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Sony contributing to Shenmue 3 development

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Shenmue 3 developer Ys Net will receive development help from the PlayStation team, said Sony's Gio Corsi today during the PlayStation E3 livestream.

Corsi, the director of Sony's Third-Party Production department, said that Sony first met with Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki at the 2014 Game Developers Conference to get this process started. The parties agreed to launch a Kickstarter campaign, and they set the goal at $2 million to gauge whether there was enough fan interest to justify making the game.

"If the fans come in and back it, then absolutely we're going to make this a reality," said Corsi, explaining Sony's rationale in an interview with Sid Shuman of the PlayStation Blog. Corsi added that Shenmue 3 was easily the most-requested title in the Third-Party Production team's "Building the List" initiative, a hashtag campaign in which people suggest games for Sony to bring to PlayStation platforms.

Suzuki's studio, Ys Net, launched the funding drive during Sony's E3 2015 press briefing yesterday evening. The campaign reached its goal in less than nine hours.

"Sony and PlayStation is definitely a partner in this game," said Corsi. "And it's going be run through Third-Party Production. We're going to help Ys Net get the game done. We're going to be partners on it the whole way."

Ys Net has not announced any other funding sources beyond the Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3. Suzuki said during a GDC 2011 panel that the original Shenmue, which debuted in 1999, had a production budget of $47 million — over 23 times that of the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter campaign's goal.

PlayStation's Third-Party Production team works with outside studios to bring games to PlayStation platforms. The group is also helping Capcom with Street Fighter 5; both that game and Shenmue 3 are in development for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. Ys Net currently estimates it will launch Shenmue 3 in December 2017.

At the time of writing, the game's Kickstarter campaign has pulled in more than $2.73 million from nearly 35,000 backers. Ys Net said in a Kickstarter update today that it has a number of stretch goals "all lined up."