Sega has revealed that the announcement of Shenmue III back in 2015 was a major factor in getting the re-releases of Shenmue I & II off the ground.
Speaking with IGN, Sega Europe’s Executive Vice President of Publishing, John Clark, confirmed that Yu Suzuki’s third chapter in the revenge-driven saga helped to justify demand for the franchise in western territories. He also admitted that the software giant had been thinking about re-releasing Shenmue I & II for modern consoles for a few years prior to that.
This would definitely make sense, as VideoGamer reported back in 2016 that Sega was considering bringing the games to modern platforms, and there had been rumours as far back as 2012 pointing to both titles getting a makeover.
‘We saw the talk surrounding the announcement of Shenmue III, and we saw the demand for that game,’ said Clark. ‘(Ports of) Shenmue I & II had been a discussion pre Shenmue III, but I think that it all helped raise the awareness internally and externally.’ He also said that demand for Japanese games in western regions has greatly expanded, making a re-release ‘inevitable.’
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Shenmue I & II are due for release on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One in 2018, and feature improved visuals, a new control scheme, and options for both English and Japanese voice acting. Shenmue III is currently in development at Ys Net for PS4 and PC and is also pencilled in for release this year.