Shenmue III is now Kickstarter’s most funded video game ever

17 Jul 2015

In a giant display of good taste, gamers the world over have made Shenmue III the the most-funded game in Kickstarter history.

The long-awaited third instalment in the cult series was a surprise announcement at this year’s E3, unveiled by creator Yu Suzuki alongside a crowdfunding campaign that sought to raise US$5m to help pay for its development. The project quickly became the fastest game to raise $US1m on Kickstarter and, as reported by The Verge, has now surpassed the record previously held by Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night by raking in US$5,673,786 at time of writing.

Released on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999, the first Shenmue was the most expensive video game ever made at the time, with a production budget of US$70m. A sweeping, masterful open-world epic, it’s almost indefinable nature bedazzled and bamboozled gamers in equal measure. Though always conceived as a trilogy, the Dreamcast’s untimely demise left the saga unfinished, and the wait began.

“Since the release of Shenmue 2, now 14 years ago, I have been greeted by the passionate outpouring of dedicated fans and Shenmue community members wherever I go,” wrote Suzuki via the Kickstarter page. “They all want to know one thing: ‘When will Shenmue 3 be coming out?’ With the advent of games using Kickstarter during these past few years, the new and now frequent demand from the fans has been, ‘Do a Kickstarter for Shenmue 3!’

The game will also be funded by Sony and other investors, leading some cynics to question whether the whole Kickstarter campaign is actually just a marketing ploy ($US5m doesn’t get you too far in this day and age). In any event, Shenmue III is expected to drop on the PlayStation 4 and PC in 2017.

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic