A haze has appeared over Shenmue 3 . One that honestly was apparent from the moment it appeared during Sony’s E3 2015 press conference. It has come to light that Sony will be contributing money toward the creation of Yu Suzuki’s game. The amount of money hasn’t been revealed, but perhaps it doesn’t matter. While it does raise ethical issues, perhaps this is a situation where such additional support isn’t tainting the title as much as it seems.
I mean, it could be something similar to the Sony Pub Fund approach. That’s a program where the company puts together different deals for different independent developers to assist in getting the game going in exchange for appearances on PlayStation platforms. In some of those cases, developers already contributed money of their own to the project or have an existing title, and the Pub Fund is supplemental support. Since Shenmue 3 is something wholly new, it may need an additional level of support that it wasn’t able to secure through its deal with Sony.
There’s also the case of demand. We see many petitions for games on the internet. Devotees can be rabid. But it’s only with crowdfunding endeavors for games like Yooka-Laylee and Bloodstained that we can acertain the true fervor of fans. Raising such a large amount of money from such a volume of people proves Shenmue 3 ‘s viability, and could very well influence the level of support gained from the Sony partnership. I mean, this was a 15 year old series that was niche, even in its time. Who knew the true intentions of those clamoring for a comeback?
Plus, this is hardly a case of the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter starting something new. Rather, there’s an existing precedent. Mighty No. 9 is being published by Deep Silver. The hugely successful Bloodstained had other publishers backing it. Instead, it’s another crowdfunding trend – securing a small portion of the budget to in turn prove to a larger entity that it’s safe to contribute the rest of the funds needed to complete a project.
Besides, nobody seems to have a problem with it. At least, as of 8pm CT on June 19, 2015, over 42,000 people had no problem with it. They’re still getting an assortment of rewards for their contributions. It will mean a game they’ve wanted for years will be made. Cliffhangers will finally be resolved. It’s just a case where they’ll be paying for it earlier, and perhaps paying less than people who waited. Also, they’ll be getting various exclusive bonuses.
Is the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter dubious? It wouldn’t be difficult to say yes. Is it evil? No. In this particular instance, the final product may be worth a little shadiness if some die-hard fans who have been craving resolution for 14 years will finally get some closure. For these people, it may be worth some questionable decisions and waiting until nearly 2018.