It wasn’t long ago that Kickstarter saw a best-seller make a new record, as Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained: Ritual of the Damned, inspired by his previous Castlevania games, cleaned up with an astonishing $5.5 million raised. However, there’s a new king in town – and his name is Yu Suzuki.
Last month, during the Sony press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, game producer Suzuki announced a new campaign for the long-awaited third chapter in his Shenmue saga through Kickstarter. It started off very well, clearing its $2 million goal in just under 24 hours. And now, with the campaign coming to a close today, it’s reaching a record for the crowdfunding site, around $6.3 million.
Shenmue has been the stuff of fandom legend for years, with the original game making its debut on the Sega Dreamcast console, followed by the sequel, which came to Microsoft’s Xbox platform. Since then, Sega lost interest in the series, but Suzuki always felt it needed a proper conclusion – and it seems that the fans agree.
While Shenmue holds a record in terms of video game funding, Exploding Kittens, a hilarious board game, continues to be the top funded game with $8.78 million raised overall. Still, there’s no denying that Suzuki’s project has a lot of buzz going behind it – even though it’s short of the producer’s originally intended $10 million goal.
Still, Suzuki was very shocked with the Kickstarter success, according to his recent interview with Game Informer. “The thing that really surprised me first about the Kickstarter was the crash that happened. Kickstarter broke — that was a big surprise. I couldn’t believe that! The second one was how fast it went to $1 million. Apparently, it is the fastest game or entertainment project on Kickstarter to reach that number,” he said.
Still, there are slight concerns about the game, regarding a few areas. First, it didn’t reach Suzuki’s desired funding of $10 million, leaving some wondering if corners will be cut. Secondly, Ys Net, the holders to the rights to Shenmue, didn’t know if it would be getting a retail release, according to IGN. “Whether Shenmue III will be available for retail or not is current unconfirmed,” said the company. (However, backers can still acquire a retail copy for themselves through the Kickstarter campaign, provided they hurry and pay today.)
Whatever the case, the return of Ryo Hazuki and company should be quite a pleasant one for fans of the series. Shenmue III is projected to arrive in December 2017, though with games it’s likely that we won’t see it until 2018. A new trailer can be found below.