Gamers are just hours away from getting their hands on the highly-anticipated third entry in the Shenmue franchise. Those looking for formal reviews, however, will need to wait a bit longer. Reports have surfaced that the review embargo for Shenmue III lifts on November 21st, a full two days after the game’s worldwide release. This, of course, means that many players will explore the game well before media outlets are able to publish their thoughts on the final product.
This curious move is the latest in a long series of highs and lows for the game’s development. Upon its announcement in 2015, Shenmue III raised over $6 million to become the biggest video game campaign in Kickstarter’s history, and additional crowdfunding in the following years raking in an additional million. The game then suffered several delays as development progressed, pushing its release well past its original 2017 estimate. Earlier this year, the sudden decision to make the game an Epic Game Store exclusive on PC prompted refunds to be issued to dissatisfied backers, and this
Ultimately, one can only speculate on the reason behind this extended embargo. In general, especially in the film and video game industries, an embargo of this nature indicates a lack of confidence in the product, an attempt to launch as lucratively as possible before word-of-mouth kicks in. That said, many hands-on previews of the game have been positive and expressed optimism, so if you’re still on the fence about picking it up, wait and see how the world reacts to it – just don’t be surprised if you hear from your favorite Twitch streamers before your preferred news outlets.
Shenmue III arrives on PlayStation 4 and PC tomorrow.