Update: 4:49 p.m.: Kotaku reports that Sony is a “partner” on Shenmue III.
We knew people were pretty excited to hear of the possibility of role-playing series Shenmue coming back to continue its epic story of revenge, forklift racing, and the relentless pursuit of sailors after a 14-year break, but we had no idea it was this big. The Kickstarter drive to crowdfund development of Shenmue III has hit its goal less than 10 hours after it started with help from over 26,000 backers. As of this writing, the game has raised $2.1 million.
Series director Yu Suzuki took the stage during Sony’s briefing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show earlier tonight to kick off the campaign, which received a huge flood of donations immediately. The Kickstarter listing went live around 7 p.m. Pacific and hit the halfway point of its $2 million goal a little over an hour later.
The Shenmue campaign joins several other highly successful game-based Kickstarters. Android-based console Ouya took a little over eight hours to hit $1 million, according to research firm Statista, and that project went on to generate $8.6 million total. Developer Double Fine’s crowdfunding round to create a classic-style adventure game brought over $3 million, which Shenmue III is easily on track to reach by the end of E3 on Thursday if its momentum continues.
Note that the fundraising total is sure to fluctuate throughout the rest of the month-long campaign as backers can withdraw their support while the drive is still open. But we’re pretty confident it’s going to end up somewhere north of its minimum.
We have no idea when to expect Shenmue III to arrive on the PlayStation 4 and PC. Suzuki will need to actually develop the game first. And before that, he’ll doubtless have a lot of money to count.