It’s wild that Shenmue and its first sequel, long cult classics that required both a Dreamcast and Xbox to play, are now available on current platforms. That said, the HD collection shipped with a few bugs, some of which remain today. However, the possible explanation behind those bugs makes things more interesting. According to a report from Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, the team that made the Shenmue I & II collection was working on much more substantial remakes before scaling back to what was eventually released.
Here’s the video.
The best part about this report is that it’s paired with hard video evidence, which Digital Foundry says it “received.” The video contains footage of both Shenmue games, largely of some of each game’s environments.
The videos show significant improvements to the visuals, with new lighting, new assets, 3D geometry and more. Everything is in the same place as the originals, but otherwise it almost looks like a new game. The Shenmue II footage isn’t as beefy, but it’s likely that the sequel had much less progress before the plug was pulled by Sega.
The full reason why this project was cancelled in favor of a remaster using the original Shenmue assets isn’t available, but Digital Foundry claims there is word that this project was in development for a while, but was ultimately canned due to budget and time issues.
Shenmue in general is quite an undertaking, as we’ve seen with multiple delays to the third title, which now has a release date of August 27, 2019.