Sections

Shenmue 3 raised $2 million in 12 hours

Yu Suzuki's Kickstarter is a roaring success, bringing 14 years of waiting to an end

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Kickstarter campaign to raise money for Shenmue 3 has reached its $2 million funding target.

But the speed with which Shenmue 3 reached that goal is far more surprising. The campaign reached $1 million in less than 3 hours, substantially quicker than any other game to date. And that irresistible momentum carried through to today, the $2 million funding target achieved in under 12 hours.

In terms of games on Kickstarter, only Exploding Kittens comes close to this rush of interest, and that went on to raise $8.8 million. Right now, Shenmue 3's stretch goals only reach as far as $4 million. In all likelihood that won't nearly be enough.

In part, it's a consequence of spending a few minutes on-stage at Sony's E3 conference, the announcement streaming out to a vast audience of gamers across the world. For some, those old enough to remember the ill-fated but fondly remembered Dreamcast, the wait for this moment has been a torturous 14 years.

”I have dreamed of making this sequel for 14 years - it is time to bring Shenmue back”

Yu Suzuki

Yu Suzuki, the series' creator, paid tribute to his enduring fan-base in an introductory post on Kickstarter.

"If Shenmue 3 was going to get made, I wanted to make it with the fans. Through Kickstarter, I knew that could happen. Together, with Shenmue fans everywhere, I knew we could build the game that the series deserves.

"If we do not reach our funding goal, Shenmue 3 will not go forward. I know that the goal of making Shenmue 3 with the fans, and seeing Shenmue in the hands of gamers all around the world is a lofty one. We are balancing our ambitions for a grand sequel with the pragmatic realities of developing a game of this scale. It will not be easy, but I have dreamed of making this sequel for 14 years - it is time to bring Shenmue back."

While a variety of games successfully raise funding through Kickstarter, the largest amounts are generally reserved for projects that resurrect a classic IP or draw upon a rich vein of nostalgia.

Indeed, there have been two such examples in just the last few months. Bloodstained, Koji Igarashi's spiritual successor to his classic Castlevania games, became the most funded video game ever only a few days ago. And Playtonic Games has now blown past Ł2 million with Yooka-Laylee, a Banjo-Kazooie-ish 3D platformers from a team of Rare veterans.

Related stories

Saving Fallout 76

Bethesda's Pete Hines on using the lessons from The Elder Scrolls Online to fix a rare misstep for Bethesda Game Studios

By Christopher Dring

Nintendo chooses Israel for its second official store

First new outlet in 14 years now open, Tokyo stored planned for later this year

By James Batchelor

Latest comments (12)

Adam Campbell Game Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
Best news ever for me :)
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
Are there plans for the HD versions of Shenmue 1 & 2?

The property rights for Shenmue 1 and Shenmue 2 belong to SEGA, so we are not in a position to comment on that.
Seriously, Sega - if there were a license to print money, this would be it. Multi-platform HD re-release announced now, released ohhhh... 2 weeks before 3 releases. And just count the cash.

Or, y'know... Just watch everyone find a DC emulator and play it on that. Whatever... :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 16th June 2015 12:08pm

5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Tricklebank Programmer 4 years ago
I watched it go over 2 million.
I would estimate during the time I watched it that people were backing it at a rate of 1 new backer per second.
I'm really glad it's coming out :)
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (12)
Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop4 years ago
I really hate the practice of severely lowballing your budget with the hope/expectation that you're going to smash way beyond it to the amount you actually need to make the game. Especially when the KS gives no indication of the budget breakdown for what's a very nice round number (if you pitched to an investor with such a convenient figure, they'd assume you hadn't done any sums at all and had just plucked a number from your backside).

I'm reading that adjusted for inflation Shenmue 2 cost between $70m and $150m to make. Asking for just $1m sets dangerous expectations in the heads of gamers as to how much a game actually costs to make.

This Polygon article covers it in more depth http://www.polygon.com/2015/5/19/8624665/big-indie-kickstarters-are-killing-actual-indies
10Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
@Anthony: I agree with you, but I'd say the game will raise a lot more money before all is said and done. Probably not anywhere near Star Citizen numbers (of course). But I can see double or close to triple the original target. Then again, if Suzuki asked for say, $50 million just to get things off the ground, do you think he'd get anywhere close to it?

Granted, the number of backers will be more than likely be less than what a AAA game needs to do well. But we'll see where it lands once the campaign ends and if there will be post-funding pledges allowed. I'm betting there will be for those who do missed out on certain rewards or who just want to get their names in the game's credits.

That said, I think the final production budget for the game should absolutely be revealed as yes, most gamers have NO idea as to the cost or what goes into making games. Hell, someone should just film the process for something like this and post it online as an ongoing series not as a backer reward but to show how NOT easy it all is.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jamie Firth Video Games Production 4 years ago
I do think that more requirements should be mandatory for Kickstarters. This pitch has no mention of scope. design detail, actual budget (NO-ONE will be happy playing a $2m OR $4m Shenmue),
Sure, it's perfectly possible they can produce something for $2m, but I think it's disingenuous to make out like they will deliver a "Shenmue" game unless they get MUCH more funding, either above the Kickstarter goal or from an external party.
Assuming they know this, that eventually they will have to approach publishers/VCs to reach the FULL required funding, I think it's misleading to ask for $2m as if that's what it will cost to produce the game that people expect (even if they haven't given any detail whatsoever as to what that is!)
I'm fine if people say "hey, we need $2m to start this off, at which point we'll probably get other funding involved", but to NOT explain that intention (assuming that IS their intention) is wrong.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Adam Campbell Game Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
I think people either forget or simply don't appreciate just how technically ground-breaking the original title was in its $70 Million budget, for years the most expensive game ever created.

Everything had to be built from the ground up and most of it never done before. They also originally started developing the game on a previous generation console. Suzuki's team aren't exactly building Unreal Engine 4 from scratch so I'd be hard pushed to see where that sort of budget would go.

Whilst $2 million wasn't enough to make any more than a minimum viable product as suggested, I don't think its as grossly unrealistic as one might suggest with the nature of games production now. I might add, when it comes to crowd funding many are coached to set your budget really low as a form of psychology. May be controversial, but there is a reason behind it.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 16th June 2015 3:40pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jamie Firth Video Games Production 4 years ago
I might add, when it comes to crowd funding many are coached to set your budget really low as a form of psychology. May be controversial, but there is a reason behind it.
I agree with this, but I don't think it should be allowed to offer a very vague description of what people are paying for: as long as people describe what people should expect for their contribution that's fine.
I agree that people vote with their wallets and that if they're willing to donate on goodwill then that's fine. But I also think that it's in our interests as an industry to protect against people feeling cheated later on. I'm just stuck as to how we can ensure that happens!
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Adam Campbell Game Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
But I also think that it's in our interests as an industry to protect against people feeling cheated later on. I'm just stuck as to how we can ensure that happens!
A difficult one indeed, but I totally agree.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada4 years ago
Agreed with everything above. Also, disappointed in a Kickstarter being announced on the E3 stage. Probably the most egregious example of using KS as primarily a marketing tool, rather than a funding tool. Imagine if a less-loved franchise had tried that...
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Peter Bond Studying Art & Design, University of Bedfordshire4 years ago
yep, great stuff, i backed it! ;)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
Agreed with everything above. Also, disappointed in a Kickstarter being announced on the E3 stage. Probably the most egregious example of using KS as primarily a marketing tool, rather than a funding tool. Imagine if a less-loved franchise had tried that...
I agree with you James. Since this was announced at Sony's E3 show and apparently is only going to be on PS4 and PC(barring any future stretch goals) then why didn't Sony just fund the entire game from the beginning to make it exclusive to PS4? Sony obviously paid him some money to make the announcement at their show and to have the PS4 as the only console at launch. For that reason it should have just been another PS4 E3 announcement instead of the start to a kickstarter campaign.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.