Shenmue 4 has to change if there's to be a Shenmue 5

Does Shenmue 4 need to change to make no.5?

  • Yes, I agree

    Votes: 11 26.2%
  • Yes, but not that drastically

    Votes: 22 52.4%
  • No, you're crazy

    Votes: 6 14.3%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No. Don't make a 5th. Finish with no.4

    Votes: 3 7.1%

  • Total voters
    42
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This thread reminded me about Resident Evil. Resident Evil games changed a lot during the years, some people liked the changes and some people hated. Two major changes happened in the series, one major change with RE 4 and the other with RE 7.

Some old school fans didn't like the changes, some even think that the only true RE games is RE 1 till RE Code Veronica, and some fans accepted the changes and liked RE 4 till RE 7, one unique thing about RE games is saving in the typewriter and the save themes that played in this part, they removed that in RE 5 i think, i didn't like it that they remove that.

I accepted a lot of changes in RE, but in the case of Shenmue is different, Shenmue is so unique and different from other games. One beautiful moment in Shenmue III is when Shenhua wake up Ryo, when we leave Shenhua's house Shenhua say bye bye to Ryo, we can even see Ryo a little happy, and this with a beautiful soundtrack, moments like these make Shenmue so special and unique for me, so i really don't want to see Shenmue changing drastically like putting more violence and things like that, i like violent games too but Shenmue is not like that, Ryo only enters in fights when he is trainning with someone, when he wants to help other characters, when someone attack him first and when he really needs to fight someone to get closer to Lan Di.

Can you imagine a Shenmue game where Ryo is with a basebal bat and he can start a fight with everyone? i really don't want Shenmue to transform into something like this.

In the end of the day is Yu Suzuki project and vision, he should be able to complete the story how he sees fit like red said, but in my opinion changing drastically is not the way to go, and i think Yu Suzuki thinks like that too.

I think in Shenmue IV Yu Suzuki will evolve the Shenmue experience, he will improve a lot of things and add new things like he did in Shenmue III, but i don't think he will change Shenmue drastically, i just know that Shenmue needs to stay like Shenmue. šŸ˜Š
That's a very good point about Resident Evil and it makes me wonder if any games have gone 4 games without any major changes. FF and DQ change with each entry. Sonic and Mario have both changed. It depends on the genre of course but most games change when they need to. There also can't be that many games with a continuous story that last as long as Shenmue is aiming for, which of course makes changes even more difficult! As you say I'm sure Yu Suzuki is aware of this.

I can't imagine Ryo with a baseball bat. In reference to Yakuza I meant fights with an entire gang in a narrow street that could break shop windows.
 
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That's a very good point about Resident Evil and it makes me wonder if any games have gone 4 games without any major changes. FF and DQ change with each entry. Sonic and Mario have both changed. It depends on the genre of course but most games change when they need to. There also can't be that many games with a continuous story that last as long as Shenmue is aiming for, which of course makes changes even more difficult! As you say I'm sure Yu Suzuki is aware of this.

I can't imagine Ryo with a baseball bat. In reference to Yakuza I meant fights with an entire gang in a narrow street that could break shop windows.
A lot of games series changed over the years. Mario, Sonic, RE, FF, Tomb Raider, God Of War and many others, some changes i accepted and think that the changes were good, and some changes i didn't like it, about that it really depends on the series, but in the case of Shenmue is different for me because Shenmue is really unique.

One of the things i love about Shenmue is this unique and beautiful essence, if you take away everything that makes Shenmue so unique then it will not be so special anymore in my opinion.

I think Yu Suzuki plan is to finish in Shenmue V on PS5, in that time if he don't have other options then he could go with kickstarter again to make Shenmue V, i really think the community will help a lot so we can see the last game, i'm sure i will help if this happen.

I think improving the Shenmue experience is the way to go, not changing drastically but improving what we already have, and add new things too. Shenmue III added a lot of things for the series. In Shenmue III i like the new jobs and ways to make money, i like trainning, i like collecting herbs, i like the food system, the only thing i didn't like about this system is that it goes down really fast, i think they need to adjust just this in the food system.

For me is like this, improving what we already have and add new things.
 
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Series tend to change to adept to the changing tastes of the gaming main stream. That is unfortunate but cannot be avoided in a profit driven industry. But Shenmue should not be affect by that. if another game is not another option Yu-san should look into another medium to finish the storyline. Even a novel would be much better than turning Shenmue into another average and bland 3d person open worldish game with meaning less sidequests, meaningless rpg Elements and so one.

That would not be Shenmue anymore. The appeal of Shenmue (at least for me) is to have game that simulates a living and breathing world. It is the antithesis of the sandbox game genre of today. Where you can to do everything. But everything you do has not a deeper meaning. You are not a part of the world.

For future entries of the series it would be better to improve the simulation aspect. To make the world even more interactive. It would be great if they would improve the "social" aspects of the game.
 
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Look at how DC Comics' movies turned out by making them too dark just to distinguish itself from Marvel's comedy. No way. Superhero movies (DC or Marvel) need to have that balance. Not lean too much to one extreme. DC is finally getting it with its latest releases with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam.
 
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They need to make the battle system a lot more fun. Also, it would help extremely if they tackled the aspects of gameplay that made a lot of people feel, like they were doing chores.

I loved that in Shenmue, but if we are to bring more people in, the game needs to be fun throughly. A lot of action and interesting things happening all the time. And no chores.
 

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Yu Suzuki may have a tough time convincing a publisher to pay for it based on 3's sales.
We never got the final figures from YSNet/Deep Silver. They may be waiting for GOG/Steam sales before releasing them.
All we know is what the head of Embracer Group told us, that it sold "fine" for a "niche" product.
There's nothing there saying they or another publisher wouldn't back a Shenmue 4.

Anyway, with all this new merch coming out as well as an anime, I'd like to believe that a Shenmue 4 is pretty much already on the cards. A matter of when, not if.
 
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They need to make the battle system a lot more fun. Also, it would help extremely if they tackled the aspects of gameplay that made a lot of people feel, like they were doing chores.

I loved that in Shenmue, but if we are to bring more people in, the game needs to be fun throughly. A lot of action and interesting things happening all the time. And no chores.
Yeah fighting needs to be shored up. I really miss the dodge button from S1+2. Perhaps it's just me, but it takes longer to double 'tap' the joystick to have ryo move to the side or back. Also intercepting/ parrying away enemy moves would be nice. Of course on top of throw moves.
 
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We never got the final figures from YSNet/Deep Silver. They may be waiting for GOG/Steam sales before releasing them.
All we know is what the head of Embracer Group told us, that it sold "fine" for a "niche" product.
There's nothing there saying they or another publisher wouldn't back a Shenmue 4.

Anyway, with all this new merch coming out as well as an anime, I'd like to believe that a Shenmue 4 is pretty much already on the cards. A matter of when, not if.
I'm with you man, I want to believe that too. I just worry when the publisher who probably paid less than 50% of the S3's costs (Suzuki stated that S3 cost around 20million - 7.18 from crowdfunding, money from epic and shibuya productions and then DS's money) states it did fine. They pay as little as that and then take, presumably, the majority of the profits but it's still only fine? Granted, the crowdfunding money is 81000 sales 'lost' for them, but that deal should be ripping off YSNet and DS should be laughing all the way to the bank. It's a bit worrying that they said it didn't and they aren't, especially if they are going to be paying 100% of S4.

I hope all of the above is inaccurate though and they are just waiting for steam's sales to fade after Christmas before announcing S4.
 
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The fundamentals of the Shenmue formula are solid, and changing it significantly to suit the masses seems like a fool's errand. What they should do is perfect what's already there, as Yakuza has done over the years (without reusing the same setting over and over). Yakuza 1 had a good story and atmosphere but the gameplay was bad. As YS Net had to start from scratch with Shenmue III, they're basically in the same boat -- they have the foundations of something great -- they just need the opportunity to build on it.

To me it's about improving and balancing the individual ingredients that make up the Shenmue soup. For example, in Shenmue IV, if the combat was better (rework the combos to reduce lag, add throw moves) and more frequent (not Yakuza-frequent, but roughly a new encounter every 1 or 2 days or something), then IV would already be much better than III, even if everything else stayed roughly the same.

But then, if you improved one more thing on top of that, like the depth of the main NPCs, or the story pacing, all of a sudden you have a significantly better game, something that would score much more favourably with reviewers and the like.

Add the ability to warp/fast travel on the map
No, too far :coffee:

^Getting bored of (for example) running through the main strip in Niaowu is a level design failing, in my opinion. Brute-forcing that by allowing fast travel would damage the exploration and general feel of a Shenmue game.
 
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The fundamentals of the Shenmue formula are solid, and changing it significantly to suit the masses seems like a fool's errand. What they should do is perfect what's already there, as Yakuza has done over the years (without reusing the same setting over and over). Yakuza 1 had a good story and atmosphere but the gameplay was bad. As YS Net had to start from scratch with Shenmue III, they're basically in the same boat -- they have the foundations of something great -- they just need the opportunity to build on it.

To me it's about improving and balancing the individual ingredients that make up the Shenmue soup. For example, in Shenmue IV, if the combat was better (rework the combos to reduce lag, add throw moves) and more frequent (not Yakuza-frequent, but roughly a new encounter every 1 or 2 days or something), then IV would already be much better than III, even if everything else stayed roughly the same.

But then, if you improved one more thing on top of that, like the depth of the main NPCs, or the story pacing, all of a sudden you have a significantly better game, something that would score much more favourably with reviewers and the like.


No, too far :coffee:

^Getting bored of (for example) running through the main strip in Niaowu is a level design failing, in my opinion. Brute-forcing that by allowing fast travel would damage the exploration and general feel of a Shenmue game.
I like those ideas and I agree that allowing fast travel in Niaowu would be bad design but only because it would make stamina redundant. Having said that fast travel was allowed in Bailu from Shenhua's house and you could fast forward time, so I could see fast travel make it's way into S4.

Apologies for banging the same drum over and over, but I don't really understand the worry that changes will ruin the game. As long as Ryo can be Ryo in a highly interactive and immersive world, and Yu Suzuki has included everything he wanted, why wouldn't it be a good thing to make it accessible as possible to a new audience?

I was having this same conversation with people on twitter about the remake of dark souls on ps5. The developer thought of adding an easy mode but chose not to add it in the end. Fans thought that kept it's purity while I think reducing accessibility is odd (even more so in Shenmue that needs more fans!) as it's not a mode you need to use, you are not forced to use it and adding something you would ignore entirely does not change your experience. For a new fan though, it might improve their experience. I don't think the Shenmue series can survive another round of potential new fans being put off by critics saying its gameplay is prehistoric.

Take the time fast forward option in Shenmue 2 for example, you can fast forward time after being told the wulinshu is the library or you can enjoy the area until the following day. I replayed Shenmue 2 for the millionth time recently and I was happy to use it as I was getting bored of carrying books and just wanted to further the story. You could argue that ruins the atmosphere but actually it's just taking different players into consideration. That feature would have had its critics from fans at the beginning, but who can deny its usefulness now? Shenmue 4 needs that approach to bring in new fans.

Should this once incredibly innovative product be forced into an ever smaller box with no manoeuvrability for innovation within itself for reasons other than the budget? If the answer to that question is 'Yes' I'm not convinced this series will make it past no.4.
 
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Change is also very difficult 3 games in I'd say, when the development budget isn't going to be anything like the first two games.

Changing up the game/systems = money that could be spent elsewhere gone. So it is a balance between polishing off the good systems we have and maybe adding some new ones in.
 
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Change is also very difficult 3 games in I'd say, when the development budget isn't going to be anything like the first two games.

Changing up the game/systems = money that could be spent elsewhere gone. So it is a balance between polishing off the good systems we have and maybe adding some new ones in.
I absolutely agree that this is the most sensible option for a successful series, but would minimal changes and a more expensive $60-70 game = more sales for Shenmue 4? Keep in mind the negative headlines from critics that complained that 3 wasn't the end. In addition, the graphics will likely stick out more against the competition as well.

If 4's plan can't be innovative enough to bring in new fans I think it should be the last game, instead of killing off the chance of a 5th.

It's not ideal, I just can't see why new fans would join the series for the 4th game in a sequential story with no ending and few improvements.

I want to be very very wrong in all of the above, of course, so I'll stop with the negativity now and keep watching the below to keep my enthusiasm up haha. It's still so good :)
 
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I absolutely agree that this is the most sensible option for a successful series, but would minimal changes and a more expensive $60-70 game = more sales for Shenmue 4? Keep in mind the negative headlines from critics that complained that 3 wasn't the end. In addition, the graphics will likely stick out more against the competition as well.

If 4's plan can't be innovative enough to bring in new fans I think it should be the last game, instead of killing off the chance of a 5th.

It's not ideal, I just can't see why new fans would join the series for the 4th game in a sequential story with no ending and few improvements.

I want to be very very wrong in all of the above, of course, so I'll stop with the negativity now and keep watching the below to keep my enthusiasm up haha. It's still so good :)
It depends on what the wider strategy is. If it's a case of games and shed loads or merch to milk the fans to fund future games then I'd suggest changes might be minimal. But we also have to keep in mind Shenmue III sets the basis for a Shenmue 4. Polish off those systems and add in some incremental improvements (much like Shenmue II did on the Shenmue I model) and you'd be along the right lines.

Also Cedric has stated publicly they'd want a larger budget for Shenmue 4. I'm not sure if that will happen but if it did then it would put Shenmue 4 in a strong position if they nail the story telling.
 

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I believe that Yu Suzuky doesnt need to change Shenmue 4's gameplay mechanics to attract new players and a wider audience; that will be a lot of work and i think it will not pay of; specially considering that Shenmue is a squeled game. I believe that the team needs to improve Shenmue allround but the main focus should be in the following order; Story: Shenmue 4's story needs to be engaging, emotional and mysterious but at the same time needs to start making some major revelations about the allround plot and its main protagonists.

Character Development:
Shenmue 4 needs to bring back characters with more depth and emotional involvement in Ryo's journey and in their personal backgrounds.
If Shenmue 4 turns out to have a similar budget to Shenmue 3 then I believe it is possible to at least have two new well developt characters in the game.

Martial Arts:
I believe that Martial is one of the key elements that can bring new players to the franchise.
If they can improve upon Shenmue 3's combat and make it more fluid, more reponsive; also improve the AI; the rag doll physics and add in the throw moves; then it is possible that it could impress the reviewers and captivate new players.
If possible they should also improve Ryo's martial training mini games by trying to make them less simplistic more fun and more challenging.
A great example in this case is the Bamboo cutting mini game in Ghost of Tsushima.
1606046432857.png
Its concept is simple but it provides a good challenge for the player and that is what ultimatly ends up making it fun.
I can see this mini game being easily impleneted in Shenmue 4 with Ryo having to break multiple wooden boards with is hands or his fists.
"Who knows maybe it was even Ryo's wood cutting mini game that may have inspired this one in Ghost of Tsushima."

For me these are the major areas that need to be improved in order to make Shenmue 4 a great game both for the fans and new players alike.

If they can improve the major areas above and still have some budget that they can use in other areas; then they should try also to improve the food system and make it more well balanced and also introduce some new mini games and jobs.

I believe that if they use the resources that they already have available and improve upon them that they can make a great Shenmue 4 game that could make a considerable profit and still maintain Shenmue's essence and please both longtime fans and new players also.
 
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Apologies for banging the same drum over and over, but I don't really understand the worry that changes will ruin the game. As long as Ryo can be Ryo in a highly interactive and immersive world, and Yu Suzuki has included everything he wanted, why wouldn't it be a good thing to make it accessible as possible to a new audience?

I was having this same conversation with people on twitter about the remake of dark souls on ps5. The developer thought of adding an easy mode but chose not to add it in the end. Fans thought that kept it's purity while I think reducing accessibility is odd (even more so in Shenmue that needs more fans!) as it's not a mode you need to use, you are not forced to use it and adding something you would ignore entirely does not change your experience. For a new fan though, it might improve their experience
I am not agree.

The developers have their vision of the game.

I ll take Demon soul as an exemple it would be easier to explain my point of view.
Darksoul / Demon Soul, the experience of the game is its difficulty, the player have to die a lot to improve their skills.
The game would have lot of less interes if you kill all the bosses after 2 tries.
And I said that despite the fact their games a way to hard for me :)

Same thing for the last film of Martin Scorsese, the Irishman (very good film btw).
Lot of people find it to slow and to long (I dont agree on that but anyway), but scorsese won' t make a shorter version of the film.

To come back to Shenmue, I can't imagine the game with some little dots on the mini map to tell you where to go.
I can't imagine a fast travel option you can use all the time ect ....
And when you give an option to the player, he ll probably use it. I start Zelda BOTW with the idea that I ll not use the fast travel , but after 5 or 10 hours I started to use it .....
 
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I replayed Shenmue 2 for the millionth time recently and I was happy to use it as I was getting bored of carrying books and just wanted to further the story. You could argue that ruins the atmosphere but actually it's just taking different players into consideration. That feature would have had its critics from fans at the beginning, but who can deny its usefulness now? Shenmue 4 needs that approach to bring in new fans.
That's the thing -- every Shenmue game has let you area-jump at the beginning of the day. Shenmue II introduced time-skipping, and Shenmue III took it even further with an instant time-skip/area-jump button after you've discovered your next objective.

To add fast travel in a game like Shenmue, when it takes maybe 3 minutes to get from one side of the map to the other, just seems unnecessary. I mean, among all the complaints I've heard about S3, a lack of fast travel barely enters the radar. People occasionally lament the layout of Niaowu, but again, that's a level design problem.

In general I'm all for modern conveniences: controls, difficulty levels, etc. Some people literally wanted the old D-pad controls in S3, and disliked the lack of loading screens...to me that's bonkers. I wanted Shenmue to get with the times.

However, in a deliberately-paced game all about exploration, little details, and moving to an in-game clock, letting the player skip to wherever they want, whenever they want, would undoubtedly dilute the impact of what YS and co are aiming for. And for what? To fix an issue that doesn't even seem to be much of an issue at all. I'd much rather them focus on the stuff that counts like improving the combat, the translation, etc.
 
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I agree that Shenmue 4 needs to be a little different to attract new players and secure a Shenmue 5. But I wouldn't be as radical as you are.

Shenmue 3 was very fan-oriented. Not necessarily a bad thing. But yeah, to enjoy Shenmue 3, imho, it was almost mandatory to play the first 2 Shenmue. I think a newcomer might be completely like "wtf?" because the game and its mechanics are so differents that we are used to.

Maybe change again the battle system. Make something more accessible, a bit like Sleeping Dogs or Batman Arkham. So that you could have a game that stays true to martial arts, that still need you to be careful to dodge, attack, counter-attack etc... but is more accessible and more enjoyable for a newcomer. And also, might be easier to create.

For the Stamina system, make it more like Zelda BotW style, so when it's empty, it just goes back up on it's own pretty quickly.

Maybe (I insist on "maybe") make it quicker to look at stuffs (open drawers, take objects etc...).

Make job make more money, to have quicker gratification, maybe also.

But I wouldn't change much more from it. It needs to stay Shenmue, and not become a Yakuza-like set in the Shenmue universe. With these changes, you already go away pretty much from Shenmuesque features and heart and make it appealing to the general audience, but not too much either, and staying close to what Shenmue is. The mundane life a young guy trying to get better at martial arts to avenge his father and learn the truth surrounding his death.
 
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That's the thing -- every Shenmue game has let you area-jump at the beginning of the day. Shenmue II introduced time-skipping, and Shenmue III took it even further with an instant time-skip/area-jump button after you've discovered your next objective.

To add fast travel in a game like Shenmue, when it takes maybe 3 minutes to get from one side of the map to the other, just seems unnecessary. I mean, among all the complaints I've heard about S3, a lack of fast travel barely enters the radar. People occasionally lament the layout of Niaowu, but again, that's a level design problem.

In general I'm all for modern conveniences: controls, difficulty levels, etc. Some people literally wanted the old D-pad controls in S3, and disliked the lack of loading screens...to me that's bonkers. I wanted Shenmue to get with the times.

However, in a deliberately-paced game all about exploration, little details, and moving to an in-game clock, letting the player skip to wherever they want, whenever they want, would undoubtedly dilute the impact of what YS and co are aiming for. And for what? To fix an issue that doesn't even seem to be much of an issue at all. I'd much rather them focus on the stuff that counts like improving the combat, the translation, etc.

As a fan I agree with your suggestions, but I'm not trying to look at this from a fan's perspective. I want to imagine a new fan's point of view. A new fan buying the game off of good reviews may not know what has changed and may not be interested in what came before it.

Do small changes improve reviewer scores to bring in new fans? Probably not. The fan in me cringes even saying this, but what would need to be done to increase the critics metascore of a potential Shenmue 4?

Improve the action and allow for freedom of pacing and settings. Existing fans don't need to go the fast route, new fans don't need to take the slow route. Give everything realistic purpose or don't, be consistent one way or the other. Instead of attempting a large game with a small budget, focus on making it as detailed and enjoyable as possible without worrying about it's size and include likeable and recognizable characters. Avoid wasting time on underdeveloped one and done characters i.e. replica fat goofball sparing partners and old wise masters. Give us Shuei and Guixing in addition to Ren, Shenhua, Lan Di and Niao Sun and you have an entire games worth of content.

If Shenmue 4 was the end, you could ignore new fans almost entirely as the end of the series would likely attract enough interest, but for a 5th or 6th, Shenmue 4 has to appeal to new fans.
 
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....
And when you give an option to the player, he ll probably use it. I start Zelda BOTW with the idea that I ll not use the fast travel , but after 5 or 10 hours I started to use it .....
I don't think fast travel in that instance is a bad thing though, it's good game design that realizes that desires of the gamer change as you play. More importantly it respects the gamer's time giving them options. Why knowingly omit a feature that people will want later in the game? I am the same with fast travel in Ghost of Tsushima. Sometimes I love nothing more than riding the horse from place to place but other times I'd rather play something else than be forced to ride the entire way across the island.

I can't say I've ever felt that frustration from a Shenmue game based on their size, but they get any larger it's not a bad idea.
 
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No, too far :coffee:

^Getting bored of (for example) running through the main strip in Niaowu is a level design failing, in my opinion. Brute-forcing that by allowing fast travel would damage the exploration and general feel of a Shenmue game.
Then you don't have to use it. Adding QoL adjustments for players that want them won't take away from players that don't. It doesn't fundamentally alter the design because the game is still played the same way.
That's the thing -- every Shenmue game has let you area-jump at the beginning of the day. Shenmue II introduced time-skipping, and Shenmue III took it even further with an instant time-skip/area-jump button after you've discovered your next objective.

To add fast travel in a game like Shenmue, when it takes maybe 3 minutes to get from one side of the map to the other, just seems unnecessary. I mean, among all the complaints I've heard about S3, a lack of fast travel barely enters the radar. People occasionally lament the layout of Niaowu, but again, that's a level design problem.

In general I'm all for modern conveniences: controls, difficulty levels, etc. Some people literally wanted the old D-pad controls in S3, and disliked the lack of loading screens...to me that's bonkers. I wanted Shenmue to get with the times.

However, in a deliberately-paced game all about exploration, little details, and moving to an in-game clock, letting the player skip to wherever they want, whenever they want, would undoubtedly dilute the impact of what YS and co are aiming for. And for what? To fix an issue that doesn't even seem to be much of an issue at all. I'd much rather them focus on the stuff that counts like improving the combat, the translation, etc.

I kind of agree with you here. I get that it does come down to level design (of which Shenmue is generally very good at) and that Shenmue isn't an actual open world game where traversing the map would take an inordinate amount of time. I also don't see it as a must have or to address a major complaint anyone had with the series but a nice to ahve among a list of other and more important improvements. I also see it as an extension of where the series is going as S3 already added the ability to warp to a story location and the ability to warp from the start of the day was present in the first game.

I think it depends on the size of the S4 in general. If we look at S2 the ability to have NPC's guide you to a location is like a precursor to a fast travel system. It could even be incorporated in the same way (instead of having Witcher 3 style signposts or whatever other open world games are doing) have Ryo talk to an NPC who says "i'll take you there" and instead of tediously waiting for the NPC to walk at the slowest possible pace like in S2 you just press a button and warp to the destination.

I think we need to remember that people play games differently and allowing (optional) freedom doesn't hurt the games for the people who won't use it, especially if Shenmue wants (or probably needs at this point) to appeal to a wider audience. I think we seem to be in agreement there.

Who knows you may even want to take advantage of such a feature on subsequent playthroughs.
 
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