The creator of Shenmue reflects on the creation of a prequel in the spirit of Yakuza 0
In 2019, after a long expectation, the release of the third part of the Shenmue franchise was held. Unfortunately, the game did not receive the response to which hopes were entrusted, but this does not mean that Yu Suzuki, its creator, has no plans for the future.
In a conversation with the IGN, the director said that the main task is to continue the franchise in such a way that it is interesting to new players and at the same time did not require knowledge of everything that was before.
I want Shenmue 4 to be interesting for beginners. To make it possible, the most important thing is to make the game interesting, not knowing the previous events of the plot. I don’t think the new player wants to know all 100 % of history. It will be enough to find out 20 or 30 %.
One of the options that the Suzuki is considering showing flashback scenes, as it was in Shenmue 3, to turn these scenes into the next game, letting the players participate in these important moments.
In Shenmue 3, we implemented a summary that introduces the player to the main events of previous games, but in Shenmue 4 I want to integrate this part in the main game. It would be great if the player could naturally learn about previous events, just playing. For example, instead of watching a separate video, you could make game flashbacks.
Another way to attract new players, the director considers the creation of a prequel, t.e. a new game preceding the whole franchise, just as Sega with Yakuza 0 did.
Yes, I thought about it [about creating a prequel]. Now I cannot go into details, but this is exactly what I was thinking. I think that the creation of a pringe with a modern visual nearby on a new engine will cost that. The idea to create a city even more detailed than in the original Shenmue, quite interesting, the more if it is not a remake, but a prequel with a new plot.
Unfortunately, the new Shenmue has not yet been developed, but, apparently, Suzuki is already considering many ideas to continue the franchise. In the meantime, the director claims that he is working on a new project, which he hopes to talk about in the near future.