I'd have settled for a graphic novel if it meant the story would've been higher quality. I feel they really dropped the ball in this department. Without going into spoilers, the amount mysteries setup by 1 & 2 which 3 has zero curiosity for is astonishing. Obviously you can't get all the original writers back given the decade+ delay, but I feel the people who wrote 3 did like a single play through of the original games, or only watched the dvd version of it.
Shenmue 3 with a better combat system + story which builds on the many narratives of the franchise would've been a solid game, even with the low quality production in areas like animation, graphics, etc...
I've haven't played Shenmue 3, but I recently found out that you have to keep topping up Ryo's health. The only other game that I can think of that had a similar system was Otogi on the Xbox – and I found it frustrating.
I have no idea why Suzuki added a depleting health system.
There was a very interesting interview published earlier this week by IGN Japan.
Some interesting points:
- he estimated the end budget of Shenmue 3 at around $20m (not clear if this is just for development, or marketing etc too)
- says he made Shenmue 3 strictly for the fans, but would like to make changes to make 4 more attractive to a wider audience
- is confident about being able to make 4
- thinks that a smaller and more detailed open world design is more interesting (he's especially interesting in designing "confined areas" from a technical point of view)
- wants more in depth side stories and back stories in 4
- says that Shenmue 3 represented a new beginning, and that 4 could build on that, as Virtua Fighter 2 did with Virtua Fighter 1
- would like to add throws to 4
Here are some choice quotes I picked out, but the full translated interview is well worth reading for Shenmue fans: