Press conference reveals all
You may recall our original news post regarding the announcement of one “Shenmue City” for Yahoo Mobage in Japan. There was one key factor that was missing: nobody knew what, exactly, “Shenmue City” was, outside of the vague moniker of a “social game”. The air was finally cleared yesterday morning as Yu Suzuki, Sunsoft representatives, and even Segata Sanshiro himself took the stage in Japan to once and for all pull back the curtain on what Shenmue City really is.
Based around the first chapter of Shenmue, It would seem that you do not play as Ryo Hazuki – instead, you play as another character training at Hazuki Dojo. The game is broken up in to three core modes: Search, Event, and Kung-Fu. By selecting “Search”, your character helps Ryo uncover more elements of Shenmue‘s storyline, which adds new missions to the “Event” section. Events generally culminate in a fight with a powerful boss character. How well you do in the fight is determined by how much you’ve trained in the “Kung-Fu” mode, which allows you to not only strengthen your skills as a fighter, but strengthen the power of the dojo overall (which indirectly strengthens Ryo, apparently). Should you get strong enough, you break out and start your own dojo, and at that point you can even challenge other players within Shenmue City to see who’s dojo is the most powerful. And, given that this is Shenmue, one can expect to take part time jobs and use the money to buy capsule toys, too.
The end result sounds very similar to the Facebook social game juggernaut Mafia Wars – but instead of mobster tropes and a life of crime, Shenmue City places you in the role of a up-and-coming kung-fu master presumably helping Ryo Hazuki stop Lan Di and the Chinese Cartel from doing whatever bad stuff was going to happen in Shenmue – or, at least, that’s the plan, given that Shenmue City is only going to cover the events of the first Shenmue game. Should Shenmue City prove popular enough, series’ creator Yu Suzuki says there’s a possibility that the storyline could continue through the events of Shenmue 2 and beyond.
Unfortunately, at this time, there’s no information on how likely it would be for Shenmue City to land stateside. The game is intended to debut on Yahoo Mobage, allowing users to play Shenmue City on both their mobile phones and home PCs, but whether the game could be distributed via Facebook, the english Yahoo equivalent, or Sega’s own PlaySega site is currently unknown. Given that Shenmue 2 very nearly did not make it in to English, it’s not looking likely.