A little over a year ago, we ran a poll concerning a hypothetical Shenmue III Kickstarter that showed 82 percent of respondents were not willing to contribute more than $500 toward any possible effort.
When the actual Kickstarter for Shenmue III ended Friday night, the truth is more than 99 percent of the more than 69,000 backers pledged less than $500. That didn’t matter: With an average pledge of $91, the game still closed its effort with $6,333,295 raised. (Had our poll numbers held and the remaining 82% pledged the average of $91, Shenmue III would have made over $11.4 million.)
That makes Shenmue III the video game with the most funds raised ever on the service, beating out Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. It remained well short of the nearly $8.6 million the Ouya console brought in, but Shenmue III had more backers than Ouya. The Ryo revival now holds the 6th spot under most fund raised on Kickstarter.
In recent days, new rewards, a new trailer, and more were published online in an effort to jumpstart a slow decline of pledges in recent weeks. Despite intense community criticism after an awkward Twitch Q&A in the middle of the campaign, by all accounts these recent efforts have been successful.
There remains a very long way to go before we see results from Yu Suzuki and his team. Shenmue III isn’t expected to see any release until the end of 2017. Much of the road to this cult favorite series’s next chapter will be paved with patience. But thousands who never thought this day would come are celebrating this incredible achievement.