Do you think saving Yuan was always going to be S3's main plot point?

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If the game had released back on the dreamcast, do you think the story of shenmue 3 was going to revolve around searching for Yuan for the most part? We might've seen 2 plot points then with something else happening in Baisha, but I wonder if originally Yuan was meant to have just disappeared completely.

I feel like we still would've searched for Yuan in a similar manner to 3, atleast in the first half of the game. Shenhua wasn't going to just forget about her father, so I don't see that as an option. It isn't out of the ordinary to search for characters in shenmue haha! I wonder if that search would've continued in Baisha and then have some more story after finding him. Still, I'm curious as to whether he was going to be a central plot point :unsure:
 

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I think that Bailu was more likely to be a short stop off rather than the more fleshed out area that it came to be. The way Shenhua described Bailu just doesn't match up with what we got.

Maybe he was originally going to be found in Bailu as one of the stone masons that was kidnapped. After rescuing him Ryo would have continued his journey searching for Lan Di which would have taken him to Niawou, (Shenhua would have continued with him because of the prophecy) he would then have been searching for Lan Di by chasing down the local gangs in Niawou. This would have given more weight to him finding Lan Di at the end of the game. After getting beaten by Lan Di he could then continue his chase. Plus the fact that Niao Sun entered the fray would have added extra drama, by confirming that Lan Di isn't the only Chi You Men boss who cares about the mirrors. This approach would mean that there could have been more of a focus in the second half of revealing some major story points.

Thinking about it, one of the problems of Shenmue 3 was that there was too much focus on Yuan, we spend the whole game looking for him, and get very little pay-off when we do find him.
 
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spud1897

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I dont know. Remember 3/4 discs of the second game is finding Zhu. Basic explanation but you see my point.

The stuff around that was much more fleshed out but traditionally Shenmue games have one over arching goal with other things attached.
 
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Hard to tell. Shenmue circa 2004 with a full SEGA backed budget would of probably been a completely different experience
 
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I think the real question depends on when Shenmue 3 would have been released. Based on this thread by 24Nathan it seems the original story went through a lot of revisions. The original chapter 5 was supposed to be Guilin, but at some point was changed to Baisha. Maybe after Shenmue 2 altered the original story?

I think if we are looking at the original 11 chapter treatment, it seems that what we got in Shenmue 3 was a repurposed version of what we had in Shenmue 2, that is to say looking for Yuanda Zhu. Suzuki looks like he basically wanted to tell the original Suzhou (chapter 4) story and repurposed it through Niaowu. So if we go based on the original story, the elements in Shenmue 2 we got with finding Yuanda Zhu and rescuing him from the Yellow Heads would have been Ryo rescuing Zhu from the CYM in Suzhou (Niaowu) instead. Finding Yuan would have been him trying to fit that plot structure with a new character (since YZ was already found in this version of the story).

It's possible that looking for Yuan was always intended but I always felt that in S2 it heavily implied he had died. However, whose to say that with the original chapter 4 story being pulled into Chapter 2, if S3 had come out on Dreamcast in 2002-2003 that it wouldn't have had a similar subplot of finding Yuan since the story had been changed at that point.

Honestly, it's tough to say. There is a lot in S3 that was clearly planned from decades ago, things that haven't changed much or at all from beta footage and concept art. I also think a lot was changed though, and new ideas were put in as well as plot restructuring over the last ~20 years. IMO, I think the original plot structure of going to Suzhou/Niaowu before going to Bailu works better for pacing purposes. I think some of the pacing/story structure broke with the restructuring and a part of S3 was Suzuki trying to realign it back closer to the 11 chapter version for future installments.
 
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I also got the impression that Yuan was dead, based on the tone of his letter in Shenmue 2. It also made sense because of the parallels it would create (Ryo and Shenhua both losing their fathers and both fathers leaving an ominous letter where they anticipated their deaths). At the risk of sounding blunt, Yuan might as well have died, considering how little we learned about the mirrors, Lan Di, the prophecy, etc, after rescuing him.

I would like to think that Niao Sun would have had a greater role in the story. She boards the same boat to Niawou as Ryo and Shenhua, which is pretty convenient. It seems like she had eyes on them way before Niawou, so it's possible that she would have been introduced a lot earlier in the game. Yu, if I recall correctly, mentioned stuff about forest QTEs in Shenmue 3 with Ryo and Shenhua, so I think it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that they would have taken the langshuishan path to the port area in an 'uncut' version of the game. This could have presented an opening for Niao Sun to be introduced (probably posing as some innocent woman whose lost on the path :ROFLMAO: ).

Yanglang, based on the chapter cards, seems like he was supposed to appear but there a lot of things that happened in Bailu that I'm unsure would have happened if Shenmue 3 was released 15 years ago.

The first is Chai appearing. While this could easily be justified, the fact that Ryo doesn't question how he made it to this remote village in China after his last appearance saw him getting booted into the middle of the ocean makes his appearance a little more questionable. The need to find the tokens to reveal the treasure's location is something I also have my doubts about. The image of the cliff temple looks really similar to the picture in Shenhua's house of the mountains where everyone disappears. The same picture that was removed in Shenmue 3 from her wall and replaced with a generic scroll.
 
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Nope, Yuan made it clear in the letter that he left by his own will, to make Shenhua fulfill her destiny with Ryo.
 
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Impossible to tell. Your question makes me think about the extremely bizarre dialogue between Ryo and Yuan on the boat. The way the colors suddenly change make, as if they were trying to imply a flashback scene makes the scene even weirder than the conversation they are having is on its own.
 
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Nope, Yuan made it clear in the letter that he left by his own will, to make Shenhua fulfill her destiny with Ryo.
I think both are true. Yuan evidently knew the Chi You Men would come for him and left the sword and letter as his legacy to Ryo and Shenhua.

The absolute finality of that letter implies we'll never see him again - whether by his escape or by death.

So I'm fairly certain the "OG Shenmue III" wouldn't have focused on finding Yuan, because as Chaikilla said, his rescue ultimately served so little narrative purpose. I suspect it would've pivoted to bigger things.
 
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When did he do that? Certainly not in Shenmue 2.

In the letter in S2 he says "I'll always watch over you." The Implication of that is from heaven, not the bushes nearby lol
He states in the letter that his work is done and that Shenhua has to go with Ryo, which is why in the 20 years wait not a single Shenmue fan ever thought that he was kidnapped.
 
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He states in the letter that his work is done and that Shenhua has to go with Ryo, which is why in the 20 years wait not a single Shenmue fan ever thought that he was kidnapped.
Yes you're right. I misunderstood your original post. I was thinking that he died from sickness as Shenhua mentioned that he was ill. But yes, in part he did make it sound like he left of his own accord and was not kidnapped. Or at least that he knew his time was coming to an end.
 
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I think the real question depends on when Shenmue 3 would have been released. Based on this thread by 24Nathan it seems the original story went through a lot of revisions. The original chapter 5 was supposed to be Guilin, but at some point was changed to Baisha. Maybe after Shenmue 2 altered the original story?

I think if we are looking at the original 11 chapter treatment, it seems that what we got in Shenmue 3 was a repurposed version of what we had in Shenmue 2, that is to say looking for Yuanda Zhu. Suzuki looks like he basically wanted to tell the original Suzhou (chapter 4) story and repurposed it through Niaowu. So if we go based on the original story, the elements in Shenmue 2 we got with finding Yuanda Zhu and rescuing him from the Yellow Heads would have been Ryo rescuing Zhu from the CYM in Suzhou (Niaowu) instead. Finding Yuan would have been him trying to fit that plot structure with a new character (since YZ was already found in this version of the story).

It's possible that looking for Yuan was always intended but I always felt that in S2 it heavily implied he had died. However, whose to say that with the original chapter 4 story being pulled into Chapter 2, if S3 had come out on Dreamcast in 2002-2003 that it wouldn't have had a similar subplot of finding Yuan since the story had been changed at that point.

Honestly, it's tough to say. There is a lot in S3 that was clearly planned from decades ago, things that haven't changed much or at all from beta footage and concept art. I also think a lot was changed though, and new ideas were put in as well as plot restructuring over the last ~20 years. IMO, I think the original plot structure of going to Suzhou/Niaowu before going to Bailu works better for pacing purposes. I think some of the pacing/story structure broke with the restructuring and a part of S3 was Suzuki trying to realign it back closer to the 11 chapter version for future installments.
Great job, you made some awesome points
 
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I definitely thought Shenhua's stepdad was dead or vanished (as opposed to kidnapped) by the way the letter was written and how Disc 4 of S2 was presented overall.

Still no explanation as to why he wrote the letter and made the giant carvings. Perhaps he simply had heard that stonemasons were being targeted, and assumed he was next, but the letter was pretty cryptic.
 

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I definitely thought Shenhua's stepdad was dead or vanished (as opposed to kidnapped) by the way the letter was written and how Disc 4 of S2 was presented overall.

Still no explanation as to why he wrote the letter and made the giant carvings. Perhaps he simply had heard that stonemasons were being targeted, and assumed he was next, but the letter was pretty cryptic.
I wonder if he knew the thugs were in Bailu before Ryo arrived hence the letter, basically knowing he was on borrowed time. It took a few days for Ryo to get to and Shenhua was 2 days away from home when they met. That's 4 days so he could have gotten word what was happening and then acted.

The carvings I've not a clue. I presume he worked on it with his father as part of the prophecy. I'm convinced Shenhua is an outsider in some respect. Either her parents left her at the village or they were in hiding there, got caught and then killed?

This is a great topic :)
 
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Yeah the carving were never really explained, just kinda there. I wonder what the reason was for constructing them. It's possible he knew the thugs were coming for sure.
 
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I just remembered that the north star flickered on the night that Ryo and Shenhua spent the night in the cave and Shenhua mentioned how it's a sign that something bad is going to happen. Adding this to all the other things we've mentioned so far makes it seem like Yuan was originally meant to die.



The GDC card for Bailu also suggests that Niao Sun was originally supposed to play a role in the Langshuishan/Bailu part of the game.

I wouldn't mind in Shenmue 4 started from the old castle. Either from the Lan Di fight onward to clear up the translation errors made regarding the cliff temple or an entire remaster of the castle segment of the story altogether. Niao Sun had so much potential as a character in 3 if they fleshed her out more.
 
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I definitely thought Shenhua's stepdad was dead or vanished (as opposed to kidnapped) by the way the letter was written and how Disc 4 of S2 was presented overall.

Still no explanation as to why he wrote the letter and made the giant carvings. Perhaps he simply had heard that stonemasons were being targeted, and assumed he was next, but the letter was pretty cryptic.
I believe this to be a retcon, remember the "voices from the stone". It's possible Suzuki didn't have a clear plan for her father at the time of Shenmue 2 since he didn't think the story would continue.

As I said in my earlier post I think how it played out in S3 is a result of him restructuring the story as a result of that.
 
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The way the colors suddenly change make, as if they were trying to imply a flashback scene makes the scene even weirder than the conversation they are having is on its own.
I'm a little surprised by how common it seems for this scene to be misunderstood. Initially Ryo and Yuan are talking on the boat 'in real-time,' let's say. The camera also works its way along the boat to show the other characters decompressing, at the same time. After that, Ryo works his way up to the top deck to see Shenhua. They communicate non-verbally. At this point, he recalls the rest of his conversation with Yuan in a flashback while turning out toward the scenery in the background. It frames the conversation in a more dynamic way than just having two characters stand in front of each other the whole time, and shifting camera angles.


He states in the letter that his work is done and that Shenhua has to go with Ryo, which is why in the 20 years wait not a single Shenmue fan ever thought that he was kidnapped.
I didn't necessarily think he was kidnapped, but I did think there was meant to be a bit of a mystery surrounding his disappearance, and that it wouldn't conclude that thread with just, 'Well, he belongs to the ether now.' Whether or not that originally meant he was going to be kidnapped is anyone's guess, I suppose.

I sort of wonder if the carvings in the cave were something that was supposed to come up much later in the story, or not at all, though. I think a lot of things at the end of Shenmue II are potentially suspect. Just the shear volume of information dump between Ryo and Shenhua, in hindsight, feels like it could have been meant to try to pull in a lot of things that might have initially been spread out over more of the story. It's still possible that the carvings become more relevant later on, though.
 
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I still wonder who it was that "stayed the night before" in the crag where Ryo and Shenhua took turns to sleep.
I can't see Lan Di walking up mountain paths when he had a chopper.
 
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