Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki is interested in a Yakuza 0-style prequel
Yu Suzuki, the creator of the beloved Dreamcast-era Shenmue franchise, has revealed that he is considering creating a Yakuza 0-style prequel to ease newcomers into the franchise.
Suzuki discussed the Shenmue series' future direction with IGN, stating that he would like to make the game approachable for newcomers by ensuring that it could be enjoyed without the requirement of knowing the entire story from previous entries. This follows the commercial disappointment of Shenmue 3 in 2019, which failed to find an audience outside of the franchise's core fanbase.
Shenmue 3 arrived nearly two decades after the original Dreamcast release of Shenmue 2, prompting developer Ys Net to create a movie that covered past events to explain the game's story. Suzuki states that if a fourth game is created, he would prefer interactive story recaps, such as adding playable flashbacks, rather than just a video.
Like a Dragon (formerly Yakuza) is a series that shares much of its DNA with Shenmue, as creator Toshihiro Nagoshi collaborated with Suzuki on Shenmue. IGN asked Suzuki if he would take the Shenmue series in the same direction as Yakuza 0, a prequel that was a major turning point in making the series accessible to the West. He replied that he had considered it, with the intention of creating a more detailed version of Dobuita from the first game with a prequel story.
Suzuki did not confirm that a new game is in development, instead stating that he was working on a number of other projects, but he did previously promise fans in the staff credits for the third entry to keep the Shenmue franchise going.
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