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Shenmue 3 delayed until 2018

Personal video message from Yu Suzuki breaks the news to Kickstarter backers

Shenmue 3 Ys Net
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Shenmue 3 the most-funded Kickstarter video game project of all time, has been delayed into the second half of 2018.

In a short video message delivered by Yu Suzuki, the designer said that new technologies have made the game better than he could have hoped for. They have also increased his team’s development time.

“We unfortunately must delay its release,” said Suzuki in a formal statement delivered against a sterile white wall. “By utilizing new technologies we have been able to discover new possibilities and expressions. In many ways the game has become bigger and more beautiful than I initially expected. We do, however, need more time to deliver the game to you.”

Shenmue 3 was initially pitched on Kickstarter with a delivery date of December 2017. That helped it to close with more than $6.3 million in backer dollars in July, 2015. The game is expected for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

“In order to achieve the game concept you supported and my sixteen year-long personal dream, we have revised the development schedule,” Suzuki said. “We are moving ahead with a plan to release the game in the second half of 2018. Details will be revealed in the backer report later this month.”

Shenmue 3 sparked controversy when it launched on Kickstarter. It was the first crowdfunding campaign to be pitched live on stage from E3, and took up a significant portion of the Sony press conference in 2015. It also had an opaque funding method that included an unknown amount of money from outside sources, including Sony. It started an industry-wide conversation about transparency and the reality of making a AAA-quality game on a crowdfunding budget.

Since 2015, Kickstarters for video games have been on the decline. In 2016, the revenue earned by successful video game projects was down nearly 60 percent.

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