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

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Oct 31, 2019
This is an interesting interview, I did the google translate thing, but I'm awaiting the official translation to see what nuance it adds.

I like that he thinks of S3 almost as a reboot and that he is confident S4 will be a better game because it will build off of it. This interview does build my fears by giving me the impression that Suzuki is more engineer minded and interested in exploring new ideas and gameplay than he is in telling a good story or realistically completing Shenmue. I think this mindset really clarifies what he was thinking with S3.

It just seems like he isn't that interested in Shenmue really and would rather do something else. He wants to continue for the fans, but if his heart isn't in it than I dont know.

At least he seems optimistic about S4 which gets my cynical self at least a little excited.
 
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The sense I got was that he was potentially talking mostly about having a system that identifies landmarks, particular shops, and differentiates between main quests and story quests, but I didn't feel like he was suggesting that there would be a way to turn them off. Just that he would hope to implement them in a way that felt natural for Shenmue. Honestly, I'm trying to have faith, but I feel like these things could end up not really serving anyone.



He talks about this a fair amount in conjunction with having more narrow streets. He mentions having something the size of Niaowu, but with four times the density. He also mentions packing the streets with people, in fairly narrow environments, and having it still be easy to navigate, which is one of the technical challenges that excites him. I don't think it's about aiding the main story, at least. He talks about focusing more on side stories, and having chapters that play out like episodes of Otoko wa Tsuraiyo:

Basically, having an interesting, self contained chapter story, and focusing less on the overarching story.
Sounds like Yakuza
 
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Sounds like Yakuza
Yeah, that pretty perfectly encapsulates all of my fears, right there. I suppose I'm reasonably confident that Yu Suzuki's take on Yakuza would be more to my tastes, but-- I don't know.
 

Araviel

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Quest markers aren't a bad idea. It's all about how you design them. But considering Shenmue 3 was the game with big red markers on herbs and drawers that you cant toggle off... yeah.

Also if the budget truly ended up being 20 millions as a whole, it gives me even less sympathy for the end result.

The markers on the herbs were a God send. Literally. In day light not intrusive, at night time chasing those last ones... Gold worth. For the drawers, sure, would like to toggle them off.

Considering all the extra costs with marketing, actors and various rent I'd say it's pretty impressive if that's the lot. Imagine what could have been with more... oh well. SIV it is, hopefully.
 

spud1897

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I hope this talk of a smaller world does not just mean "Shenmue: The Telltale game". I don't care how much I enjoy the series or story, if the option is to eschew the gameplay I will not support the release, I'll just watch it on YouTube.
I wouldn't worry. If the world is the size of Shenmue 1 but really goes to town on the detail and story I'm undoubtedly in.

Tbh I'm in for any continuation
 

Jigen

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I wouldn't worry. If the world is the size of Shenmue 1 but really goes to town on the detail and story I'm undoubtedly in.

Tbh I'm in for any continuation
I'm all in for a Shenmue I like experience for sure just keep the Shenmue aspects alive in the gameplay, that's all I wish.
 
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He does say that he intends to talk about Shenhua's origins, and more about Ren's background
Ren on a horse!

the focus would be more on subquests that developing the interpersonal relationships of the townspeople
I just couldn't give less of a shit about stuff like this, the FF7 remake stretches itself to near unbearable lengths with bullshit like this. If this is the kind of game that you want to make, please don't sell the game on the idea of an epic story.

The fanbase is basically the only reason he's still making Shenmue, though. He says up front that he wants to keep working on concluding it as long as the fans still want it. He said pretty plainly, if the fans have reached a certain level of satisfaction with SIII, and the calls for a fourth game drop off, he's not as inclined to continue with it.
That's really, really sad. To me, this means that all the speculation about the chapters and the "grand plan" for Shenmue are meaningless. If Suzuki doesn't actually care whether or not he gets to finish the story in game form, then why not just release the original plan and be done with it?
 
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the FF7 remake stretches itself to near unbearable lengths with bullshit like this.
Off topic, but yeah. I can't believe how much they padded that out. At least Jessie was briefly an interesting character. (I actually really like Jessie in the remake, and I don't like anything about FFVII.)

That's really, really sad. To me, this means that all the speculation about the chapters and the "grand plan" for Shenmue are meaningless. If Suzuki doesn't actually care whether or not he gets to finish the story in game form, then why not just release the original plan and be done with it?
That scenario (of fan interest dropping off) is sort of presented as something of a wry joke for Yu, I feel. It seems from his perspective that the fan reception of Shenmue III was very positive. I think he does want to continue making Shenmue, but he also wants to make a bunch of other games (potentially things that would end up in esports), so part of keeping him on the Shenmue projects is the fans' desire for it.
 
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These are great news! We don’t really know a whole lot and can only speculate for now, but it’s the clear Yu-san already has lots of ideas for Shenmue IV and is aware that Shenmue III wasn’t able to satisfy everybody.

At this point I’m confident Shenmue IV will be a thing, now it’s just a matter of when, but there’s no need to rush.

Thank you Switch for the all the work you do for us, can’t wait to read the full translation.
 
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The sense I got was that he was potentially talking mostly about having a system that identifies landmarks, particular shops, and differentiates between main quests and story quests, but I didn't feel like he was suggesting that there would be a way to turn them off. Just that he would hope to implement them in a way that felt natural for Shenmue. Honestly, I'm trying to have faith, but I feel like these things could end up not really serving anyone.

It's seems a system similar to Yakuza, and I find it really distracting.
But in Yakuza it make sense since you can interact just with few shops, items and NPC for example, so the game must tell you which one are available to interact.

In Shenmue instead you can enter basically any building and interact with any NPC (well apart Niaowu), so what's the point of this feature?

For example if I need to go to the pawnshop or to the greengrocer, I just look at their signboard to find the shops, like I do in real life, that's one of the unique traits of Shenmue.
Having other markers on the HUD is just a repetition of the same information you already can find in the game world, and can only clutter the visuals (like it happen in many situations in Yakuza or other games where you have lots of icons on screen).




He talks about this a fair amount in conjunction with having more narrow streets. He mentions having something the size of Niaowu, but with four times the density. He also mentions packing the streets with people, in fairly narrow environments, and having it still be easy to navigate, which is one of the technical challenges that excites him. I don't think it's about aiding the main story, at least. He talks about focusing more on side stories, and having chapters that play out like episodes of Otoko wa Tsuraiyo:

Basically, having an interesting, self contained chapter story, and focusing less on the overarching story.

I hope you're right.
If he's looking to make something the size of Niaowu, but with more density, now that's a really good news.

But If he's looking to downsize areas and just give us "two streets" even if full of things, than a big NO, like others I don't want "Shenmue The Telltale series".
 
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The markers on the herbs were a God send. Literally. In day light not intrusive, at night time chasing those last ones... Gold worth. For the drawers, sure, would like to toggle them off.

Considering all the extra costs with marketing, actors and various rent I'd say it's pretty impressive if that's the lot. Imagine what could have been with more... oh well. SIV it is, hopefully.

Agree, markers for herbs were necessary, but they also implemented tthe red markers very well, as they are activated only when you go in first person, so during normal third person exploration, you don't see the game area cluttered with icons.

That's a smart game design.
 
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Focusing in sidestories is not a bad thing at all. If there had been more meaty side stories with Shiling and fat-martial-arts-mate (sorry don't remember his name) in Niaowu, the ending would have been much more satisfactory.

The map markers is a bit disappointing, but that's a trend that really started in Shenmue II (where I refused to buy any map except for the inside of Kownloon buildings). And I'm pretty confident the player will be able to ignore it.

To me, this means that all the speculation about the chapters and the "grand plan" for Shenmue are meaningless. If Suzuki doesn't actually care whether or not he gets to finish the story in game form, then why not just release the original plan and be done with it?
Well, as I said in another thread, I think we should make peace with the fact that any Shenmue we are getting is inevitably compromised (compared to the initial vision) by a lot of factors. And I think that has actually been like that since Shenmue II (where Ryo was originally going to go to Shanghai to rescue Yuanda Zhu and take a train to reach Guilin, for instance).

One of those factors seems to come from Yu's own flexibility towards the story, though (or priorization of his engineer and experimenting side). And digging deeper, one could say that another big factor was the foundation itself: delivering those original 11 chapters through 5 or more games with the level of detail and story pace of the first one was probably an impossible idea. At least I think it was unprecedented then and even now no franchise has been even close to such a thing.

So let's be grateful for and enjoy what we get, there will be value there still. And let's hope (for the sake of curiosity) that he also releases the original plan some day for us the hardcore fans.
 
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Well, as I said in another thread, I think we should make peace with the fact that any Shenmue we are getting is inevitably compromised (compared to the initial vision) by a lot of factors. And I think that has actually been like that since Shenmue II (where Ryo was originally going to go to Shanghai to rescue Yuanda Zhu and take a train to reach Guilin, for instance).

One of those factors seems to come from Yu's own flexibility towards the story, though (or priorization of his engineer and experimenting side). And digging deeper, one could say that another big factor was the foundation itself: delivering those original 11 chapters through 5 or more games with the level of detail and story pace of the first one was probably an impossible idea. At least I think it was unprecedented then and even now no franchise has been even close to such a thing.
I agree and I know that the story has changed a lot, I even speculated that S3 was as vague as it was to further leave room to downsize the scope of the story (ie: the 4 leaders may be able to be scrapped in favor of Niao Sun vs. Lan Di). But I'm talking about YS' passion for the project itself; it seemed to me like he wanted to get these games made no matter what, that they were his life's work, not that he was making them simply to appease fans.

Focusing in sidestories is not a bad thing at all. If there had been more meaty side stories with Shiling and fat-martial-arts-mate (sorry don't remember his name) in Niaowu, the ending would have been much more satisfactory.
But that's because they factored into the main story in the end. Technically 90% of S2 is "side content" (Ren, Joy, and even Xiuying are all at best secondary to the main plot) but that's very different from "Ryo saves another town from another random gang of thugs" side content because (I assume) many of the characters from S2 are coming back.
 
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Focusing in sidestories is not a bad thing at all. If there had been more meaty side stories with Shiling and fat-martial-arts-mate (sorry don't remember his name) in Niaowu, the ending would have been much more satisfactory.

The map markers is a bit disappointing, but that's a trend that really started in Shenmue II (where I refused to buy any map except for the inside of Kownloon buildings). And I'm pretty confident the player will be able to ignore it.


Well, as I said in another thread, I think we should make peace with the fact that any Shenmue we are getting is inevitably compromised (compared to the initial vision) by a lot of factors. And I think that has actually been like that since Shenmue II (where Ryo was originally going to go to Shanghai to rescue Yuanda Zhu and take a train to reach Guilin, for instance).

One of those factors seems to come from Yu's own flexibility towards the story, though (or priorization of his engineer and experimenting side). And digging deeper, one could say that another big factor was the foundation itself: delivering those original 11 chapters through 5 or more games with the level of detail and story pace of the first one was probably an impossible idea. At least I think it was unprecedented then and even now no franchise has been even close to such a thing.

So let's be grateful for and enjoy what we get, there will be value there still. And let's hope (for the sake of curiosity) that he also releases the original plan some day for us the hardcore fans.
You make a good point, but I personally would have a hard time making peace with what Shenmue has become (or what Suzuki wants it to be) going forward if he has no interest in telling the remainder of the main story in a satisfactory way.
I agree and I know that the story has changed a lot, I even speculated that S3 was as vague as it was to further leave room to downsize the scope of the story (ie: the 4 leaders may be able to be scrapped in favor of Niao Sun vs. Lan Di). But I'm talking about YS' passion for the project itself; it seemed to me like he wanted to get these games made no matter what, that they were his life's work, not that he was making them simply to appease fans.
Honestly, If Suzuki isn't that interested in continuing Shenmue because he really believes in it, he shouldn't. It seems like what most of the fans want is the general idea of Shenmue, that is they are not interested in the story, but in the beat to beat moments and general gameplay. Suzuki seems more interested in that as well as trying new ideas since he's been out of the game for so long.

If that's the case he shouldn't make Shenmue 4. It will fail to garner new fans and bring in the mainstream audience if for no other reason than it's the fourth in a series requiring you to have played 3 games, including 2 that are 20 years old, and the backlash from S3 won't help that either.

Suzuki should just make a spiritual sequel to Shenmue. One that captures the essence of the original gameplay with some new ideas he wants to try and not be tied down to a rigid story structure that requires specific mysteries to be answered and specific locales to be created, especially if he isn't seemingly going to bother with it anyway.
 
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Yes because marketing, production and show floor space comes free lol.

I was doing some reading and most indie projects tend to have a marketing budget of 20% the total budget so that's $4million minimum towards that.

Leaving what $16millon for the development, which is more than I thought but maybe I underestimate gaming development costs? No idea I'm not an expert.

Motion capture isn't cheap. 2 dubs isn't cheap. Studio hire on it's own is a tonne of money before you pay the actors etc. And that comes in at around $500 an hour for a main character. So that's $4000 a day for Corey, even if he did it for half that that's between $60k-$120k for him. Brianna I bet cost some money as did the others so I could easily see the English dub topping $1 million. Same for the JP so that's $2 million. Then you have to edit and master the damn thing. We used to master music tracks at about £30-60 a track you could easily rack a cost there.

I'd be shocked if more than $14 million went into the game itself. Including research, scripting, assets, licences, artwork, modelling.

Damn it adds up.
Where did that 500 an hour figure come from? When I used to watch anime panels several years back, even the biggest names in voice over for anime, games, etc. Weren't making anywhere near that, like not even 100 dollars. I recall them saying it was around 70-something dollars an hour or so for the industry standard and was actually considered low. Even the voice actor for Niko in GTA 4 only got 100k for his work. While this was several years ago, I dont see rates going up that much. If Corey did in fact make 500 and hour, salute to him. That's a come up
 
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Amazing how we've gone from such a positive interview to "Yu isn't passionate about the series, he shouldn't make Shenmue IV" in just 3 pages. Well done everyone!
You're missing a very important "IF" there. This interview is unequivocally good news. YS seems confident about S4 becoming a reality, acknowledges S3's shortcomings, and seems to have a plan to make S4 a better and more appealing game overall. All good things. Plus it hasn't even been translated into American yet.
 
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Oct 31, 2019
Amazing how we've gone from such a positive interview to "Yu isn't passionate about the series, he shouldn't make Shenmue IV" in just 3 pages. Well done everyone!
You're missing a very important "IF" there. This interview is unequivocally good news. YS seems confident about S4 becoming a reality, acknowledges S3's shortcomings, and seems to have a plan to make S4 a better and more appealing game overall. All good things. Plus it hasn't even been translated into American yet.
Yeah just to clarify, I still want S4, I just want it to be good. If Suzuki doesn't really want to make Shenmue but is doing it out of some obligation then it won't be good. Keep in mind I'm not saying this is the case.
 
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