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

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You can do as most unreal assets transfer over I think. Should save hassle
You can yes, but I'm saying you shouldn't. When all other games graphics have improved do you want S4 to look the same as S3? Also you can only reuse the main characters, all the NPC's will have to be created.

Unless you mean using generic assets from the unreal store.
 
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He doesn't speak much about the story though. It sounds like the lack of revelations and depth was the only problem to him. Well they're still big ones but is it going to be enough to make the story interesting again? I'm struggling to imagine so if the game is the technical continuation of S3. For instance, the music selection was awful at the point it made some major cutscenes anticlimactic. Many, many work has to be revised there.

Retrospectively, his notion of "modest version of Shenmue III" is interesting. It might imply that he wasn't motivated by designing a low-cost Shenmue III on Xbox original at first and preferred rather to find new ways to gather money like Virtua Fighter did for S1&2 to fulfill all his ambitions before the insistence of fans definitely changed his mind and fate.
 
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Thank you @Switch for such a fast and no doubt precise translation.

It's directly stated they are having deep discussions how the new Shenmue will be, and that Yu thinks it will be made. We would have killed for such a forecast after Shenmue II.

If I had to pick a headline, I would highlight this:
However, to stay in business, next time we have to think about making a product that will sell .

Which is a good thing to me. It could lead to something really different to what we expect of Shenmue, even something bad or awful. But I think Shenmue III proved that current circumstances (budget, talent, skill, their reading of "what the fans want" or whatever) don't lead to a fulfilling traditional continuation of the first ones.

To me it's much more exciting to see for them to try a new formula and be ambitious with a re-thought product.

This depends. I don't think he can reuse as much assets as you think especially if S4 is going to be next gen. Imagine the blowback of a PS5 era game reusing Shenmue 3's assets.
I think we will see plenty of games next gen with PS4-era assets, specially indie or AA ones. The engine itself will give plenty of improvements in lighting, rendering and resolution, which will come "free" to the developer. And if they keep the models but crank up the number of people on the streets and things like that, it could lead to a very presentable game.

There were examples of this (pretty games with PS3-era assets) during this gen too, like Yakuza 0 or GTA V.
 
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The Unreal Engine looks like it's going to be iterative in the next generation, so I don't think they'll need to overhaul or recode as much as they would if they were going to use an entirely new engine. For example in 2019 they added ray tracing to UE; as a lot of the early games in the upcoming generation will be backwards compatible, the PS4 version could for instance look the same as Shenmue III graphically, whereas on the PS5 it will have ray tracing + higher resolution, framerate, LOD, etc. Having Shenmue III graphics at 4K + 60fps + Ray Tracing + High LOD will already be pretty taxing on the new hardware.

I've been replaying Shenmue III on PC now with LemonHaze's "No energy drain while running" mod, and boy does it improve the game. I no longer felt like a clock was ticking the whole time encouraging me to munch on black garlic constantly. It doesn't feel broken at all; your health still drains during fighting, sparring, and training, as opposed to the first games where your health would replenish automatically upon exiting these scenarios, so food items still have their place. But now I feel a greater sense to explore and take my time, which is one of the key Shenmue "pillars". I really think Shenmue IV needs to get of the constantly draining energy meter; having it drain only during fighting and training would be a good compromise in my opinion.
 

ShenSun

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Shenmue 3 has some very nice looking models. They just need to bump the playdough looking ones up to the same standard and have a consistent art direction (characters / environment)

We're not expecting uncharted level graphics here. Indie games will still be on the next gen platforms. Hopefully the new unreal engine can really make the game shine
 
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There were examples of this (pretty games with PS3-era assets) during this gen too, like Yakuza 0 or GTA V.
I think this is worth focusing in on. Shenmue is a niche game, for sure, but that doesn't mean that it has to be an unsuccessful game. As game development gets exponentially more expensive, it feels like we're seeing a re-emergence of middle-market games, and it seems like Shenmue could find its home there as a sustainably-developed series. We're already seeing that people are okay with last-gen-looking games as long as the substance is there. The question is whether or not Yu Suzuki would be okay with spending the rest of his career lagging behind the technologies of other companies, and while I'm not sure that the answer is yes, I don't think he realistically has a choice.
I've been replaying Shenmue III on PC now with LemonHaze's "No energy drain while running" mod, and boy does it improve the game. I no longer felt like a clock was ticking the whole time encouraging me to munch on black garlic constantly... I really think Shenmue IV needs to get of the constantly draining energy meter; having it drain only during fighting and training would be a good compromise in my opinion.
Going to have to stop you there. Opinions'll obviously differ, but I think that one of Shenmue 3's smartest changes to the formula was the addition of the combined hunger/stamina system. It gave daily activities like wood-chopping and forklift-driving meaning. The system itself could definitely be integrated in a more intelligent way - I don't think that providing me with 400 different foods to eat while only actively encouraging eating mold and garlic was a smart decision - but keeping some active money drain to encourage players to set aside time and prepare for future gameplay was a great idea.
 
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I dont think Shenmue IV happening or not is something we should worry about. As far as I'm concerned, it's happening. People keep thinking about the situation about Shenmue III but these were far different time.
- YS was still working at SEGA
- SEGA was very cautious with their IPs
- Making a game was harder back then because tools were both expensive, hard to use and not widespread.

Shenmue III took that long to happen for those reasons:
- YS was still at SEGA when it was obvious SEGA didn't want anything to do with SHENMUE.
- SEGA was unwilling to do anything with their dormant IPs and was against licensing them.

Shenmue III finally happened because:
- YS left SEGA and was free to work on what he wanted.
- SEGA softened their stance on licensing hence why Wonderboy, Panzer Dragoon, Street of Rage and Shenmue all saw new installements without SEGA's involvement.
- There are tool such as Unity and Unreal Engine which are documented, with support from their providers, easy, fast, inexpensive and powerful to use.

But it took until barely 6 years ago for those things to happen.

Now the question about Shenmue IV is: What are we getting ?

You're really confident given your opinion on the review scores, quality of the game and sales.

That's not me wanting to start another discussion on those things mind. I just don't know how else to word it, I find your optimism a bit strange, but reassuring.

I really hope we get Shenmue 4. Shenmue's like a drug at this point. I told myself all these years that all I needed was Shenmue 3, just one final game for better or worse - whether it concludes the story or not. Yet here I am, decades later desperate for a Shenmue 4 :LOL:
 
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If Shenmue IV was to be a Kowloon-esqué Baisha, with 5 or 6 various Toulus that go upward, rather than outward in terms of the open world, I will give him another 10k donation. A smaller scale, yet incredibly denser game would be my ultimate Shenmue at this point.
I am 100% with you. Sounds awesome. Maybe not $10,000 with you, but I think finding a way to make a very feature rich and robust game without chasing the illusion of needing big wide open spaces is the way to propel Shenmue forward.
 
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Going to have to stop you there. Opinions'll obviously differ, but I think that one of Shenmue 3's smartest changes to the formula was the addition of the combined hunger/stamina system. It gave daily activities like wood-chopping and forklift-driving meaning. The system itself could definitely be integrated in a more intelligent way - I don't think that providing me with 400 different foods to eat while only actively encouraging eating mold and garlic was a smart decision - but keeping some active money drain to encourage players to set aside time and prepare for future gameplay was a great idea.

The game economy and falling into a "daily routine" were things I think Shenmue III did well for the most part, but you can still do that without having to resort to a draining energy meter. Even with this mod installed, I'm still encouraged to chop wood and drive the forklift because of the money gates for the scrolls (though I think repeating that in Niaowu was a mistake). In my dream Shenmue III, Niaowu would've been excised so Baisha could have been realised instead. You would still be encouraged to get money in Bailu for food to replenish stamina after fights, and to purchase scrolls, capsule toys, etc., but that doesn't mean your stamina needs to drain just from exploring the village.
 
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Hunger/stamina that's not tied into your health and maybe makes leveling up harder if you do not feed Ryo... that's an angle I'd appreciate. I think that's how other similar games handle that kind of system these days. Just one idea. I am sure there are many other ways to incorporate stamina without it being such a drag.

Since we're playing a full day, why not only require food during typical meal times or simply less frequently? Chomping on 50 bulbs of black garlic or w/e just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
 

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You can yes, but I'm saying you shouldn't. When all other games graphics have improved do you want S4 to look the same as S3? Also you can only reuse the main characters, all the NPC's will have to be created.

Unless you mean using generic assets from the unreal store.
They hired in for alot of the NPC's so they dont worry me.

Yeah assets and the systems I mean. Also they can use the old main character models and give them an upgrade. It's not quite going from scratch but I see your point
 
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They could reuse the pedestrian and Niaowu vendor models. They're not particularly memorable and a couple tweaks here and there would hardly raise many flags. Now you've got to model a few main characters and a few side characters. Most of the main characters are already modeled anyway. I am sure they can reuse textures from Shenmue III and borrow from the UE4 asset library to fill in gaps. Of course new environments will need work.
 
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There are AAA games today that tons of assets don't even fully use PBR, sometimes something looking like shit and something looking great is having good AA (and UE TAA is unparalleled).
S3 Assets are fine.
RIght now playing Yakuza 0 again, the game does really grab you from the start, and the scene direction is solid as they come (except for having 3 types of cutscenes).
He should really do some hardcore preproduction and have the substories already planned to a T before starting the full production.
And I'd ditch the english sub, it balloons budget and for me it's just detrimental.
 
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Yes thanks for the translation from me as well. It is a nice read for sure. I just hope if Shenmue 4 is happening that it is not made to casual. I have no problem with a casual mode for he casuals but there also need to be a classic mode as well. I do not wmant some blinking icons in Shenmue . The world of Shenmue must remain pure and it must be rewarding to explore the word. Following blinking icons spoils this exploring experience.

But it is nice to see that Yu-San is still thinking about S4 and considering at least.
 
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Being able to upgrade the assets they already have from S3 will help a lot. That said, shooting for PS5 level assets would be a waste imo. There are plenty of great selling games on PS4 that don't even have PS3 level assets, really, and people are fine with it because of marketing, understanding of budget, etc. It'll be the job (and challenge) of S4's marketing to do the same with this game.
 
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Opinions'll obviously differ, but I think that one of Shenmue 3's smartest changes to the formula was the addition of the combined hunger/stamina system. It gave daily activities like wood-chopping and forklift-driving meaning.
I think you have this backwards. Daily activities like wood chopping and forklift driving exist so that Ryo can buy food to maintain his stamina. This is what people mean when they say that S3 focuses on minigames and padding at the expense of story. Also, stamina should not be tied to health; it virtually guarantees that you'll lose fights when they pop up unannounced and it actively discourages exploration. There's a reason basically no other game has ever done this.

Yeah assets and the systems I mean. Also they can use the old main character models and give them an upgrade. It's not quite going from scratch but I see your point
Suzuki mentions fixing the facial animations (something I think is way outside the scope of a project this size) which means re-rigging the existing characters at the very least and may require remodeling the faces entirely in some instances, to say nothing of the additional animation workload. It's a ton of work depending on the quality level he wants to achieve. The other issue with facial animation is that, barring like 2 scenes, Ryo and Shenhua rarely vary their emotional state; they're always just kind of calm--so what's the point of focusing on facial animation? Is Ryo really going to start smiling, laughing, being coy, yelling etc. to take advantage of that? Seems like a lot of work for not a lot of payoff and there's no way it's going to look as good as digitized performance capture facial animation anyway (which is even more expensive!).
 

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Not worried about Shenmue IV at all, either. I got positive vibes from Suzuki. And also not worried about these "changes" he is talking about...several things to remember. Most importantly is that not everything he talks about will ultimately make it into the game, such as with Shenmue III.
 
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Was thinking more about giving incentives to engage in the economy without having stamina drain while running. One mechanic could have been to buy fruit and veg for Shenhua for cooking, which in turn would tie in to the Rapport System, similar to how you buy drinks and gifts for hostesses in the Yakuza series.

Along that line of Shenhua and the Rapport System, I was thinking it would've been fun to bring back the Iron Palm minigame from Shenmue II, but in the context of getting fruit off a tree for Shenhua. You'd have an introductory cutscene of Shenhua struggling to get a fruit high on a tree, and then you bring it down with an Iron Palm to the trunk. You could then do this daily, getting up to ten fruit per session for you and Shenhua to eat.
 
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