Friday, March 16, 2012
Is Shenmue HD the Next Dreamcast Remake?
That's what a place called Gamerzines would like you to think and, while I would usually just toss off this rumor as just that, but a fellow over at the Penny Arcade forums who goes by (and this is an affectionate title, I assure you) "TheSonicRetard" has thrown this out as truth. If there is one thing that TSR does not mess around with, it's anything to do with Sega, so for him to say "I know who this is, too. It is indeed real" makes me almost completely believe it as gospel because TSR has some connections. It also makes complete sense since Sega has been tossing out a lot of their old Dreamcast hits in HD, seems to want to continue doing so and, well, people do indeed like Shenmue. They like it a lot, so much so that rumors of Shenmue III existing seem to hold up part of the internet on their own. So it's not crazy to think that Shenmue is on the list of games to get HD-ified.
Now, there is one of the finer details of the post that I'm not too sure about, and since TSR has not said that the entirety of the story is 100% truth, I am going to go ahead and poke at it a bit. They claim that their insider says Shenmue HD has been done for over a year, as has Shenmue II HD (I assume not for over a year, but done nonetheless), but both have been held off in favor of getting a 'clearer picture of the future for the Shenmue franchise, namely, whether or not Shenmue III will see the light of day". Of course, if Shenmue HD is announced after Jet Set Radio HD comes out, that either means we'll have some Shenmue III news around that time or, the entirely likely scenario here, we'll never hear anything of any importance from Sega about Shenmue III again as we haven't for years now. So really, I'm just a little iffy on whether or not the games have really been finished for that amount of time.
Don't get me wrong - I, like the rest of everyone who had even a cursory interest in the Dreamcast and Sega while they were both still around in their former capacities, would love to see a Shenmue III. And let's face it, we exist in a world where Duke Nukem Forever was actually released, so miracles -can- happen. (Not simultaneously, however, which would be why DNF -was- released, but was sub-par) Similarly, Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 3 is being released despite being 'canceled' directly from the creators and then 'finished' in a novella. So we really, truly cannot say 'Never' again because history has made us all the fool for doing so. However, on the list of things that I believe could possibly happen, Shenmue HD and Shenmue 2 HD are pretty high up whereas Shenmue III being a thing ranks just under "Sega rejoins the Console Market" which itself is under "Microsoft releases a handheld to compete against the 3DS and Vita". They're all possible, technically, but not exactly plausible.
Regardless, my first instinct when I saw "Shenmue HD" was the pull money out of my wallet and start throwing it at the computer monitor and my PS3, but neither had the effect of, well, getting me the game. This might be because it's not out yet, or maybe, just maybe, because this is not how you purchase things digitally. The fact that it hasn't been officially announced, much less had a price-tag attached to it or a release date further complicates matters but, no doubt, whenever it's announced it'll be like the others. Fair price-tag, probably release in a few months or so from now, and it'll be pretty righteous. Then, hopefully after it's released, the next two Dreamcast titles will be released and another collection Disk will come out, but for -all- the systems and not just 360 and PC. I will literally double-dip on Shenmue HD and I don't even care. I will also double-dip for Shenmue 2 HD and Skies of Arcadia, should these things ever come to pass and would even triple-dip if even just a single one were available for the Vita. Can you imagine Skies of Arcadia as a portable game? I can. It's amazing.
We'll see what all comes of this in the coming months. At the very least, we can reasonably expect to come away with two more amazing up-ports of games that are fan favorites and for good reason. The games weren't afraid to do things that you weren't really accustomed to, and we really enjoyed it because of that and because it just had a really neat combat system in what was actually not a very combat-focused game. It was at least a 50/50 split, where the story was just as important as the mechanics and it's a very precarious line that few games and developers can really walk with any certainty. Perhaps with it back in the forefront when/if Shenmue and II are re-released, it'll have a good impact on the way we look at or enjoy games again. Because certainly, at the time, it did that for me and is quite possibly one of the reasons as to why I loved the Dreamcast (and consequently, more Japan-focused things) and continue to do so.