It's unclear what Yu Suzuki and Ys Net would have created with the initial $2 million target of the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, but it sure as hell wouldn't have been the game fans wanted from the endeavor.
"At $10 million, it will truly have the features of an open world."
Tragically, fans failed to come through for the project, and Shenmue 3 only raised $6.3 million via the Kickstarter campaign. It's unknown why backers, with an average of $91.36 given, failed to meet Suzuki's expectations. It's important to remember that initial goals on Kickstarter are rarely the amount games need to be fully funded.
What's clear is that the Shenmue 3 campaign simply doesn't have enough money to do what Ys Net would like to do.
That's not all, folks!
Shenmue 3 may be the most-funded game in Kickstarter's history, but that doesn't stop the total from falling short of the project's needs. Breaking records isn't enough; the team is going to need more money, and Suzuki isn't shy about bringing this up to the press.
"I could do with a bit more money!" he told Eurogamer this week. "The game itself doesn't have to be gorgeous visually — a lot of the money these days goes into the graphics. If we perhaps compromise on the graphics and put more into the story, we can make a good game. The most important thing, to me, is that the game's interesting, and that it's something people want to play."
That's what happens when you only give three times a game's target on Kickstarter: You get told that the team is going to need more. Of course, we don't actually know how much money the team has, since the Kickstarter isn't the only source of funds for the game.
"For right now, all I can tell you is that Ys Net has been looking at other sources of funding and we're preparing other sources of funding, so for the Shenmue 3 project it will be what we can source from outside plus the Kickstarter," Suzuki told Polygon when previously asked about the budget. "But for right now that's all we can say."
You may have given way more than was asked for originally, but don't think that will be anywhere near enough, and for the love of Ryo don't expect to learn much about the actual budget of the game.
"I really can't get into that, but there are other sources of funding that will be put together with the Kickstarter ... I can't get into specifics, but for right now I just want to keep the comment that yes, I have funding sources outside Kickstarter that I collected through my company Ys Net, and that will combine with the Kickstarter for this project," Suzuki told us back in June.
The game's budget may be variable, but without knowing how much money the team has raised in total, it's hard to know how badly we've all failed Shenmue 3. Our shame, like the game's goals, is ephemeral and hard to describe in concrete terms.
"Kickstarter's finished, so we know what the minimum budget is," Suzuki continued. "We completed the game flow at the end of August, this month we're testing the game engine for Shenmue to see how it works. The team's a lot smaller than when we was working on Shenmue 2. But the process is just beginning — at this point we only need a small team. We said we'd get it out for Christmas 2017. Now I've got to work towards that, because that's what I said."
If that doesn't inspire confidence in the project, I'm not sure what to say. It's important to keep in mind that the story won't be finished with Shenmue 3; there will be much more that needs to be said after that game is released.
Shenmue 3 may be the best-funded game in history that ends with a "To Be Continued" message or, even better, a link to a second Kickstarter so we may continue to disappoint Suzuki with our mere millions of dollars.Trailer: Shenmue 3