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Ryo's Journey is only at 40%


During an interview prior to the release of Shenmue III, VG247 asked Yu Suzuki if the game would bring the story to a conclusion.

In an interview yesterday with Suzuki, I asked him if Shenmue 3 will be a conclusion to the story. In response, Suzuki took out his water bottle and placed it on the table between us and pointed to about the halfway point.

"Whole story of this bottle, about here [sic]," Suzuki said via translator. I asked if he meant halfway. "40 percent," Suzuki responded.

According to Yu Suzuki, Shenmue III only represents 40% of Ryo's journey. This implies that Ryo's adventure is far from over and we haven't even reached the halfway point of the story.

Today, I want to delve into this intriguing topic of Ryo's journey being at 40%. I'll discuss what I believe Yu Suzuki might do and what, in my opinion, would be the best course of action at this point. Additionally, we'll explore our expectations for the future of this incredible franchise and much more.

From Suzuki's statement, it's clear that there is still 60% of Shenmue's story left to unfold. Many loyal Shenmue fans patiently waited for 18 years for Shenmue III. Personally, as a Shenmue fan since 2015, I didn't have to endure such a long wait, as I completed Shenmue II for the first time in 2017.

Some dedicated Shenmue fans have waited so long that they now desire the series to conclude with Shenmue IV. I understand why some people crave a resolution at this point. However, with 60% of Shenmue's story still remaining, is it truly in the best interest of the narrative to conclude it in the next game? This question has always lingered in my mind.

In my opinion, the only way Shenmue IV could provide a conclusion is if Yu Suzuki further trims down the story, perhaps by employing a time skip and other narrative devices to hasten its progression. As someone who creates stories myself, compromising one's vision for the sake of expediency saddens me. It's disheartening to witness how many elements Yu Suzuki had to sacrifice due to the lack of suitable opportunities.

My concern is that rushing the game and prematurely concluding the Shenmue series might result in a subpar ending. While we would attain closure, it might leave fans disappointed due to the rushed nature of the conclusion.

Perhaps Shenmue IV will be the final installment in the series. If this turns out to be the case, I believe Shenmue IV needs to be the most substantial game in the series. Even if Yu Suzuki chooses to wrap up the story in the fifth game, I anticipate significant narrative progress in Shenmue IV.

In my view, concluding Shenmue simply for the sake of closure is not the right approach. Yu Suzuki should have the freedom to shape Shenmue as he desires. I hope he can bring the story to a satisfying conclusion in a manner that satisfies his creative vision, as it is ultimately his tale to tell.

To me, Shenmue represents a deliberately paced narrative. It's not solely about Ryo seeking vengeance for his father; it encompasses so much more. Shenmue delves into the relationships Ryo forms and the lessons he learns from the people he encounters along his journey. It's a tale of personal growth and numerous other themes. The destination is not the most crucial aspect; rather, it's the joy of experiencing this magnificent and epic journey step by step.

Considering the current circumstances, I believe the optimal decision would be to conclude the series with Shenmue V. I believe this would lead to a more satisfying and fitting ending. However, if Yu Suzuki decides to conclude the series with Shenmue IV, I will respect and understand his reasons.

I have plans to discuss this topic in more detail in a future blog post, focusing on when would be the most suitable time to conclude the Shenmue series.

Through today's post, I wanted to share this significant information that Ryo's journey is only 40% complete and express my feelings about it.

Were you aware that Ryo's journey is at 40%? How do you feel about this? Do you believe it's possible to achieve a satisfying ending to the Shenmue series in Shenmue IV? I'm interested in hearing your opinion on this fascinating subject, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you all for reading, and remember to cherish your friends and loved ones. See you in my next blog post. Goodbye. Hiki~


James Brown

Jul 23, 2018
Great post Hiki, and a very important fact of the Shenmue series going forth. I am in total agreement that with 60% of the story left to tell, a rushed ending to this magnificent series would harm its legacy. I am also not wanting a conclusion for conclusions sake...I am fully supportive of the narrative all the way through to tell the best possible epic story as Yu Suzuki originally intended :)


Sep 8, 2018
Were you aware that Ryo's journey is at 40%?
No, I wasn't. Moreover it was one of my many doubts concerning the series.

How do you feel about this?
Admiring YS commitment with his idea. He could easily have said "oh, with all the kind of problems I ran into, S4 will be the end of it and rushy-rushy" and we still would say "sigh, thank you for confirming S4 then". But instead he states less than half of the epic has been unrolled.
This is a really encouraging point. Thank you, Hiki.

Do you believe it's possible to achieve a satisfying ending to the Shenmue series in Shenmue IV?
Not that I wish to, but yes. For some, It would be a satisfying closure. If they commit to it and a team of good writters it could be done. I talking about pure storytelling and tension management.
The posterior showcasing of canned/cut content for achieving that compression would be devastating for fans.
Imagine the "there's no Miao Village/They canned Baisha" tripled :(
Sep 7, 2018
It all depends on the possibilities and resources they have... Best scenario: Nothing compromised, of course, but realistically,
I rather a summary with the most possible important plot moments before than nothing? Yes.

At least if they work with S3/something as a base, I think that the things that can be compromised argumentally are less.
Jul 31, 2018
Shenmue 3 moved the dial from 35% to 40% at most. If they had to make major cuts (Baisha) they should have worked more story in another way. YS thought we missed more forklifts more. Bad mistake imo.