For many fans, the return of Shenmue after a 17-year hiatus was more important than providing a second chance at Lucky Hit. Sure, a lot of us look forward to unraveling mysteries, practicing martial arts, and chatting up locals. Maybe they know some bars where sailors hang out? No, the return of Shenmue meant something more; we will finally see the end of Ryo Hazuki’s journey, and at last have closure. But Shenmue III won’t be the one to bring that closure. According to series creator Yu Suzuki, Shenmue III is only the beginning of the end.
In fact, the denouement of Shenmue III won’t even mark the story’s halfway point. Talking to USgamer, Suzuki was asked if the game would finally see Ryo’s vengeance on antagonist Lan Di. Instead of a straight “no,” Suzuki placed a water bottle on a table and pointed to just below halfway. “Whole story of this bottle, about here,” Suzuki said through a translator. “40 percent.”
And thus the saga … continues
Indeed, Ryo’s story will only be 40% complete by the end of the game — but this was actually already known. Around three years ago, Suzuki hosted an AMA (ask me anything) at Reddit, where he talked game development and, of course, Shenmue. Responding to a question on where the third game fell on his original story timeline, Suzuki replied that the original plan wasn’t just three games, but many.
“There are a total of 11 chapters that make up the whole story,” Suzuki wrote, likely also through a translator. “Over the past 14 years I originally planned for there to 4 or five games to the series. If at all possible, I would still like to realize the full story of 11 chapters.”
This, of course, begs the question: when will the story find its end? It seems that not even Suzuki has an answer to that just yet. However, his team at Ys Net is apparently planning on continuing support for the game after the game’s November launch. Additional content planned for Shenmue III will be “something quest-based, and something action-based,” Suzuki said in the USgamer interview.
Is this a bar where DLC hangs out?
It’s unknown whether the team plans to use the third game as a launchpad for more story content. But what is the likelihood we’ll see the end of the saga, if Shenmue III doesn’t deliver it? We’re not sure, but it doesn’t look good if Suzuki is planning on making more sequels.
After all, it was already a struggle — with millions spent at Kickstarter and multiple delays — to get the third game this far. Plus, let’s not count out the recent Epic Games Story exclusivity controversy. Asking for another chance might be more than what some are willing to pay.
Regardless, Shenmue III is coming to PC on November 19, barring any more delays.