With Shenmue HD releasing earlier this year, packaging together both Dreamcast adventure games about martial artist Ryo Hazuki searching for his father’s killer, fans were happy to see signs of life from the series beyond the oft-delayed Shenmue III releasing next year. The HD remaster, however, faced a lot of criticisms for bugs, and did little to help some of the game’s more dated textures look better.
It turns out, there might be a reason for that, as the tech savants at Digital Foundry have discovered. The outlet has obtained footage of a hereto unknown full remaster of the released Shenemue series that rides the line between remaster and remake, and looks to be far more ambitious and impressive than the HD remaster that released. According to Digital Foundry, the game was in development for quite a while, but budget constraints forced the developer to abandon the product and work on a far simpler HD update for the game in the time between cancellation in late 2017 and the game’s release two months ago.
Check out the video below for more information and a good look at the cancelled title.
It would explain some of the remaster’s odder quirks, like new bugs that focused on random objects during cutscenes, or disappearing character models during dialogue. Sega might have felt the original project was getting far too expensive, an issue with the original game they certainly didn’t want to repeat. It is also possible they simply needed the game out before the Kickstarted and independent Shenmue III releases and a remake of that scale wasn’t going to come out in time.
It’s hard to say and, as of right now, Sega has not acknowledged the video or the existence of the cancelled game. It seems possible that we’ll never know for sure, but it is kind of frustrating that we’ll probably never get the game that is in that video.
Shenmue III, which is being developed by Yu Suzuki’s team independently of Sega beyond having their blessing, has a strangely specific release date of August 27, 2019.