110 Industries & Yu Suzuki

Spaghetti

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Sep 21, 2018
I can imagine plenty of benefits from some level of collaboration (sharing of ideas/tech) between companies even it’s not a full on co-development). After all, Ryan Payton provided input for the development of Shenmue 3 (and hopefully will again for future projects).

Hopefully, Yu Suzuki is open to advice and expertise on streamlining the development process so as to get the most from whatever budget may be assigned.

Without discarding the values of the Shenmue franchise, this needs to be a slightly more mainstream game in order to attract the additional sales required for the series to be completed.
Yu is definitely susceptible to suggestions. It was actually Ryan Payton who suggested cuts to Shenmue III's opening (and cops to a little bit of the blame for the abruptness in the finished product), our very own Peter & others who got an option to turn off the picture frame/crosshair thing in Shenmue III's first person mode, and Yu's right hand man Keiji Okayasu who pushed for the Choubu-Chan hunt.

I know Yu is considered a video game auteur and a singular creative vision, but no man is an island. Any true creative knows they need feedback anyway, not only to road test their own ideas but to be inspired by the ideas of others.

As for making Shenmue more "mainstream"... I think most of us have the same general idea of what that would mean, but I've always rejected terms like "mainstream" and "modern" in the context of Shenmue. What I would like to happen next time is a refounding of its core gameplay concepts; like a F.R.E.E 2.0. That doesn't mean the next Shenmue has to be what the original was to 1999, but rather attempt a contemporary reimagining that stays true to the spirit.

Won't bore anybody with my pitch again, but imagine if the next game was unshackled from linear quest progression and you could follow up multiple objectives at your leisure. There were flashes of this in the original games, but I'd love for them to commit and just do away with simple A to B to C to D progression.
 
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Aug 19, 2018
Yu is definitely susceptible to suggestions. It was actually Ryan Payton who suggested cuts to Shenmue III's opening (and cops to a little bit of the blame for the abruptness in the finished product)

Can you elaborate on this? It’s been a while since I listened to Dojo’s interview with Ryan, but I can’t recall him advising Yu to curtail opening of Shenmue 3?

I do recall the game was going to have much more new gameplay/systems but Ryan advised Yu to make it much closer to the original games (I believe it was originally 70/30) in breakdown.
 
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Jul 27, 2018
I believe it was something along the lines of the very start off Shenmue 3 taking to long, specifically the walk down from Shenhua's house to the Verdant Bridge of the first time. I think Ryan recommended taking out a few conversations on the way down, thus in the game you see it cut to black which really was off putting for some people when they first started playing the game (I noticed it and thought it was very strange for example).
 
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spud1897

spud1897

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I believe it something along the lines of the very start off Shenmue 3 taking to long, specifically the walk down from Shenhua's house to the Verdant Bridge of the first time. I think Ryan recommended taking out a few conversations on the way down, thus in the game you see it cut to black which really was off putting for some people when they first started playing the game (I noticed it and thought it was very strange for example).
As above. @code l name
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2018
I believe it something along the lines of the very start off Shenmue 3 taking to long, specifically the walk down from Shenhua's house to the Verdant Bridge of the first time. I think Ryan recommended taking out a few conversations on the way down, thus in the game you see it cut to black which really was off putting for some people when they first started playing the game (I noticed it and thought it was very strange for example).

Thanks for clarification both. While I can understand Ryan’s desire to get into the game faster, I truly feel after the opening in the cave, those fades to black really made for a disjointed first impression of Shenmue 3. It immediately felt like the presentation took a downgrade from first two games, which outside an occurrence of it happening with Shenhua shortly after never happened again. It’s an odd choice and I truly feel there was a better way to get this information across to players without it feeling as haphazard.
 

Spaghetti

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I can understand wanting to get players in control sooner, but there are more elegant ways to do it tbh, and I might have preferred just having the walk down to Bailu as intended. Or just rolling that dialogue into an extended opening cutscene. Sounds like it was quite a late suggestion in any case, and sometimes you have to just make it work.

Letting players interact as soon as possible is important for games, but you have to balance it with letting your narrative establish itself, and if you have an exciting enough hook you'll find that usually players will sit and let you tell your story for a little bit.

So if I were shaping the opening of Shenmue IV... (spoilered if nobody wants to be bored to death by my fan fiction, lol)

We see a starry night sky fade up from black.

YSNET PRESENTS

Hot, glowing embers travel on the wind. The sound of crackling fire picks up. The camera pans around to show the old fortress from the ending of Shenmue III, burning. The building shifts and buckles as part of the roof collapses.

Ryo's face, sweating from the heat of the fire, dirty with soot... and just a little bit of blood. Reverse on Lan Di's face, set like stone, barely breaking a sweat at all.

Ryo lunges in attack. Lan Di dodges everything Ryo throws at him, and sends him falling to the ground with a single blow.

"You really have a death wish, don't you?"

Lan Di reaches down and lifts Ryo by the neck, just as he did in the opening of the original. Ryo thrashes and chokes.

"Then allow me to reunite you with your father"

We see a wide shot of Lan Di choking Ryo, pulling back through the burning ruins collapsing through the room. There's a crack and tumble of wood, then suddenly -

- Ryo's eyes jolt open and he wakes with a start. He's not in a burning castle in Niaowu, but next to a campfire in a small abandoned guard outpost along the Great Wall. Sleeping on opposite sides of the fire are Shenhua, and Ren with his back turned to them.

Ryo pulls himself up and walks to a long opening in the outpost building to stare at the moon and stars. It isn't long before Shenhua joins him. Ryo apologises for waking her up, but Shenhua doesn't mind.

She asks what woke him up. Two dialogue options spring open in the top left of the screen.

-----

[Option 1: I had a nightmare]

[Affinity with Shenhua +1]

Ryo explains his nightmare about Lan Di. He's worried he can't face him and win, when it happens again. Shenhua questions whether Lan Di is even alive after the collapse of the castle, but deep down Ryo just knows he is.

Ryo quietly admits to Shenhua that without Ren, he would have died at Lan Di's hands.

We cut to across the room and show Ren with his eyes closed, but smiling. He's been awake and listening this whole time.

[Affinity with Ren +1]

Ryo notices Shenhua is looking forlorn and asks her what's wrong. Shenhua says she's just missing her father and wishes they had more time together before parting.

We flash back to either the boat or at the start of the Great Wall, where Shenhua and her father have an intimate moment and he tells her to keep travelling with Ryo to find out about her lineage and their destiny together.

When we cut back, day is breaking. Ryo and Shenhua let the light creep up them from the rising sun. Ren loudly yawns and rolls over, complaining that it's morning already.

[Option 2: It's nothing]

Ryo kindly, but clearly, makes it clear he doesn't want to talk about it.

Ryo notices Shenhua is looking forlorn and asks her what's wrong. Shenhua says she's just missing her father and wishes they had more time together before parting.

We flash back to either the boat or at the start of the Great Wall, where Shenhua and her father have an intimate moment and he tells her to keep travelling with Ryo to find out about her lineage and their destiny together.

When we cut back, day is breaking. Ryo and Shenhua let the light creep up them from the rising sun. Ren loudly yawns and rolls over, complaining that it's morning already.

-----

White ends of firewood smoke and glow in the extinguished remains, as the three depart the outpost to continue their new journey. We cut to an exterior shot of the guard outpost that pulls back and pans around a little to reveal a picturesque landscape on a beautiful morning; the Great Wall snaking along the hillside with settlements, towns, and mountains beyond - with Ryo, Shenhua, and Ren making their way towards them.

A gust of wind rattles the trees and vegetation, and blows across the screen a fine grain of earth and gold dust that forms the logo.

SHENMUE IV
 
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Thanks for clarification both. While I can understand Ryan’s desire to get into the game faster, I truly feel after the opening in the cave, those fades to black really made for a disjointed first impression of Shenmue 3. It immediately felt like the presentation took a downgrade from first two games, which outside an occurrence of it happening with Shenhua shortly after never happened again. It’s an odd choice and I truly feel there was a better way to get this information across to players without it feeling as haphazard.
I’d be very surprised if Ryan’s suggestion was to cut it all up and link it back together with dips to black. In fact, if the rest of the cut-scene direction in Shenmue 3 is anything to go by, I’d wager that the dips to black were already there in some capacity prior to Ryan’s suggestion.

In an ideal world, that whole section would have just been player controlled with Ryo and Shenhua talking automatically as players made their way down the hill toward the village, maybe with a cutscene kicking in when they reach the point where they stop to look out over the village.

Setting the scene is certainly an important part of storytelling and I do get what they were going for with that section, but the execution left a lot to be desired. The dips to black played a part in that, but, IMO, the ham-fisted writing and awkward voice acting was for more problematic.
 

Spaghetti

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Sep 21, 2018
I’d be very surprised if Ryan’s suggestion was to cut it all up and link it back together with dips to black.
No, but sometimes the quickest way to make changes are the only way they get made at all if you're tight on time and resources. The dips to black are elsewhere in the game but nowhere near as frequent as in that opening hour.

Nobody's really assigning any blame. We all know how strained the team were getting the game done.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
I'd have to listen to the interview again, but I had the impression it wasn't just dialogue that was cut at the beginning but some basic tutorial tasks Shenhua gave to Ryo such as picking herbs. That may provide a better explanation as to why the fades to black happened, but maybe not. Could've definitely been the last-minute nature of the change.
 

SplashBreeze

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I think we forget that 110 don't necessarily have to be our only way to get shenmue 4. Josh Fairhurst literally said he'd fund shenmue 4 if he has to.

This isn't exactly accurate. Josh said he would fund Shenmue 5, if Shenmue 4 came out and the publisher didn't elect to move ahead with the final game. He said he had the means to raise funds for one Shenmue game.
 
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I have question. Is a second Kickstarter viable? Most people who funded Shenmue 3 I think are diehards like us but this time we wouldn't have a lot of outside help from the general public. Because of Shenmue 3's poor reception. I do think YS Net should at least try the Kickstarter route because the community could raise SOMETHING together. That coupled with an outside investment could totally fund Shenmue 4. Also we don't know what YS Net got in exchange for Apple Arcade exclusivity on Air Twister. So the Kickstarter amount might be lower than before.
 
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I have question. Is a second Kickstarter viable? Most people who funded Shenmue 3 I think are diehards like us but this time we wouldn't have a lot of outside help from the general public. Because of Shenmue 3's poor reception. I do think YS Net should at least try the Kickstarter route because the community could raise SOMETHING together. That coupled with an outside investment could totally fund Shenmue 4. Also we don't know what YS Net got in exchange for Apple Arcade exclusivity on Air Twister. So the Kickstarter amount might be lower than before.
I think a kickstarter for Shenmue 4 wouldn't work - it would probably foster more negativity and sink the franchise for good - but a kickstarter for Shenmue 5 probably would, however, I also think a publisher is more likely to pay for the final game as there would be interest in how it ends.

Having said that, I believe Suzuki has been quoted as saying he wouldn't do it again. If he was, I don't see why developing other games (such as Air Twister) would make sense. The later you leave the kickstarter, the less interest - and justification for kickstarter funding - there'll be.
 
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