It’s got a new trailer, a new publisher… so why the poker face?
We’re not worried by trailers featuring expressionless characters. Ben looks like that every day.
After 17 years, Lan Di was probably pretty confident he’d got away with the murder of Iwao Hazuki back on Dreamcast. But he shouldn’t be so sure now. A new trailer for Shenmue III shows our revenge-seeking hero, Ryo, fighting fit on PS4 and PC. But not everybody’s been crying tears of joy. First, let’s just recap what the game is. Shenmue is a mega-budget, super-detailed action-RPG from legendary game director Yu Suzuki, where you walk and street-fight around suburban Japan, trying to piece together information about the identity and whereabouts of your father’s killer. The game started life as the ‘Virtua Fighter RPG’, and that’s still a fitting description, despite it becoming its own game. By the end of Shenmue II, Ryo had made it to China, and that’s exactly where Shenmue III picks up the story.
Ryo can be seen sparring with two new characters in new footage. And since Virtua Fighter 6 is but a glint in Sega’s eye, the prospect of Suzuki-authored brawling on PS4 is massively exciting. However, while the environments look pretty, Ryo’s facial expression doesn’t change throughout the footage, which has… raised eyebrows. You could argue it’s authentic for our hero not to display any emotion (we were literally shouting “just kiss her you fool!” at his stupid face back in 2000), but Suzuki explained the characters are “still temp data”, so Ryo and Shenhua should look better later. They need to. Still, the footage feels like a Shenmue game, which is no mean feat considering the multi-generational leap. With an open-world game reportedly proving too ambitious for the funds raised by the 2015 Kickstarter and Sony partnership, publisher Deep Silver has stepped in, affording the project more resources. Suzuki’s team may be smaller than in the ’90s, but the compromises should be fewer. Missing the irony completely, some have been asking Suzuki about Shenmue IV. “If I can, I want to,” comes the cautious response. Let’s just get III finished first, yeah? Don’t count your capsule toys before they’ve hatched. Or something.
He’s been wearing that same leather jacket for some 17 years now. And the same plaster on his cheek. Eew.
While Ryo wasn’t entertained by the old man’s Frankie Howerd impression, he was impressed at the evenness of his snowy-white buzz-cut.
There’s something magical about seeing Ryo practicing his martial arts, just like he used to. Maybe too much like he used to – the animation is rather stiff right now.