the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter should be treated with at least equal suspicion.

Clarification on Sony's involvement after a whirlwind of differing reports is nice, and it seems pretty clear what the roles of the various entities are here. I have no problem with Sony marketing the game and supporting it that way. I think the biggest risk if publishers have too much involvement is that they will try to make changes to the game, and I think quite obviously Suzuki is going to make a true continuation of the game series.

Xsjadoblayde:
I'm a fan of seeing this series complete one day, but I am unsure of going to kickstarter for it. It's just...i feel a little worried the game's formula may have aged a bit. I was young and easily impressed by good graphics, dramatic storytelling and rifling through various people's bedside drawers, so the menial jobs in that game with either terrible collision detection or repeatative QTE prompts were easily skimmed over. But that just won't cut it nowdays.
The action scenes with QTEs are understandable, I guess. But they need to add some fresh gameplay ideas. The living, breathing, working world was great though. It felt like a real, inhabited place. Yet again, more impressive for its' time.

I dunno, it would be nice to see what they have planned at least.

Having played the game a little while ago after not playing it for a very long time, I have to say that it actually holds up pretty well. Let's face it, the appeal of the game was never really in the QTEs or even the free battle stuff. The graphics still hold up surprisingly well, character models were always well designed and felt natural. And since no one has tried to make a real game like it since, the game still feels fresh and unique. Not without the problems it always had, of course, but it hasn't aged like milk either.

Scars Unseen:
Even that wouldn't matter as far as the issue of Kickstarter goes. There are a lot of console exclusive deals made on games that aren't owned by the console manufacturer. Certainly, I could understand someone not wanting to back a project that was exclusive to a console they neither owned nor planned on buying(though at least here PC is also an option), but that's not really related to Kickstarter itself.

What matters is whether the IP and/or development is controlled by an outside agency, and who gets the profits from the project. In this case, the IP is owned by Sega, not Sony, the development is controlled by Yu himself, and the profits aren't known 100%, but they certainly aren't going to Sony in the manner of a typical publisher/developer relationship.

There is room here for speculation, even some bit of healthy skepticism, but the outright condemnation that people are throwing at this project is largely based on fabricated claims and baseless assumptions spread through the rumor mill, so accusations thrown at the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter should be treated with at least equal suspicion.

Well I'm glad the fans will finally play Shenmue 3, and you're right we might've made some knee jerk accusations, however.

This doesn't pertain to Shenmue 3, but my overall point, as I stated again, if a KS product is from a major corporation not willing to risk it's own funds to make a game, a corporation with a huge money pile, then I think it's absurd to fund said product if the corporation can do it themselves.

Again not related to Shenmue 3, but to anything else that fits my point yes.

So when can I expect an HD remake of 1 and 2? Never played them.

MoltenSilver:
Does anyone else see the start of a really disturbing trend here?
Publisher: "We'd like to make this new game, really, it's just that we want the fan base to prove to they want it... by being the people to take the responsibility for funding it and risk of failure off our shoulders despite our immense financial power"

I honestly dont see whats so disturbing about it, the main reason why publishers dont make games like Shenmue anymore is because others like it failed to make a return on the investment, and with no others like it being made its difficult to gauge consumer interest.

And thats what theyre really doing, gauging interest by inviting people to vote with thier wallets. That 2-3m raised so far would never be enough to cover the development of the whole game.

And im happy for this development anyway, since it means more (hopefully) high quality content and i didnt even need to buy a PS4 or sign up to Kickstarter to be able to benefit.

Are Sony feeling some pent-up guilt over being partly responsible for the Dreamcast's demise and sending Sega out of the hardware game?

Sure, Sony loved to have Shenmue 3 announced on their stage. Another long awaited game being announced at their conference gave them more hype points, and they can hype up the PS4 version while downplaying the PC version, like MS did with the 360 and PC versions of Titanfall.

Programmed_For_Damage:
Are Sony feeling some pent-up guilt over being partly responsible for the Dreamcast's demise and sending Sega out of the hardware game?

No competitor should feel guilty about Sega dropping out. The spent most of the 90s making poor decisions and mishandling communication between the Japanese and US branches (and within each of those). Because of that, they had to release the Dreamcast early and see how it fared against upcoming Sony and Nintendo (and Microsoft) consoles.

Programmed_For_Damage:
Are Sony feeling some pent-up guilt over being partly responsible for the Dreamcast's demise and sending Sega out of the hardware game?

Care to specify what you mean? I thought Sega leaving the console business was mostly because of them rushing the Sega Saturn, and releasing the Dreamcast sometime later?

RaikuFA:
So when can I expect an HD remake of 1 and 2? Never played them.

That's entirely up to Sega. Yu got permission from them to make Shenmue 3, but that deal doesn't include the first two games. It's possible that Sega is looking towards the performance of this Kickstarter to determine whether they should release the games again or not, but it's also possible that they just don't care.

WolvDragon:

Programmed_For_Damage:
Are Sony feeling some pent-up guilt over being partly responsible for the Dreamcast's demise and sending Sega out of the hardware game?

Care to specify what you mean? I thought Sega leaving the console business was mostly because of them rushing the Sega Saturn, and releasing the Dreamcast sometime later?

It was mostly due to Sega's catastrophically inept marketing department and the massive gulf of communication between the US and Japanese head offices; but Sony did release a lot of fluff and nonsense about the upcoming PS2 (emotion chip anyone?) at launch to dissuade people (a lot of them included my dim-witted friends) from taking a chance on the more "forward-thinking" console and instead waiting for the PS2. From a competitive standpoint it was brilliant move on Sony's behalf, given they held the lion's share of the market after Sega had successfully blown both feet off with the Saturn. But it seemed like a dick move at the time.

Then again I was a bitter man back then. A bitter, angry man.

I won't be supporting this, I do not believe that big businesses should be involved in using Kickstarter for additional funding. We keep on this road and eventually we'll wind up with a situation where to make games companies will decide they need a kickstarter commitment in addition to everything else from their end before they will even consider making games, and hey, if things fall apart they can pocket the KS money for their time and trouble and say it was simply a failed project and everyone knew the risks.

If Sony is involved like this, to any extent, I will not support the Kickstarter, the same for any other big company.

I'll also warn everyone, I think your being played. In testing this to prove it's viable they are bringing out a much-beloved IP to get people to invest despite their best interests. People thinking "well, I really oppose this, but I've wanted a new Shenmue for a long time so I'll make an exception" are going to be the problem. Once a KS like this succeeds we'll see it with every IP big business can drum up, and it will become part of the process with nothing much we can do. We've seen things like this creep up on us before, I hope people will wake up in the next 26 days and start pulling their funding out of the project and letting it die. Sad to see Shenmue go that way, but people need to think in the long term and what happened when people started making "exceptions" on a large scale for beloved properties when it came to things like DLC, always online DRM (or DRM in general), and proprietary company launchers just to name a few. Support this and we'll give corporations another hand hold and perhaps even ruin what Kickstarter has been able to do so far.

Therumancer:
I won't be supporting this, I do not believe that big businesses should be involved in using Kickstarter for additional funding. We keep on this road and eventually we'll wind up with a situation where to make games companies will decide they need a kickstarter commitment in addition to everything else from their end before they will even consider making games, and hey, if things fall apart they can pocket the KS money for their time and trouble and say it was simply a failed project and everyone knew the risks.

If Sony is involved like this, to any extent, I will not support the Kickstarter, the same for any other big company.

I'll also warn everyone, I think your being played. In testing this to prove it's viable they are bringing out a much-beloved IP to get people to invest despite their best interests. People thinking "well, I really oppose this, but I've wanted a new Shenmue for a long time so I'll make an exception" are going to be the problem. Once a KS like this succeeds we'll see it with every IP big business can drum up, and it will become part of the process with nothing much we can do. We've seen things like this creep up on us before, I hope people will wake up in the next 26 days and start pulling their funding out of the project and letting it die. Sad to see Shenmue go that way, but people need to think in the long term and what happened when people started making "exceptions" on a large scale for beloved properties when it came to things like DLC, always online DRM (or DRM in general), and proprietary company launchers just to name a few. Support this and we'll give corporations another hand hold and perhaps even ruin what Kickstarter has been able to do so far.

This is why I never donated to a KS project, you already have rich celebrities take advantage of KS to get funding for their projects (Spike Lee, William Shatner, and Shaq anyone?) and now we may have potentially big corporations doing the samething, and people will have no problems funding these projects backed up by them.

It pretty much screws up the little guy if you ask me, the ones who really need the money.

MoltenSilver:
Does anyone else see the start of a really disturbing trend here?
Publisher: "We'd like to make this new game, really, it's just that we want the fan base to prove to they want it... by being the people to take the responsibility for funding it and risk of failure off our shoulders despite our immense financial power"

sony is in a bad place right now, they don't have the money to spend on projects they don't know ill make it. you need to read the article. it clearly explains sony is behind the marketing and porting, they won't put any dev money into the game.
that's why this article imho is so important, so many people got it all wrong about what is going on.

Kind of makes me wish bayonetta 2 was kickstarted instead of being strapped onto the WIIU but kickstarting big, well known AAA franchises just leaves a bad taste in my mouth because you know publishers will abuse this.
You know there will be a call of duty kickstarter or a beloved franchise held hostage by a kickstarter campaign like a dungeon keeper kickstarter by EA.

I look at kickstarter like a glorified donation campaign and big, multi million dollar companies have no business asking for donations because they can't handle their budgets.

This is really confusing, man. I can't tell whether Sony is adding in millions of dollars more of their own, or if the money made on Kickstarter is what the majority of the game's funds will be.

Just to be safe, I will still suggest to anyone who wants this game to put forth at least the minimum amount towards its creation.

hentropy:

Having played the game a little while ago after not playing it for a very long time, I have to say that it actually holds up pretty well. Let's face it, the appeal of the game was never really in the QTEs or even the free battle stuff. The graphics still hold up surprisingly well, character models were always well designed and felt natural. And since no one has tried to make a real game like it since, the game still feels fresh and unique. Not without the problems it always had, of course, but it hasn't aged like milk either.

That is a little relief to hear. I sent my befuddled dreamcast away to make a life o its' own, a long time ago. All that remains are dreamy memories of wonderful stories and QTE crate stacking. Ryu has 90s all over him though; Leather jacket, sports bike, overdramatic "Nooooooooooooooo..." With fists toward the sky when his dad dies at the beginning (not spoiler). I hope it will still be a fresh experience. Also if they could just explain the ending of Shenmue 2, I think a lot of people would be quite grateful.

Xsjadoblayde:

hentropy:

Having played the game a little while ago after not playing it for a very long time, I have to say that it actually holds up pretty well. Let's face it, the appeal of the game was never really in the QTEs or even the free battle stuff. The graphics still hold up surprisingly well, character models were always well designed and felt natural. And since no one has tried to make a real game like it since, the game still feels fresh and unique. Not without the problems it always had, of course, but it hasn't aged like milk either.

That is a little relief to hear. I sent my befuddled dreamcast away to make a life o its' own, a long time ago. All that remains are dreamy memories of wonderful stories and QTE crate stacking. Ryu has 90s all over him though; Leather jacket, sports bike, overdramatic "Nooooooooooooooo..." With fists toward the sky when his dad dies at the beginning (not spoiler). I hope it will still be a fresh experience. Also if they could just explain the ending of Shenmue 2, I think a lot of people would be quite grateful.

Shenmue takes place in 1986-1987. Nothing 90s about Ryo.

Scars Unseen:

Shenmue takes place in 1986-1987. Nothing 90s about Ryo.

Oh you're right, I completely forgot it had a specific period setting. Still, it's almost 90s, surely? Plus i'm not ruling out the possibility that the design stages may have been influenced by 90s media. Though the fists to the sky scene is definately more 80s. Oh well.

MoltenSilver:
Does anyone else see the start of a really disturbing trend here?
Publisher: "We'd like to make this new game, really, it's just that we want the fan base to prove to they want it... by being the people to take the responsibility for funding it and risk of failure off our shoulders despite our immense financial power"

Actually, I have. Back in 2010-2011 when Capcom trolled Mega Man fans.
They announced Mega Man Legends 3, demanded payment for the demo to gauge response, only to then shitcan the project when that failed (and when Inafune quit the company). Obviously, it wasn't through kickstarter, but it was most definitely in line with a big gaming company trying to turn the players into backers so they don't have to.

It's a bit of a mess but y'know this could be the start of publishers daring to allow beloved old IP's to be brought back from the dead with proof that gamers want them.

I think its too early to call on if this is a good thing or not, but i'm willing to get onboard.

 

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