Please stop name dropping Shenmue III when you say you ‘listen’ to fans

Microsoft’s new head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, said recently in an interview that the biggest game request he gets from fans is for Shenmue 3, a game IP that Microsoft doesn’t own. Sega made Shenmue and to my knowledge there would be some hoops to go through to get this sequel green lit.

Does this sound familiar to you? It should because Sony has teased an interest in reviving Sega’s long-dead action franchise. Sony’s Adam Boyes said last year that Sony hears gamer’s requests for Shenmue.

We get a ton of requests for Yakuza, a ton of requests for Shenmue. We see the lists, We have a person that compiles those lists and prioritises based on how many requests we’ve gotten. And I think to date there’s well over 10,000 mentions across like forum threads and stuff like that. So those are the ones we’re focused on.

Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida even joined the “save Shenmue” bandwagon a few months ago on Twitter by tweeting:

I know how you feel folks. I would like to see a Shenmue revival too. Even an HD Collection would suffice. But the constant teasing of Shenmue fans must end. It’s beginning to feel cheap now that both Microsoft and Sony are mentioning it like they’re some sort of champion for hardcore gamers because they agree that the world needs a sequel to a relatively obscure video game franchise.

Now, I’m sure Phil Spencer, Shuhei Yoshida and Adam Boyes are sincere when they indicate that they’d like to please Shenmue fans with a third installment. They’re gamers too after all but they’re also businessmen.


Sony and Microsoft are name dropping Shenmue for a reason folks. Because it is good PR though Phil Spencer’s Shenmue name drop feels a little “me too”.

Maybe I’m bitter about how hopeless it looks for Shenmue III but this repetitive “we want Shenmue too! Can’t you relate to us?” from Sony and Microsoft looks like a empty, face saving marketing tactic like how when a politician kisses a baby. I’m happy that Yoshida, Boyes, and Spencer want to see Shenmue revived but it seems like they think making these statements helps their image.

Let’s get this clear: If Sony or Microsoft were really working with Sega to reboot Shenmue, they wouldn’t be talking about it so publicly. They’d save it as a surprise for E3, Tokyo Game Show, or another event. It would be the ace in their deck and they wouldn’t dare let their console gaming opponents predict their next move.

Of course Nintendo has been really quiet about Shenmue III and has a really good relationship with Sega so,…Shenmue III exclusively on Wii U? Probably not. Still, it doesn’t look like Shenmue III or any sort of Shenmue revival is in the works right now. I would love to be wrong about this. Maybe I’m just to damn cynical but I take all this “we too want Shenmue” talk as more confirmation that it isn’t anywhere close to happening.

Until I’m proven wrong and Shenmue is gloriously resurrected, I hope Sony, Valve, Microsoft, Nintendo, Google, Samsung, Ouya, The Phantom (kidding), Apple or anyone else who manufactures a platform that runs video games refrain from name dropping Shenmue when they say that they’re listening to consumers. They’re just telling us what we want to hear in the hopes that it makes us like them more folks. Though I imagine a lot of people would fall in love with any company that helps Shenmue III become a real thing.