Shenmue fans are going on 17 years without a new entry in the Yu Suzuki-directed RPG series, and that wait seems ready to extend to 18 years. Deep Silver today announced that the release window for Shenmue III has been pushed back to 2019.
"The extra time will be used to polish the quality of the game even further, to the high standards it deserves and release the product in the best possible timeframe," the company said.
The sequel was Kickstarted in mid-2015 with an estimated release date of December 2017. It remains the most successful gaming Kickstarter ever in terms of money raised, bringing in $6.3 million for a project that initially set a $2 million goal. (In terms of quantity of backers, its 69,320 supporters trails a number of titles; Double Fine Adventure/Broken Age holds the high mark there with 87,142 backers.)
Suzuki commented on the delay in an update to the game's Kickstarter campaign, saying, "To all of our backers, we are very sorry for the delay. After much discussion with our partners, Deep Silver, we have concluded that extending the release will allow us to deliver Shenmue III at its best. We promise to use this time to improve the quality of Shenmue III. We cannot thank you enough for your enduring support."
The original Shenmue debuted on the Sega Dreamcast in Japan in 1999 before making its way to North America and Europe the next year. The sequel hit Japanese and European Dreamcasts in 2001, but North American fans had to wait until 2002 for an Xbox port to introduce the game to the region.