Yu Suzuki Interview (IGN Japan): Reflections on S3, Plans for S4

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IGN Japan's Esra Krabbe has just published a new interview with Yu Suzuki that was held in mid-March at YS Net.

Yu reflects on Shenmue III, and talks about his ideas and plans for Shenmue IV, if it is able to be made (Yu sounds optimistic he'll have the chance, although there is no concrete confirmation it will happen). He also talks a little about what he'd like to do outside of Shenmue.

Link to intervew (Japanese)
https://jp.ign.com/shenmue-3/43425/interview/iii

Update: an English translation is now ready.

Yu Suzuki Interview: Reflecting on Shenmue III and Future Plans [IGN Japan] | Translation

https://www.phantomriverstone.com/2020/04/yu-suzuki-interview-reflecting-on.html

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ShenSun

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Any chance for a brief summary of the interview switch?

I can see he wants to add quest markers in Shenmue 4. Hopefully the option is there to turn that off lol
 
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Tried reading it through Google Translate but it was largely gibberish so I will wait until we get translation from Switch.

Really don’t like idea of Quest markers and dumbing game down for more casual players, I think that was least of Shenmue 3 problems.

It was encouraging to hear he accepted and heard negative feedback regarding lack of throw moves, stilted facial animation and lack of crowd density and appears to want to fix that in further entries.

I’m really curious to see what he says regarding lack of characterization and story so very much looking forward to reading full interview.
 
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Any chance for a brief summary of the interview switch?
Here's are some of the points mentioned from what I've gone through so far:

- With Shenmue 3 the focus was to make it for the fans, not on profits. If there's a Shenmue 4 Yu would like to make it a game that is appealing to both fans and newcomers but Yu emphasizes this would be done without losing the Shenmue feel.
- One idea is quest markers (these would only be added once you've got hold of the information through exploring)
- Another is to make fast travel / time skip more flexible e.g. sitting down allows you to wait.
- Throw moves will be brought back!
- Facial animations will be improved.
- Increase the number of NPCs walking around a town area.
- Potentially would look to focus on compact areas rather than an "open world"
- Story: would explain a lot of the unanswered mysteries that have come up to date, such as Shenhua's background.
 
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- Story: would explain a lot of the unanswered mysteries that have come up to date, such as Shenhua's background.

:Looks at Shenmue 3:
:Looks back at Yu Suzuki:

"YOU BLEW IT!!!"

In all seriousness, it seems like he's acknowledging a lot of the things which were lacking in Shenmue 3, which is great to hear. And I am hoping his own expectations after making Shenmue 3 have tempered a bit and he can actually deliver on the above - love the man immensely but a lot of what he promised at the beginning of 3's development simply was not able to happen.

I think quest markers would be fine if you dont justify their existence by adding a bunch of trivial side quests - I don't think Shenmue is a series that benefitted from becoming more like a standard action RPG and I would much rather straighten a sign for a shopkeep on the corner than go find a mushroom in a field. I want more of those subtle, missable moments the first two games had in lieu of traditional side quests.

That being said I did rather enjoy being able to train/level up your Kung Fu and moves in a more quantifiable way in Shenmue 3. I think the system can be fine tuned of course but having throw moves back and a more intuitive button layout could lend really well to the combat system.

I'm excited to read the translated article
 
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Wow, there is a lot to unpack there. I'm a little-- apprehensive about this. The Tora-san comment sounds like it won't really please people who want the focus to be on the main story. I'm sure I would find things to enjoy about the game regardless, but the general theme of trying to make Shenmue more fashionable doesn't have me in very high spirits about it.
 
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Not sure what to make of that really. The idea of dumbing the game down to appeal to casual players concerns me a little as I really don’t see Shenmue ever being a game that can appeal to the masses while still maintaining the essence of what makes it Shenmue. He only seems to talk about quest markers specifically, but his comments suggest there are other changes he has in mind.

I like the idea of exploring Ren’s background a little more as he’s one of my favorite characters and was really neglected in S3, but Yu’s comments don’t fill me with confidence that the overarching story is planned to progress at a greater pace in the next installment.

Improved facial animations and throws would be a welcome addition, but personally, these things are pretty low on the list of things I’d like to see improved.

Interesting that he says that the next game could be produced around 1.5 times faster than Shenmue 3, which assuming he’s counting the entirety of production time for Shenmue 3 (2015-2019), suggests that Shenmue 4 would take at least 2 years to make.
 
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This is potentially encouraging but I’m hesitant about Suzuki blindly chasing trends when he admittedly doesn’t play games. As has been mentioned, waypoints are hardly something that would improve S3 and something that many games (Witcher 3, Deus Ex, BotW) are designed to work without. Less open areas is definitely a smart idea though.

It’s nice to hear him speak positively about the future and acknowledge criticism of S3 as valid. It’s definitely a step in the right direction but turning new players onto Shenmue in the fourth installment is going to be a hard sell.
 

spud1897

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It just proves that he made what he thought people wanted.

Interesting for Shenmue 4! The question is whether it happens. I think something is happening behind the scenes. Nice interview.
 

Jigen

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It just proves that he made what he thought people wanted.

Interesting for Shenmue 4! The question is whether it happens. I think something is happening behind the scenes. Nice interview.
True, but Shenmue 3 was also certainly unfinished I think Shenmue 4 will have to be less ambitious, with less resources.
 

spud1897

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True, but Shenmue 3 was also certainly unfinished I think Shenmue 4 will have to be less ambitious, with less resources.
Could well be. It seems Yu is understanding of that.

Either way it's a positive interview and hopefully it leads to Shenmue 4 down the line.
 
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I am curious if question was asked on current state of Ysnet studio and what if any work is being done by team or has it been largely abandoned. That could give us insight into a potential Shenmue 4 and if it’s starting at all.
 
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I am curious if question was asked on current state of Ysnet studio and what if any work is being done by team or has it been largely abandoned. That could give us insight into a potential Shenmue 4 and if it’s starting at all.
Not really anything about YS Net or actual work in progress. He does say he'd like to work on other new games going forward (in addition to Shenmue).
 
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Not really anything about YS Net or actual work in progress. He does say he'd like to work on other new games going forward (in addition to Shenmue).

Thanks for clarification, that’s pretty much what I got from online translation. I like most assume most of the Ysnet team were contracted for Shenmue 3, so I wonder what it means for longevity of the studio if no active work is being undertook in next few months.

This is on the assumption development wrapped up in November-December and most of the DLC content seemed largely complete if the hacked files were any indication.

I hope Suzuki’s positivity is an indicator a deal is close to being struck or at least discussions are still happening on a forth game.
 
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Awesome news!! So happy to see an interview that directly mentions SIII improvements and Shenmue IV!!! Yu has to be pretty positive that he'll be able to make Shenmue IV if he is talking so openly about what he wants to improve etc IMO. I'm sure stuff is going on behind the scenes.

In regards to the interview content itself, that's some juicy stuff and it hits the nail on the head for me! Always reassuring to see that the developers/creators improvements line up with those of the community/fans (so relieved to read that SIV would explain some of the mysteries that we've been sitting on for 20 years lol).

Thanks once again Switch for the great work! Very much looking forward to your full translation!
 

Sonoshee

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Here's are some of the points mentioned from what I've gone through so far:

- With Shenmue 3 the focus was to make it for the fans, not on profits. If there's a Shenmue 4 Yu would like to make it a game that is appealing to both fans and newcomers but Yu emphasizes this would be done without losing the Shenmue feel.
- One idea is quest markers (these would only be added once you've got hold of the information through exploring)
- Another is to make fast travel / time skip more flexible e.g. sitting down allows you to wait.
- Throw moves will be brought back!
- Facial animations will be improved.
- Increase the number of NPCs walking around a town area.
- Potentially would look to focus on compact areas rather than an "open world"
- Story: would explain a lot of the unanswered mysteries that have come up to date, such as Shenhua's background.

All of these I'm very happy with except for the quest marker idea. I loved being able to find my own way around in Shenmue as opposed to being shown. I know Yu said it would be after you've got hold of the information through exploring anyway, but still. I'd love to find my own way all the time. That's one of the things I loved about the series. Hopefully it can be deactivated through an option menu.

Also, it sounds like Shenmue 3 was really just a game to give to the fans after 18 years of waiting so that they could enjoy that Shenmue charm/world again and that the story would continue properly in 4 and potentially, 5. Just a thought.
 
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During the interview, Suziki mentioned that Shenmue III eventually got $20 million to spend on development, 10 times larger than he initially expected.
 
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All of these I'm very happy with except for the quest marker idea. I loved being able to find my own way around in Shenmue as opposed to being shown. I know Yu said it would be after you've got hold of the information through exploring anyway, but still. I'd love to find my own way all the time. That's one of the things I loved about the series. Hopefully it can be deactivated through an option menu.

Also, it sounds like Shenmue 3 was really just a game to give to the fans after 18 years of waiting so that they could enjoy that Shenmue charm/world again and that the story would continue properly in 4 and potentially, 5. Just a thought.

Same, quest markers are an awful idea, we risk to lose all the uniqueness of the series, since this is basically what other open world games do, by treating the players like some babies who can't do anything on their own without showing everything at their faces.
 
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