Shenmue Dojo Interviews: Ryan Payton

Feb 3, 2019
Sydney Australia
I'll echo @orient and Ryan. I've said it before, I'll say it again. For what they pulled off on the budget they pulled it off for, -- excuse my language -- but it's a fucking miracle this game exists at the level it did.

And not only a miracle that it exists, but it actually ran pretty well too. It wasn't a broken mess like some recent big budget games (not to shit on Cyberpunk, but Cyberpunk clearly had a higher budget and more time poured into it and look how well that went just performance speaking) actually ran pretty decently, was not a bug ridden mess and delivered the full fat Shenmue experience. That's no easy feat to pull off and I will always applaud them for it.

I'd echo Ryan's comments and it's probably the same thing I've already said numerous times here on this forum. It was probably too ambitious for the budget it had, but it's Yu Suzuki. I wouldn't expect any less from him but to push the limits and stretch the budget as far as it could go. It sounds like Ryan help to light a fire underneath his ass and bring back the old Yu Suzuki that we knew and loved.

I think, as Ryan said in this part, it was probably just too ambitious for its own good and maybe should have reigned in a little bit and focused more on narrative. But then again, if it had been that game, there still would have been disappointment.

Sure, we can sit here and say in hindsight that a smaller game would have been more focused and narrowed down, but lets be honest, people would have been pissed off the same had it been a smaller game because it wouldn't have been the "full fat Shenmue experience" they wanted it to be. Hence why it is a miracle that game exists at the level it does on the budget it had.

Interesting note in this interview that caught my ear. Good to know they're fully aware of the fighting system issues and interesting that they just seemingly ran out of time to fully iron it out. I'd like to see how that system progressed and just how buggy it was before release. The inference I got is that the battle system came a long way through development, so it would be interesting to see how it progressed through development.

Anyways, good interview. Some good insights. All three parts were good and it was nice to get some further insight.

On another note.

I still think Shenmue IV is gonna be another Shenmue II. I stll think it's gonna be a much more action packed game that has more in common with Shenmue II. I think now that they have the systems in place, it's just a matter of refining some stuff and focusing on the story a little more and you'll have another winner. But I think I'm more excited for Shenmue IV because we don't know what is coming next.

Or at least we know less now more than ever before, so I'm excited to see what is still to come. SIII really was the getting to know Shenhua chapter to me. It was the cool down chapter coming from the action packed Shenmue II. Which leaves me excited for Shenmue IV because it will probably have more in common with SII.
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Jul 28, 2018
It was also good to get confirmation that there's still a dev team at YS Net and they're working on things.


Excuse me...gorgeous
Jul 29, 2018
Favourite title
Currently playing
Skies of Arcadia
Great content as always.

I think its worth mentioning how the Shenmue community is quite blessed to have such good interviewers. These videos have a very approachable, warm tone - everything feels more like a friendly conversation than an awkward interrogation.

It's really eye-opening when you look at the previous Shenmue Dojo website at the time of Shenmue 3's announcement. I recently combed through a thread where the most popular concern was that the game wouldn't have all that secondary content Ryan describes (side quests, minigames etc) and that the scale would be too small to provide a proper Shenmue experience. Now the popular opinion is that the game should have dialled back on the worldbuilding secondary stuff, and instead offer a smaller scale to advance the story.

I don't think there was any correct way Shenmue 3 could have been made: it was destined to disappoint a portion of the fandom no matter what it chose to do because you're dealing with 20-year old expectations and thousands of opinions of what Shenmue 3 should have been.
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Aug 27, 2018
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Shenmue II
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Yakuza 3 Remastered
A fascinating set of interviews, thanks so much for doing these! There's a lot to take on board here.
Jan 15, 2021
UK, Italia, 日本
Currently playing
This was an absolutely fascinating set of interviews and they were fantastically conducted. Kudos! I listened to the entire Dojo podcast series back to back yesterday while on a long walk in the snow, just after finishing Shenmue III for the first time.

Exactly as others have said, these interviews have really validated my own thoughts that I had coming away from the game, and I'm more excited than ever at the prospect and likelihood of a Shenmue IV based on the foundation the team have built.

I adored my time with Shenmue III and feel a huge absence now that it's finished – that time spent immersed in the world with Ryo and Shenhua was truly special and the entire team should be commended. I even felt compelled to write my first Steam review – it's here for anyone who cares to see what this die-hard fan thought!

Many thanks again for the fantastic work on this dojo, which I've now rediscovered after memories of its green state in the early 2000s!