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

Jigen

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I think Yu is a passionate and talented game designer he just needs to broaden his perspective. I have no doubt whatever Shenmue 4 we get will be significantly improved. I think his willingness to modernize in certain areas is also positive and refreshing.
 
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Creator: dedicates years and years of his life to resurrecting a dead franchise for the fans

Fans: *read one Google-translated sentence* Hmm, not sure he even cares about Shenmue?

FFS, end me.

Fans: Make Shenmue the way you want it.

Yu Suzuki: Here's Shenmue III

Fans: EEEEEEWWWWW why are there red markers pointing out herbs? That's not MY Shenmue.
 
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I think Youtube is the reason why Suzuki wants quest markers. So many people played dumbly his exploration part and I feel ashamed of them.

For Shenmue 2, Suzuki did try to please casual gamers already as you can literally ask the NPCs to taxi you to the chosen destination. It was cheated as F - and again many retrogamers abused the feature on Youtube, leading to bored and boring let's play.

After reading the different translations, I want Shenmue 4 AND Shenmue 3 remake. A bit frustrating to read he wants a more compact world only now. The compact world was meant to Bailu Village!!
 
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American? lol
Brits love it when you joke like that.

Creator: dedicates years and years of his life to resurrecting a dead franchise for the fans

Fans: *read one Google-translated sentence* Hmm, not sure he even cares about Shenmue?
I fixed it for you:

Creator: dedicates years and years of his life to resurrecting a dead franchise that he claims he's had planned over 20 years and is his life's work

Creator: I'm mostly making it for the fans, I don't really care if I get to finish it

Fans: Surprised Pikachu

Fans: Make Shenmue the way you want it.

Yu Suzuki: Here's Shenmue III

Fans: EEEEEEWWWWW why are there red markers pointing out herbs? That's not MY Shenmue.
I fixed it for you:

YS: Can I have money for Shenmue 3?

Fans: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!

YS: Here are all the things that will be in the game

~50% of Fans: Uhhh... half of those things aren't in the game and running suddenly appears to be a near fatal activity for Ryo...
 
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Creator: dedicates years and years of his life to resurrecting a dead franchise for the fans

Fans: *read one Google-translated sentence* Hmm, not sure he even cares about Shenmue?

FFS, end me.

I don't disagree with his arguments. I don't think the question is whether Suzuki is motivated or not, but rather to what extent he deeply is, and for which reasons.

Shenmue 3 has been minded in a very different way from S1&2. Shenmue 1 was designed as a very personal project. S3 is literally an order. He prioritized mini-games over his most personal ideas (confidence systems, the third city) because he had too much respect for the community.

Meanwhile, people is constantly sheering (annoying?) him about Shenmue when it's not Virtua Fighter or his arcade games but rarely questioning him about his ton of ideas for new games he dreams of. Nowadays, his name is associated with Shenmue like Brosnan with Bond. Does he want to be Connery (again)? We just don't know.

It's not a critic, I just feel bad for him because he feels so enthusiastic when talking about ideas he has.
 
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I think it's easy to jump to conclusions here based on very little info.

There is a whole range of possibilities between Niaowu and a tiny Telltale Games level.

There is a whole range of possibilities between no markers and a Yakuza rip-off.

A bit frustrating to read he wants a more compact world only now. The compact world was meant to Bailu Village!!
Personally, I think the size and density of Bailu is pretty faithful to what was originally planned. I know some people expected a more archaic feel (no arcade, tattier clothes) but, in general, I don't think much of Bailu was "sacrificed" in our version of Shenmue III. It's Niaowu where things become more sketchy in terms of the "original plan". I also don't think Yu has commented on the size/density of any environment beyond those in Shenmue III, until now, so who knows what was "originally planned".

I must be missing something, because when I hear "not-open-world" and "denser", I think :love:. I think of Shenmue I and Shenmue II. Also, fleshing out the characters and stories of the inhabitants: :love:. Again, I think of Shenmue I and II. Why people would immediately think of something different, and not the previous games, is strange to me. These games have always focussed on these things above pushing the main narrative arc forward at a zippy pace. I wouldn't expect that to change four games in.

Creator: I'm mostly making it for the fans, I don't really care if I get to finish it
Yes, I am sure this is 100% accurate and exactly how he feels.
 
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I'd much rather take a smaller but denser world any day of the week. To me, something like Kamurocho is as near perfect an open world map as you can get. Sure, it's not the biggest open world out there, but what it lacks in size, it makes up in attention to detail. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with a range of things to see and do. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with personality. I look at open worlds like GTA V and think, sure it's big but honestly, how much of this world do you really engage with?

So I'll take a smaller but more densely filled world any day of the week. I'll gladly take another Bailu or Wan Chai or Dobuita over a massive but generic open world.
 
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Yes, I am sure this is 100% accurate and exactly how he feels.
No one is saying it's 100% accurate. It's just weird if that's how he actually feels. If he wants to do something else, he should; he shouldn't be making Shenmue just to appease fans. And if he wants to make Shenmue, it should be with an eye toward bringing the series to a close, not focusing on side stories. But, again, this is all good news.
 
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No one is saying it's 100% accurate. It's just weird if that's how he actually feels. If he wants to do something else, he should; he shouldn't be making Shenmue just to appease fans. And if he wants to make Shenmue, it should be with an eye toward bringing the series to a close, not focusing on side stories. But, again, this is all good news.
He doesn't strike me as someone who would do something he doesn't want to do. If he truly didn't want to make another Shenmue, I very much doubt he'd do it out of begrudging obligation. He's too old for that shit.

If he does make IV, I like that part of his motivation is to try new things. That's always what's driven him. I'm not obsessed with him concluding the series like a lot of people here.
 
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It's good news knowing he has SIV in mind.
But not sure how to feel about the lines translated.
He talks about making a smaller world, but also talking about waypoints.
He talks about Shenhua and Ren backstories, but that wants SIV to be less focused on the main story and more on subquests.
For one, I think making smaller but more dense little world would be better (I was getting some references from green market qr in SII and "feels" bigger than Niaowu).
About the more emphasis on sidequests I do feel less confident. It seems they want to go a more Yakuza way, and sadly I don't think they have the chops to pull it off. The writing and story in S3 was the low point, Ryo is just not that much of an interesting character, Shenmue is far more grounded and doesn't lend itself to the wacky Yakuza sidequests nor Ryo is the type of character to solve stuff with his fists.
I think that having a more reflective spiritual or cultural sidequests would mesh well with the game, but I don't see why not include them as part of the grand narrative (both SI and II did that).
Disaster Report was a game that had that "lived town" feeling that the originals had (at least in part), while having almost random sidequest events that are actually part of the "main story").

The comment about making more mainstream is what really gets me, Yakuza is Shenmue but mainstream.
I have to agree that (even the originals) have a pace that doesn't respect people's time and it's a work of those times, and in some ways the originals were good because of that while also despite those.
I hope he can find balance, it seems like the story is not his main concern (which makes me think it's a mcguffin to "put ryo on a china sightseeing tour", it's kind of a bummer, but obviously nothing was going to pair with 20 years of speculation).
 

ys.

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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
I've seen the estimate for the dub go up lately to 1 million USD but I doubt that it is near that. I suspect that it can even be lower than the earlier estimate of 500k.

I wrote about this here : https://www.shenmuedojo.com/forum/i...will-happen-heres-why.2626/page-18#post-96571

Basically, regular wages were 200-400$/day and over 2000$/day for the biggest voice actors. The studio was likely (high-)mid tier judging by the equipment that I saw. Some other sound engineers that I know own larger facilities with world class gear and have reasonable rates. So the studio cost might have been ok. Especially with recording sessions being 1 line=1 take.

Mastering was probably not that bad cost wise if the recording sessions were planned well and if mixing went fine.
 
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Very interesting interview, many thanks Switch !
The "game for the fans vs mainstream" is quite different from the first impression, he basically says that if he had more money he could have made more quality of life adjustments to cater a wider audience.
The interviewer seems to share many of the concerns some of us has, and trying to pass the info to YS in a respectful manner.
I kinda need clarification on the "regarding the main story, the backstory will be rapidly filled out" I'm not sure what it means.
About corridors and population density is interesting, there has been many interesting developments on machine learning animations, ECS type of approach to animations to make it performant.
Though, yakuza is claustrophobic enough, and uses static camera angles with dynamic angles pretty well, and navigation isn't that much of a problem.
 
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I'm generally positive on this interview, lots of worthwhile quotes and exciting propositions, but this bit stuck out:
It comes down to what you are trying to achieve. If the aim is to attain the level of polish of Shenmue I, then for Shenmue III I think I would have used up the entire budget just on Bailu village.
Maybe that would have been for the best.
 

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Reading the English translation fills me with more confidence.

He seems to think Shenmue 4 will happen so I'd guess discussions are happening behind the scenes right now.

I'd like clarity around the main/side story stuff. If they do it like Shenmue II where it had a broader impact on the story while filling in the bits for Ren and Shenhua I'm all in.

Cautiously excited.
 
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I kinda need clarification on the "regarding the main story, the backstory will be rapidly filled out" I'm not sure what it means.
He gives some examples in the rest of the sentence e.g. providing more about the background of Shenhua and Ren, and tying up some of the open ends in the story.
 
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Reading this freshly-translated version (thanks @Switch!), it's actually comforting to see Yu taking people's criticisms so seriously. I know that, if I made a game and it got mixed reviews, and everyone was complaining about the game being stuck in the past, I would 100% try to address those things, too.

With quest markers, I’d like to distinguish between the main quest and side quests, or show money-exchange spots or places you can have battles. But in order not to do away with the need for exploration, I’d like to have a system that doesn’t give too much away, with the display being updated once you have obtained information.

And there you go. Having to find things first before they get added to your map is an excellent solution, in my opinion.

I’d like to provide for both concepts, not to abandon one or the other. I’ve come to have a good idea of what improvements should be made, so I’ll be able to incorporate them without destroying the taste of the Shenmue series.

:coffee:

Also, this comment...
This time, rather than being hung up on making an open world, it might be interesting to instead have confined areas.

...sounds like he thinks they may have leaned too heavily in the "open-world" direction with III, because that's what people expect nowadays. I'm totally fine with them going back to smaller, denser areas.

In Shenmue IV, I want to make the side quests more in-depth. Through side quests, the relationships of the townsfolk will be portrayed more deeply… that’s something that’s quite Shenmue-like, wouldn’t you say?

Yes sir, yes I would 🤓

Of course, regarding the main story, the backstory will be rapidly filled out, for example I’d like to shed light on Shenhua’s background and about what kind of person Ren is, and resolve the mysteries that have been created until this point.

"Rapidly" suggests that the info we could've/should've gotten towards the end of III may come to light early on in IV...maybe?

Originally, there was no move lesson from Master Sun at all, so we pulled out all the stops to add one, and really pushed beyond our limits to get it done [laughs]. I naturally have a vision of how a game should be, but that will change depending on things like the staff and budget.

I think this sheds light on the reuse of the "learn body check to defeat the boss" mechanic in Shenmue III. They were trying to add more content to create a better pay-off for the end of Master Sun's teachings.

For me, Shenmue is something that I feel a responsibility to keep on doing, and of course I want to continue on with it until I reach the conclusion of the series. As long as people say they want me to make Shenmue, then I will continue to do so, as I mentioned before.
I do hope the fans who waited 20 years for Shenmue III and were reasonably happy with it, will keep up a strong demand for Shenmue IV…

Absolutely nothing in here suggests he doesn't want to make IV, or that he's lost interest in it. Imagine that!

Maybe that would have been for the best.
Eh, the grass is always greener. People would've complained a lot about a Bailu-only Shenmue III. Niaowu is far from perfect but it added a hefty dose of variety to the game. Without it, the game would've felt very one-note. I loved Bailu, but any longer there and it would've stayed out its welcome.
 
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