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Shenmue III is set to debut in the second half of next year, and now Saints Row publisher Deep Silver has revealed that it will distribute the game for PC as well as PlayStation 4. This ensures the most unlikely of sequels to Sega’s Dreamcast and Xbox life-simulator series will get both a digital and a physical release when it rolls out in late 2018. Shenmue creator and director Yu Suzuki will also appear at Gamescom in Germany at the end of this month to meet with fans and discuss his latest project as well as his partnership with Deep Silver.
This is not a new strategy for Deep Silver. It did this previously with the Mega Man spiritual successor Mighty No. 9 as well as the InXile Entertainment role-playing revival Wasteland 2. But it’s not the only publisher using this tactic. 505 Games, which distributed physical versions of Abzu and Stardew Valley, is publishing former Castlevania director Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
This is beneficial to the developers because it means they can get help with difficult tasks like marketing and dealing with supply chains for physical discs. For publishers, they can put time and money into a game with the confidence that people are interested in it based on the response to the crowdfunding campaign.
“Shenmue is one of a few game franchises that have historical value whilse continuing to ignite passion amongst gamers,” Deep Silver boss Klemens Kundratitz said in a statement. “We are delighted to have signed this publishing partnership and look forward to utilizing our global publishing network to maximize the potential of this highly-anticipated game.”
Shenmue III is the most funded video game in the history of Kickstarter. Suzuki revealed the game during the PlayStation media briefing at E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade and fan event) in 2015. After years of fans begging everyone for the return of that franchise, Suzuki announced he was going to make it happen with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter as well as outside investment. Suzuki and his Ys Net development studio didn’t detail the external funding, but Shenmue III did raise $6.3 million from 69,320 Kickstarter backers.
Many of those 69,320 backers are waiting for the game as well as physical copies that they secured by contributing at higher levels during the campaign. Suzuki also points out that this deal is a European company helping to bring Japanese games to the rest of the world.
“I am very pleased to secure this global partnership with Deep Silver, which is comprised of incredible men and women who have a deep passion for bringing Japanese titles to the rest of the world,” Suzuki said. “Throughout this process, Deep Silver has expressed a deep passion for Japanese games, the Shenmue franchise and its fans — this gives me further confidence in Shenmue III and that we have found the best partner possible.”
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