Shenmue 3 developer Yu Suzuki has made it clear that Shenmue 3 will be dependent on Kickstarter funding to get made. He also plans to make changes to the Shenmue formula to make the game more accessible to all players.
In spite of Sony’s involvement and the existence of outside funding, Yu is quite clear on their reliance on Kickstarter and fans. Yu explained that $ 2 million is the bare minimum needed to make the game, and at that budget, he and Ys Net would focus on the story. Yu would only build towards making an open world if they received more backing. $ 10 million will net fans a true open world, but even $ 5 million alone will ensure the inclusion of a very key feature of the game.
Yu was also forthcoming about his struggles trying to get the game made. He decided to go forward with the project after seeing how much fans were getting despondent about the game ever happening. Sega gave their blessing, and Sony also expressed support, although you may remember from Sony’s end that they explained Yu was insistent that he depend on fan backing. Yu did look for companies to partner to make the game, but apparently he had specific criteria for those companies and did not find one to meet them (including Sony).
What can fans expect is the bare minimum Yu will make in Shenmue 3? For starters, the open world won’t be wider to explore, but it will have more depth, in terms of making each inch matter. Shenhua will have an advanced AI, with her behavior changing as you talk to her more and pursue different quests.
Yu originally added QTEs to make fighting easier, and he has other ideas to simplify them further. Free battles will revolve around Technique Scrolls, so fans will focus on choosing the right scrolls instead of having to meet steep gaming skill requirements.
Yu hopes to add the minigames, such as gambling, into the game to, but in a way that ties in to the bigger story. And yes, he’ll add the forklifts in too, somehow.
If everything goes according to plan, Shenmue 3 will release on Windows and PlayStation 4 by the end of 2017.