Eurogamer has uncovered some footage and new details of a Shenmue remake that was never finished.
No, we’re not talking about the recent HD remasters of Shenmue. We’re talking about a fully-fledged remake of the original game in the style of the upcoming Resident Evil 2 remake. That is to say that it would have completely updated the game’s visuals and mechanics as opposed to simply glossing over the original titles with a thin coat of HD gloss.
By comparison, the footage of this remake that Eurogamer has uncovered showcases a pretty stunning overhaul of the cult classic Dreamcast title. Why it doesn’t look like the team behind this remake were trying to completely reimagine the original game (many of the original areas look roughly the same) they were clearly interested in making a version of Shenmue that stands tall next to the best looking games of the modern era.
Truth be told, it appears that they were well on their way to accomplishing that goal. The environments showcased in this remake footage are stunning from a purely technical standpoint, but the games revamped visuals really do an excellent job of showing just how well the artistic design of Shenmue has aged. We kind of got a taste of that in the HD remasters, but we saw nothing on the scale of this incredible remake.
So why was this project canceled? Nobody seems to know the official answer to that question. However, the smart money is on the project just costing too much money. Remakes of this scope can sometimes cost as much as making a modern game from scratch, and the fact that this footage includes what appears to be a complete visual remake of Shenmue II means that you can double the size of that development bill. We imagine the final cost would have been just shy of the production costs of Shenmue III.
Sega did indicate that this footage represents just a snapshot of their plans for a full remake of the original games, but it doesn’t sound like they have any immediate plans to finish this project in the near future.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.
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