Late last year, Shenmue 3 finally come out after over nearly two decades of waiting. While the game got a middling reception among many, that doesn’t mean that Sega is ready to give up on the series. Apparently, fans have been compiling evidence that Shenmue 4 is being developed at the moment.
The Shenmue games tell the story of Ryo Hazuki, a young man in Japan whose father was murdered by a Chinese assassin named Lan Di. The games tell his epic story of revenge, a story that is supposedly supposed to be lasting five volumes.
The games are mainly known for their quick-time-event laden story events, their quirky mechanics, hilariously stilted voice acting, and slow pace. Many believed these factors would go away with Shenmue 3, but the game appeared practically unchanged, to a divisive response.
Shenmue 3’s release was further tainted with the E3 2019 announcement that the game would be releasing on the Epic Games Store, despite promising a Steam release in its Kickstarter page. Adding to that was the fact that refunds could not be gotten from donators who felt jilted by the announcement.
If Shenmue 4 is indeed happening, it’s quite the surprise, especially given the lukewarm critical and commercial reception. However, series creator Yu Suzuki has said he wants to continue working on it. Lakshya Digital, a studio in India, has also said on Facebook that they can’t wait to work on the next Shenmue game.
Various bits of evidence that point towards a new Shenmue game already being in production include a Famitsu article with Suzuki that he’s going to be starting work on a new open-world game in 2020, and a tweet from Shenmue 3 writer Cédric Biscay about his “next steps” after that game.
If Shenmue 4 actually will begin development this year, hopefully it will not only take less time to complete than Shenmue 3, but also be a great deal better.