On Wednesday, Shenmue franchise mastermind Yu Suzuki took to Kickstarter to address growing criticism surrounding the crowdsourcing efforts of Shenmue III–currently at over $3.6 million across more than 45,000 backers–as revelations outside investors were funding the revival spread.
Mr. Suzuki apologized for not directly addressing the matter earlier, and directly stated Sony along with Shibuya Productions, a little known Monaco based firm that is also developing an Astro Boy reboot, are financially involved with the revival. Though Mr. Suzuki did not disclose the terms of the deals, he noted they do allow more of the Kickstarter money to go directly to development, and hitting $10 million in pledges will allow Shenmue III to have “a much larger, completely open world” to explore.
His words in full from the Kickstarter update are below:
There have been many questions concerning Shenmue 3’s budget and what outside sources will be added to the money collected through Kickstarter. I apologize for not having been more forthright in this area and would like to take this opportunity to help clarify the situation.
Ys Net and I have been putting in many long years trying to find a way to bring back a sequel that so many fans have waited so long for. After learning of Kickstarter, I knew it would be possible to get Shenmue 3 started. Wanting to make the best game possible, I also knew that I would have to look to more traditional means to obtain all the funds that would be needed to create the game I had envisioned.
Sony and Shibuya Productions have been wonderful partners because they believe in Shenmue and want to see the best for the fans and the game. Their investment in (and support of) Shenmue have helped to realize a sequel that will stand proud with its predecessors. While it is not business practice to discuss the specific details of such arrangements, I can say that with their assistance on the production and marketing end, and in Sony’s case with some publishing support as well, Ys Net is able to use more of the money we collect through Kickstarter purely for Shenmue 3’s development. It is also important to note that your funds are going strictly to Ys Net for development of Shenmue 3 – Sony and Shibuya Productions are not seeing a cent of your Kickstarter dollars.
The outpouring of support from all of you, the backers, has been so inspirational. I cannot thank you enough. Having reached our funding goal, I am excited to say that the Shenmue story will go on, and our journey with Ryo and Shenhua will continue. Fans will be able to enjoy the sequel they have waited so long for, and newcomers to the series will be introduced to a unique gaming experience.
Of course, like with any Kickstarter, additional funding will only help us make a better game. On top of everything Shenmue 3 will already bring, the Stretch Goals that I have laid out will add extra quests, events, and new gameplay systems that will make the game even more immersive and take the series to the next level. At the $5 million mark, there will be an all new gameplay feature I would be excited to be able to add to the Shenmue legacy. If we should make the $10 million Stretch Goal, a much larger, completely open world will be yours to explore.
Even if these Stretch Goals are not reached, Shenmue 3 will already be a sequel true to its name, and one we can all be proud of. It is my hope though, that together we can make this Shenmue just as revolutionary as the first two were.
I understand this statement may by late in coming. Going forward, we wish to be as open as possible concerning the game’s development. I would like to again ask for your cooperation and support in helping make Shenmue 3 the best that it can be.
Reaction to these remarks from backers and observers have remained overwhelmingly supportive.