Yu Suzuki, the creator of the Shenmue series, staged an AMA on Reddit yesterday evening and revealed that 11 chapters make up the full Shenmue story, which returns soon with the Kickstarted Shenmue 3.
This varies from some Shenmue fans' original understanding that the entire story comprised 16 chapters, though Suzuki had said as far back as 2010 that 11 made up the full story. He reiterated that in the AMA.
"There are a total of 11 chapters that make up the whole story," Suzuki said, in reply to a fan asking if Shenmue 3 would fit Suzuki's original vision for the game or make major compromises.
"Over the past 14 years I originally planned for there to 4 or five games to the series," Suzuki said. "If at all possible, I would still like to realize the full story of 11 chapters."
Shenmue, which launched in 2000 on the Dreamcast, was considered the first chapter of the saga. The second chapter of the story was delivered in a manga set between it and Shenmue 2 (2001). Shenmue 2 constitues chapters 3 through 5, so Shenmue 3 runs chapter 6 to some unknown point.
Shenmue 3 was announced, although not in the traditional sense, at Sony's E3 news conference on Monday. Right now, it's just a Kickstarter — albeit an extraordinarily successful one, bagging $3.4 million in crowd-funding with still 27 days left. The original goal was $2 million, beaten in less than nine hours, and Sony has said it will provide development support.
"I will say this: if we reach the $5 mil mark, one of the things I really want to do with Shenmue 3 will become a reality," Suzuki told Redditors, cryptically. "At $10 million, it will truly have the features of an open world."