Potential Shenmue 3 Retcons?

Joined
Oct 31, 2019
As there are a lot of threads discussing the story and how it was handled I wanted to start a thread specifically taking a look at how some the ways Shenmue 3 may have retconned or simply cut previously established story ideas.

It's a known fact that Suzuki has changed the story a lot over the years, even if he's kept the overall plot relatively the same from the original treatment. I'm curious if you guys have any thoughts or additions on possible story changes the Shenmue 3 may have permanently made. I'm specifically looking at major plot changes not aesthetic changes like Shenhua's clothes or Ryo's bag.

Some examples:
  • Sword of the Seven Stars
    • This is now a dagger
    • Doesn't appear in the opening cutscene
    • Was left as a family heirloom but is provided no more explanation on its importance (other than being a glorified key)
  • Paintings in Shenhua's house
    • No more scary mountains. Considering we are now leaving Guilin at the end of Shenmue 3 this may never be seen again. My hypothesis was on the cut Baisha scenes
    • No more Luoyang painting. Luoyang may still be planned for Shenmue 4
  • Shenmue Tree
    • No additional information on the Shenmue tree at all, it is barely mentioned in the game. Since the story is not going to return to Bailu I don't see how they can exposit on this further
    • Second tree at Ternary Spring. Shenmue 2 implies that the Shenmue tree is special/one of a kind. Is it a normal tree now? Why name the story after it?
  • Mirrors/Treasure
    • Shenmue 3 implies the treasure is monetary. This may be a red herring though.
    • We now know the mirrors were made in 1910 at the end of the Qing dynasty. This was likely planned but Shenmue 2 implies the mirrors are ancient, was this changed?
    • Shenmue 3 ends with them going to the temple for the treasure. If we are indeed on only Chapter 6 has Suzuki excised parts of the story to wrap it up faster?
  • Relief in the cave/Shenhua's father
    • We know that the cave reliefs of the mirrors were worked on since the envoy in 1910. No further explanation was given, are we now to believe they are no longer important to the story?
    • The letter in the cave strongly implies that Mr. Yuan is dead (listen to it again). He is obviously alive and well. Since he exposit's nothing and is basically a glorified McGuffin, I'm not convinced he was always planned in the story.
    • EDIT: The opening of the game makes reference to this. It's possible it was retconned as mention of his illness seems to be pushed aside. However, it's possible it was jut misdirection as well.
  • Chi You Men
    • We were repeatedly told there are 4 leaders of the Chi You Men - There is no indication that anyone other than Lan Di is a leader.
    • Chi You was a legendary adversary to Huang Di, but the story seems focused on the Qing dynasty and relatively modern times
    • Niao Sun was featured as the main antagonist for Shenmue 3 in promo material and interviews, this seems to have been cut
Obviously some of these may be outright debunked in Shenmue 4, but it seems like at least some changes were made prior to or during the development of Shenmue 3.

Any I'm missing?
 
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gladias9

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- Yuanda Zhu telling Ryo that Lan Di is Longsun Zhao (He is told twice in Shenmue 3 what Lan Di's name is and BOTH times he is surprised)

- Tentei (the Chi You Men true leader) is seemingly cut according to Niao Sun in the finale claiming the she is the new leader assuming Lan Di is killed in the fire. Could Ziming Hong be cut as well?

- Just all general mysticism the previous games held. Like you said, the mirrors simply lead to treasure, no flying sword and the Shenmue tree has no relevance..
 
Joined
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Find the proof? It was mentioned in the letter. I'm not sure what this was in reference to.

Mark's missing brother. I thought he would be in shenmue 2 but wasn't.

Guizhang joining Ryo. He was supposed to join Ryo once he has healed. Maybe he's still injured.
 

TwiceFriedRice

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I had a feeling the entire time playing the game that Yu dropped all the mysticism crap because some people complained about it when they were 12 years old back in 2002.

Very disappointing, if that's the case. I mean, I never wanted Shenhua out there casting Firaga or anything, but just a touch of mysticism really added to the mystery of the plot.
 
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I had a feeling the entire time playing the game that Yu dropped all the mysticism crap because some people complained about it when they were 12 years old back in 2002.

Very disappointing, if that's the case. I mean, I never wanted Shenhua out there casting Firaga or anything, but just a touch of mysticism really added to the mystery of the plot.
Unless Shenhua raped that big guy with a goat there's still something defo magical about her, Im wondering what she did to that guy.
 
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The mysterious tiger scroll found in the dojo is gone, although I did find a named move scroll in the ‘key items’ menu which may have replaced it.
 
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Sep 1, 2018
The letter in the cave strongly implies that Mr. Yuan is dead (listen to it again). He is obviously alive and well. Since he exposit's nothing and is basically a glorified McGuffin, I'm not convinced he was always planned in the story


He must have known he was being hunted and wrote the letter believing he was going to be killed, but he was rescued before that happened.
 
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- I'm going to be highly upset if the Chi You Men have been cut down to just Lan-Di and Niao Sun. I HOPE that it really comes down to the other heads simply not caring for Lan-Di either or that After Lan-Di, Niao Sun was next in line to lead once tentei steps down and that whoever brings him both mirrors are granted the title of head. Sadly with how it was written I fear the worst

- I never got that the treasure was strictly of monetary value. It seems more to me that the treasure is something very important that gives the bearer a position of power or control maybe. I'm sure things of monetary value may be with it but I don't think that's the big picture. It could also hold proof that the royal family had off spring they hid away.

- I never saw the discovery of the treasure as the end point personally. I always assumed this will be the rise of a major conflict and the birth of "Chi You" and the conflict it brings would take the remaining chapters of the story.

The main things that definitely seem to have been retconned are: The Sword of Seven Stars, The mirrors being a map, and POSSIBLY the Chi You Men hierarchy.
 
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He must have known he was being hunted and wrote the letter believing he was going to be killed, but he was rescued before that happened.
This makes sense in the context of Shenmue 3 but I don't think Suzuki had it planned out. It seems to me that when Shenmue 2 came out he was supposed to be gone but that got changed along the way.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Shenmue Tree
  • No additional information on the Shenmue tree at all, it is barely mentioned in the game. Since the story is not going to return to Bailu I don't see how they can exposit on this further
  • Second tree at Ternary Spring. Shenmue 2 implies that the Shenmue tree is special/one of a kind. Is it a normal tree now? Why name the story after it?
This may have been something that was lost in translation in S2. If there are multiple shenmue trees and that's taken for granted in S3, then we may have been meant to surmise that when they show a flashback to Shenhua as a baby in S2. If that's the case then there are 3 confirmed shenmue trees: at Shenhua's house, Ternary Spring, and in the flashback.

Mirrors/Treasure
  • Shenmue 3 implies the treasure is monetary. This may be a red herring though.
  • We now know the mirrors were made in 1910 at the end of the Qing dynasty. This was likely planned but Shenmue 2 implies the mirrors are ancient, was this changed?
  • Shenmue 3 ends with them going to the temple for the treasure. If we are indeed on only Chapter 6 has Suzuki excised parts of the story to wrap it up faster?
No one has mentioned Chi You or anything resembling the apocalyptic poem in reference to the mirrors since Master Chen in the first game. It's weird because he says that he heard that story from Yuanda Zhu but when we meet him, he says something totally different. S3 doubles down on the treasure angle.

Also I thought they were heading to the cliff temple where the mirrors were stored and Sunming Zhao first found them? Unless they were very poorly hidden, I doubt that's the same location as the treasure. But this is something that will need to be addressed because if the two form a key then why would they be hidden in the same place?
 
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These posts are very good. I am saddened, deeply saddened that Yu seemed to focus so much on pretty presentation, side stuff to mess around with, fan servicing, and relatively little to no plot fleshing or advancing. I think as a long time superfan of thr series, the story was the most intriguing and fascinating part.... i feel like crying right now
 
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Sep 1, 2018
Its certainly an odd one. In retrospect it kinda feels like Shenmue 3 isnt even following it's own lore anymore.

Yeah I get this impression too. Fans who want burning questions to be answered may become a thorn in Suzuki’s side if not already.
 
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I never got that the treasure was strictly of monetary value. It seems more to me that the treasure is something very important that gives the bearer a position of power or control maybe
I agree. The way it's written though we have no idea what the CYM even want. It's like we're in the middle of Raiders of the Lost Ark and we don't know what the Nazi's even want. Shenmue 3 seems to imply that it is money but this may not actually be a retcon.

It could also hold proof that the royal family had off spring they hid away
I'm partial to this theory. Shenhua is the obvious foreshadowed choice. It also fits with what Yuanda Zhu said about reviving the dynasty. The things working against this theory is that Master Chen gives an alternative theory on what the mirrors do, The lineage would have had to be kept secret for generations, therefore why Shenhua and not her parents? Also, Shenhua says she has memories of Luoyang when she looks at the picture, Luoyang was part of the Tang, not Qing, dynasty; though this could have been retconned now.
I never saw the discovery of the treasure as the end point personally. I always assumed this will be the rise of a major conflict and the birth of "Chi You" and the conflict it brings would take the remaining chapters of the story
I always imagined it being around 3/4 through the story but it would be better if it came in the middle.
 
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I have a possible theory for anyone that need one :
I start wondering if the end of sh2 disc 4 is meant to be canon,
but as a dream recollection, by Ryo, of the events, the night after the cave.
(So, the "overly" mysticism could be symbolic, maybe ?)


Another (more "framing device") theory would be that :
For each instalment, the previous one's ending is subject to alterations.
In that :
Each game's ending is the best one (storytelling-wise) if the story ended there.

A little like if Ryo was telling a bedtime story of his travel.
And, well, each time he pauses it, he does it on a (dreamy) high note.
And, each time he resumes, he goes back to the actual events.


I'm meta-building around all of this.
But, if all else fails :
There's a story that strictly follows the end of shenmue 2.
And there is shenmue 3.


Both are valid, the viewpoint just slided to shenmue3's world.
*Slider's theme plays.*
 
OP
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This may have been something that was lost in translation in S2. If there are multiple shenmue trees and that's taken for granted in S3, then we may have been meant to surmise that when they show a flashback to Shenhua as a baby in S2. If that's the case then there are 3 confirmed shenmue trees: at Shenhua's house, Ternary Spring, and in the flashback.
I always thought it was a different time period. That the flashback is showing the same Shenmue tree centuries in the past. The tree is actually a much smaller model than the one at her house and Shenhua evens says the tree was that big when her grandfather was a kid.

People have hacked the game too and looked at the flashback map, it doesn't resemble Shenhua's house at all. So it may very well be Luoyang or some other place and a different tree but that wouldn't explain how Shenhua got to Bailu, or why the game seems to not draw any attention to the fact that there are multiple trees.
Also I thought they were heading to the cliff temple where the mirrors were stored and Sunming Zhao first found them? Unless they were very poorly hidden, I doubt that's the same location as the treasure. But this is something that will need to be addressed because if the two form a key then why would they be hidden in the same place
It's never clear if the mirrors form a key or a map. Shenmue 3 has a literal paper treasure map so idk. Also, why store the mirrors in the temple where the treasure is? Unless it's like Raiders where the temple they are going to is more like a map room that the mirrors need to be used in to show where the real treasure is hidden (likely somewhere remote)
 
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I posted a thread regarding the purpose of the mirrors because as Iknifaugood states, all mention of them being used to resurect Chi You seems to have been dropped after Shenmue 1. While I suspect that there will be some form of 'pile of gold' treasure, I am convinced that the real treasure is something entirely different and that is what the Chi You Men are after. It is possible that whatever this is will allow for the resurection of Chi You, but at the moment the evidence suggests this may have been retconned. However, the exact role of the mirrors may have changed again in 3. In 2, Zhu said that the two of them combined would form the map to the treasure. Only in 3, we seem to have found a physical map to the treasure. This then leaves us with the question of what exactly they are for. Are they perhaps going to be the key?

My take on Yuan's letter is that, like Iowa, he wrote it because he knew the Chi You Men were coming and expected to die. However, Ryo and co save him before that can happen.
 
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It's never clear if the mirrors form a key or a map. Shenmue 3 has a literal paper treasure map so idk. Also, why store the mirrors in the temple where the treasure is? Unless it's like Raiders where the temple they are going to is more like a map room that the mirrors need to be used in to show where the real treasure is hidden (likely somewhere remote)
The biggest problem by far is with the mirrors. It’s said they form a key that has something to do with the constellations. They also have some kind of magic property since the Phoenix mirror literally shoots a laser that lights torches on fire. Except now in S3 we know that they were created in Bailu village so recently that there are people in the village who were alive when they were created. Ryo literally talks to the descendant of the man who built the magic mirror, who had the blueprints in his house, who worked in the quarry where said magic mechanism was built and it just never fucking comes up. So the mirrors are either now just a key to a treasure or future games are going to have a very hard time explaining this.
 
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