Shenmue III rockets on Kickstarter after Sony’s E3 plug

The man who helped invent open-world gaming is crowdfunding his next Shenmue sequel.

Mar 1, 2020, 1:28 am*

Internet Culture

 

Dennis Scimeca

The moment may go down as the most surreal in the entirety of E3 2015. Sony brought a famed game developer on stage to help him ask the audience for money.

Yu Suzuki is probably not a familiar name for gamers in their teenage years. Suzuki’s seminal work, Shenmue was published for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999—16 years ago. It was one of the first video games to give players an open world filled with varied activities to pursue. Shemnue is arguably the spiritual progenitor of games like Grand Theft Auto.

That makes Yu Suzuki a revered figure in game culture, and rather than announce that Sony was backing Shenmue III as a PlayStation exclusive, Adam Boyes, Sony VP of publisher and developer relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America, brought Suzuki on stage to launch a Kickstarter for his next game.

As of 10:20pm CT, the Kickstarter has already raised close to $1 million. The count is rapidly increasing, ticking up more than $200,000 every 15 minutes. It won’t be surprising if it hits its $2 million goal before midnight. 

This is what the Kickstarter page looked like at 7:53pm Pacific. This total lasted for about half a second.

This is what the Kickstarter page looked like at 7:53pm Pacific. This total lasted for about half a second.

Kickstarter

With crowdfunded backing like this, we suppose Sony doesn’t actually have to spend a dime getting Shenmue III produced (though it could still chip in after the modest fundraising goal for the open-world game is reached). Maybe its help with raising the money will warrant a console exclusive when all’s said and done. That would certainly be worth donating a few minutes of E3 stage time to a gaming legend.

Screengrab via Gameslice/YouTube

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*First Published: Jun 16, 2015, 12:22 am