Saturn Shenmue

Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Hey guys,

I need some help. Been reaching out to Yu Suzuki and others on Twitter in an effort to get to the bottom of Shenmue, Virtua Fighter 3, and other titles that may have been in development and/or developed for the Saturn.


Thanks to an interview linked in the above doc, we know that Shenmue/Virtua Fighter RPG was developed for Saturn both with an accelerator cartridge that enhanced 3D and for stock hardware, and it was maybe a combination of Shenmue 1&2.

Ultimately my goal is to purchase playable games from Sega, if they still (or ever) existed, but any information on this front would be swell. The Service Games book on Amazon also states that VF3 was completed for stock hardware on July 3rd, 1998, which is oddly specific, but they do not cite a source.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. In particular, I would like to get in touch with staff who may have worked on these titles.
 
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This is my holy grail of unreleased games too. Yu seems hesitant to talk about Saturn VF3, I remember he asked 1up to remove references to it in their interview with him around 2010 or so IIRC. I do hope it still exists and hasn't been discarded and lost.
 
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I would also be pleased learning more stuff about the Saturn VF 3 und the Saturn Shenmue. I am always impressed every time I see the footage of the Saturn Shenmue


if the stuff really ran on stock saturn it is super impressive.

The characters even have recognizable faces. They are rather crude compared to modern stuff of course but still way more advanced than other stuff from the 5th gen. Most of the game characters this time do not have real faces.

I am also curious how a Saturn VF3 would look. VF 2 already really looked impressive so Yu-San and his time might have worked wonders with the Saturn version of VF 3 as well.
 
OP
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T
Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
PSN
KiddMarine1
Steam
KiddMarine
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Location
Klagenfurt (Austria)
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Mafia 2, Sakura Taisen 1
PSN
wesker85
Steam
Puma085
Here is the relevant link: https://www.phantomriverstone.com/2019/11/part-1-shenmue-discussion-with-yu.html

It's from one of the actual developers, on tape, so I am taking it as a certainty.

Kidd, thanks for the tip on the Suzuki interview. https://archive.ph/35o4a I believe this is it. Unsurprising that the Bushido Blade guys came from AM2 - that game was great.

thanks for sharing the link. And I have to agree Bushido Blade 1 and 2 are really nice games. They are among my favorite fighting games on the PS1.

@KiddMarine The assembler forum thread was really a goldmine. They were some really knowledgeable people active in the forum. I learned much more stuff I did not know about.
 
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Oh god, that old awful Assembler thread :ROFLMAO: Anthaemia was always so full of BS and made stuff up all the time because they had a fetish for writing go-nowhere essay length posts.

Anyway, I'm confused what the point of this thread is. It asks for help but never elaborates specifically what help is needed?
 
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Oh god, that old awful Assembler thread :ROFLMAO: Anthaemia was always so full of BS and made stuff up all the time because they had a fetish for writing go-nowhere essay length posts.

Anyway, I'm confused what the point of this thread is. It asks for help but never elaborates specifically what help is needed?
Hi Shenhua,

Ha ha, you are right. My overall plan is to:

A.) Check the credits for Virtua Fighter 2 (arcade/Saturn), Virtua Fighter 3 (arcade), Fighters Megamix (Saturn), and Shenmue I&II (Dreamcast/Xbox, especially Xbox since that has the Saturn footage);
B.) Contact literally all of those people and politely request information, via whatever platform - Twitter, LinkedIn, personal websites, etc. etc. I see them as being the most likely to have worked on VF3/Shenmue for Saturn, and the best able to provide accurate information regarding these conversions.

There is a page in there with more specifics. In addition to needing help with the gigantic task of contacting all of these folks, I need someone in-country who is fluent in Japanese to contact Sega of Japan, since I already tried but they are unable to offer support outside of Japan. I'd also be interested in putting together a GoFundMe to just buy the things off of Sega if they still exist. The things being Shenmue, Virtua Fighter 3, and anything else that may have been in development for the accelerator cartridge (we know, for example, that Shenmue was at least partially developed for it, and it's doubtful they would have released a hardware peripheral for one game).
 

Seaman

It's SEA-MAN, you punk!
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Hi Shenhua,

Ha ha, you are right. My overall plan is to:

A.) Check the credits for Virtua Fighter 2 (arcade/Saturn), Virtua Fighter 3 (arcade), Fighters Megamix (Saturn), and Shenmue I&II (Dreamcast/Xbox, especially Xbox since that has the Saturn footage);
B.) Contact literally all of those people and politely request information, via whatever platform - Twitter, LinkedIn, personal websites, etc. etc. I see them as being the most likely to have worked on VF3/Shenmue for Saturn, and the best able to provide accurate information regarding these conversions.

There is a page in there with more specifics. In addition to needing help with the gigantic task of contacting all of these folks, I need someone in-country who is fluent in Japanese to contact Sega of Japan, since I already tried but they are unable to offer support outside of Japan. I'd also be interested in putting together a GoFundMe to just buy the things off of Sega if they still exist. The things being Shenmue, Virtua Fighter 3, and anything else that may have been in development for the accelerator cartridge (we know, for example, that Shenmue was at least partially developed for it, and it's doubtful they would have released a hardware peripheral for one game).
Welcome. You can track VF/Shenmue technology back to Virtua Racing human npcs. Also Last Bronx, Dynamite Dekka/Die Hard Arcade and a dancing game (japan exclusive. Cant recall if arcade or saturn or both but Im sure staff declared using its motion capture system some how).
I don't want to be discouraging at all, but I recommend you to use strenghts for contacting the people involved in those games and avoid Sega HQs. Because: they absolutely won't sell to no one their assets (some prototypes i.e VF3 could be reverse engineered and stole their fighting engine). This has been their lifetime position and since the Sega leak a couple of years ago they are even more reluctanct to talk about betas and the likes. When you said "if they exist" was a very good point, Sega hasn't been very careful regarding preservation. Check for Sega lost source code. Add the merges, relocations, redevelopments... You have more chances with individuals who are not under contractual compromise with Sega now.
Shenmue/VF RPG was made first without the addon in mind, then remade with the addon in mind and then finally moved to DC. So there's 2 Shenmue for Saturn. Also that Oldman demo but is not sure which hardware run that, probably it wasn't Saturn yet but a Model2 dev-station. May I know what do you think to say to them? For what purpose do you want the prototypes? That's key imo.
 
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Joined
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Welcome. You can track VF/Shenmue technology back to Virtua Racing human npcs. Also Last Bronx, Dynamite Dekka/Die Hard Arcade and a dancing game (japan exclusive. Cant recall if arcade or saturn or both but Im sure staff declared using its motion capture system some how).
I don't want to be discouraging at all, but I recommend you to use strenghts for contacting the people involved in those games and avoid Sega HQs. Because: they absolutely won't sell to no one their assets (some prototypes i.e VF3 could be reverse engineered and stole their fighting engine). This has been their lifetime position and since the Sega leak a couple of years ago they are even more reluctanct to talk about betas and the likes. When you said "if they exist" was a very good point, Sega hasn't been very careful regarding preservation. Check for Sega lost source code. Add the merges, relocations, redevelopments... You have more chances with individuals who are not under contractual compromise with Sega now.
Shenmue/VF RPG was made first without the addon in mind, then remade with the addon in mind and then finally moved to DC. So there's 2 Shenmue for Saturn. Also that Oldman demo but is not sure which hardware run that, probably it wasn't Saturn yet but a Model2 dev-station. May I know what do you think to say to them? For what purpose do you want the prototypes? That's key imo.
Hi Seaman,

Yeah that is actually what YsNet told me when I tried to get in touch - that Yu could not talk about any Sega property. Seems weird IMO, like more of an excuse. I offered to pay for his time and etc. so I didn't feel like I was being a nuisance.

I know the game you are referring to - one of the first rhythm games, and apparently they used the knowledge from making this to get to the advanced VF3 graphics through a DSP trick or etc. I don't know. My ultimate goal is the wider release of the prototypes/finished products, but I'd settle for some information straight from a reliable source at this point.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2019
You're gonna need a lot of good luck in tracking people down! It's surprising how many people involved in game development back then have gone off the grid since then. I think it's more due to mundane reasons (name changes, career changes, retirement, ect) than shame or blacklisting, tho.

IMHO, the Saturn Prototype is probably only playable on a dev kit, I doubt they ever got it to a CD. If anyone still has it, it's probably in some random ex-devs storage along with old sleds and bikes and anything else they deemed as "unimportant". Sega will never give it willingly. I'd recommend, if you get an proper interview, to NOT start out with "Yo, you got the prototype???" That's rude, and they'll no doubt be less willing to give it up, since that usually leads to legal trouble.

Now, interviewing them about Shenmue/VF in general, and then asking about it, maybe. Granted, they knew ahead of time that they wouldn't be public listed as having spilled the beans on it. Even if they aren't at Sega anymore, I doubt "giving previously confidential assets to an random no body" is gonna look good on a resume.

I don't think it's impossible to find. Just really, really hard. You'd be spending years searching for it. Talking to tons and tons of different old dudes for every single nugget of it you can find. I would highly suggest just starting off with the goal of "learning more about it" and then shifting to "getting it dumped" when you have a proper lead.

Frankly, I think finding out more about the prototypes at all would be a victory, not the one we hoped for, but still a good one. We literally haven't seen a single thing about the Akira version of Shenmue since some prototype renders were found on the Tower Of Babel Tech Demo (I talked about it on another thread), we've been starved of anything regarding it for YEARS. Even a single cookie would feel like a feast at that point.

(I had a LONGER post but it all got deleted because I wasn't logged in. Ugh. I'll type more if I get the will, I am obsessed with this version for some reason. But, either way, once again, good luck!)
 

Seaman

It's SEA-MAN, you punk!
Joined
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Location
Spain/Africa
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You're gonna need a lot of good luck in tracking people down! It's surprising how many people involved in game development back then have gone off the grid since then. I think it's more due to mundane reasons (name changes, career changes, retirement, ect) than shame or blacklisting, tho.

IMHO, the Saturn Prototype is probably only playable on a dev kit, I doubt they ever got it to a CD. If anyone still has it, it's probably in some random ex-devs storage along with old sleds and bikes and anything else they deemed as "unimportant". Sega will never give it willingly. I'd recommend, if you get an proper interview, to NOT start out with "Yo, you got the prototype???" That's rude, and they'll no doubt be less willing to give it up, since that usually leads to legal trouble.

Now, interviewing them about Shenmue/VF in general, and then asking about it, maybe. Granted, they knew ahead of time that they wouldn't be public listed as having spilled the beans on it. Even if they aren't at Sega anymore, I doubt "giving previously confidential assets to an random no body" is gonna look good on a resume.

I don't think it's impossible to find. Just really, really hard. You'd be spending years searching for it. Talking to tons and tons of different old dudes for every single nugget of it you can find. I would highly suggest just starting off with the goal of "learning more about it" and then shifting to "getting it dumped" when you have a proper lead.

Frankly, I think finding out more about the prototypes at all would be a victory, not the one we hoped for, but still a good one. We literally haven't seen a single thing about the Akira version of Shenmue since some prototype renders were found on the Tower Of Babel Tech Demo (I talked about it on another thread), we've been starved of anything regarding it for YEARS. Even a single cookie would feel like a feast at that point.

(I had a LONGER post but it all got deleted because I wasn't logged in. Ugh. I'll type more if I get the will, I am obsessed with this version for some reason. But, either way, once again, good luck!)
Mole, I have to point that you wrote an excellent post and I percieve the balance between true detailing and cheering up OP or avoiding discouragement (because proto/beta tracking is a many times discouraging task)
You also made a very good point with the cultural clash, there are normal things for us which results offensive to others. I had a previous work with the exclusive distributor of Hitachi in Canary islands and we brought a present for the Hitachi representatives and that didn't went well, they didn't like the gesture. Later the translator told us that was like trying to buy their soul :S like we think we can buy everything, everyone has a price, etc western idiosincracy.
It wasn't until recent days, lockdown days to be exact, that the movie industry took conscience about how badly we need to preservate movies and how the industry neglected this for decades. Sadly I dont see the videogame industry at this point yet. Besides the market expansion, videogames still autopercieve like a lesser product. Out of players circles, there's no concense about the state of art of videogames like say movies or music. How many times have you heard "I wish they make (put game) into a movie!" instead of recognizing the media as a single channel or way to tell stories, and reject complex, it stands against cinema and literature. I dont consider videogames lesser at all.
Sorry I went offrail, but my point: there are shame in videogames in japan today, imagine at the 90s. One Tekken developer hide the fact he worked on games to his family til Tag 2 iirc, and he was in the team since beginning. Using pseudonyms was pretty common and it wasn't for the lulz but for shame... Shame of being a Metal Slug developer at Nazca Corp. My god.

@the Sega Saturn Pope
Maybe that could be your motivation and way to trade for what you're looking for, to search for unrecognized devs and reivindicate them, tell their story and achievements. So in exchange you may get something under the desk (I mean a beta, not...nevermind)
Anyways I wish you good luck
 
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