Thread: Shenmue III
View Single Post
Old 07-07-2015, 02:28 PM   #21
Nebby. Back into the bag.
Talon87's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 20,390
Send a message via AIM to Talon87
The Kickstarter updated today with two new reward tiers.

At the $80 level, you gain access to an in-game international phone card which will allow Ryo to place phone calls to select characters. (Listed in spoiler box because possibly a spoiler about who will and won't make a return appearance in Shenmue 3.)

Spoiler: show
Joy, Guizhang, Ine-san, Fuku-san, and Nozomi. Of these, the last three were obvious no-shows. Joy's a mild surprise but I'm perfectly fine with her sitting this one out since she's a princess of Hong Kong and has no place in the Chinese countryside.

Guizhang is disappointing in the sense that we wanted to see him in action again but I'm actually quite pleased with Suzuki-sensei's thinking: Guizhang's leg was crushed beneath an I-beam at the end of Shenmue, so it's perfectly reasonable to expect his recovery time to be on the order of 6 months to a year. And since Ryo arrived in Aberdeen in the last week of February 1987, it's reasonable to think that canonically Guizhang's leg was broken one to four weeks earlier. Let's put it as far in the past as possible and say his leg was broken in January 1987: we know that Shenmue 2 doesn't end until around April 1987, so that means that Guizhang's only had three months to heal. That isn't nearly enough time for a broken bone to heal -- not one that was caught beneath an I-beam, anyway, and not in 1987. I think Guizhang's a strong contender for a late-game showing in Shenmue 3, but even if he doesn't show up this game, it's okay: he's all but guaranteed to show up in Shenmue 4 and his leg should be in tip top shape.

At the $800 level, Yu Suzuki will ask you for your name and will transcribe it into Chinese characters as necessary. He will then feature your Chinese-ified name at one of the temples in Choubu Village.

Spoiler tagging the rest. No spoilers.

Spoiler: show
There's a shitstorm right now in the KS comments section. (Although really -- who takes KS comments sections seriously? I've been following the Shenmue one off and on these past few weeks and it is utterly wrecked by idiots and trolls.) The complaint is that the $80 reward tier is locking behind a paywall -- and a one-time paywall, at that -- something that 99.99% of Shenmue players would love to have access to. It's not quite the same thing as "win Ryo's watch," "win a dinner with Yu Suzuki," or "get your photograph on one of the Lucky Hit boards." And judging by the reactions many angry fans are giving, it's not even the same as the similar "be able to change the jacket that Ryo wears in-game" reward. That one is purely cosmetic, and it seems like most fans are able to live without cosmetic rewards. But the phone card reward, which I think Ys Net also saw as rather insignificant, is being touted by a number of angry fans as something that is essential to the experience.

Personally? The only thing that makes me upset about this phone card reward is its execution. I think people are getting very angry over very little. I understand the sentiment that a Ryo who calls home to check in on family is perceived as different from a Ryo who doesn't even attempt to call home, and that players may project Ryo's inability to call home onto him as a decision not to call home, but guys ... the audio clips we're talking about here are likely to prove very, very minimal. I imagine it will be much like the audio cassette you listen to in Kowloon in Shenmue II, the one that Huang the wiretapper made, where amongst other conversations you can hear one conversation between Guizhang and Joy. Is that sort of Easter egg neat? Yeah. Is it strictly necessary to the core plot of the game or the core character development of the characters in question? No. (Even Guizhang and Joy's relationship is established previously by a canon conversation that takes place between Ryo and Joy in Aberdeen.) I expect the phone calls to be similar.

So. The execution ...

For one, I wish they wouldn't have revealed the names of the characters you can call. Unless you can call everybody, a list like this suggests, "People you can call will be at home and thus will be hundreds if not thousands of miles away from Ryo and thus will not be joining him anew on his journey. People you cannot call will be making surprise appearances by Ryo's side at various points along his journey in Shenmue 3." It doesn't 100% have to be this way -- you could have the phone call(s) take place early on in Baisha Village and then that provides time for the character(s) to appear by the end of Bailu Village -- but it's unlikely to be any other way.

For a second thing, the only way to make sure that this reward stays exclusive to Kickstarter backers -- which I think they may be contractually obligated to do, now that they've gone and made it a reward tier -- is to not include it in unlocked form on the retail disc. It'll either have to be a) on the disc but locked behind a passcode wall or else b) not on the disc and downloaded as DLC. Either one sucks. B sucks because no one likes DLC, especially since it means that in 10 to 20 years' time the content could be lost forever once you have to transfer the game over to a (then) current-gen machine, all of your old ones having failed already because of planned obsolescence of modern PCs and video game consoles. A sucks too though because if the passcodes are only redeemable once then that's terrible while if they're infinitely redeemable then that means there's nothing to stop someone from sharing their passcode with the world which then defeats the entire purpose of having this reward be exclusive to Kickstarter backers.

For these two reasons, I think the execution on this one kinda sucks. :\ The idea would've been better reserved for the final game, and it would've been nice not to know 2˝ years in advance who is likely to show up in Shenmue 3 and who isn't.

Oh well. Not a big deal.

Anyway, all that aside, the Kickstarter hasn't really budged since yesterday. It's still only at $4.4 million -- although it should break $4.5 by day's end in North America -- and I'm not really seeing any way for the Kickstarter organizers to convince more people to donate (and/or for people to donate more money). Hardcore fans were sold from the start, and everyone else is just sort of staring at this Kickstarter as something of a curiosity. It's hard to persuade people to invest $60+ on a game that they're not sure they'd enjoy, and I respect that.

Many in the fandom are talking about Suzuki holding a second fundraiser in the future. I think it's not only probable but is the best way for Ys Net to secure the additional development funds they will need to make Shenmue 3 the game of our dreams. Some optimists in the community say we'll reach $7 million by the end of the Kickstarter. Some delusional fans kid themselves that we'll reach $11 million. (Hahaha no. -.-) Me personally, I think we'll hit $5 million easily but that we'll be lucky to break $6 million. The bragging rights of dethroning Bloodstained as the most heavily funded video game in Kickstarter history will probably be enough to entice Shenmue's wealthiest fans to help push us over the $5.5 million mark (if we're already within $200,000 reach of it), but once we do that it's hard to see us making $6 million before time runs out. Thing is, the $6 million to $8 million window is where all of the awesome combat stretch goals are. :\ Making the AIs a lot more intelligent than they were in Shenmue 1 & 2, making the battle controls better, making the ragdoll physics better, etc, etc. It's all there. And it's all stuff that I and other Shenmue fans want. So like ... it'd be a shame to lock Shenmue 3 into a budget of less than $6 million "just because the Kickstarter says it must be." Fuck that shit. Suzuki should hold a second fundraiser if he has to via PayPal or whatever other options he deems best and allow fans to donate a second time if they so choose.
Talon87 is online now   Reply With Quote