A Sneak Peek at SEGA's Cancelled Shenmue HD Remaster

cageymaru

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The crew at Digital Foundry was sent a work-in-progress video of an early HD remake of the cult classic game Shenmue. It seems that SEGA had commissioned UK developer d3t initially to create a complete remaster of the game with better environment maps, crisper textures, and HD graphics; but due to unknown reasons it was cancelled. The Shenmue I & II game that we got on Steam uses the old AM2 assets. Here is a look at what could have been. Maybe one day we will get this version?

Well, the details are murky but as we understand it, this more in-depth remaster/remake was in development for quite some time before the plug was pulled due to budget constraints and development delays - and perhaps owing to concerns with the nature of some of the changes being made. We only have a rough idea of what happened and we can't presume to understand all of the business reasons behind Sega's change in direction, but the bottom line is that in common with other unfinished and cancelled projects, the work-in-progress video we received adds a further dimension to the history of one of gaming's most celebrated franchises.
 

Rahh

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I have to wonder what the demand actually is to play a remastered version of this vs the time/resources it takes to remaster it.
 

Sonicks

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I have to wonder what the demand actually is to play a remastered version of this vs the time/resources it takes to remaster it.

Probably wouldn't be worth it.

Considering that we didn't get audio that is any better than the scratchy compressed Dreamcast audio in the actual remaster, I highly doubt it was worth making a modern looking game with crap audio and re-recording everything would be too much of an endeavor on its own.
 

Viper87227

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I have to wonder what the demand actually is to play a remastered version of this vs the time/resources it takes to remaster it.

This was my immediate thought. Shenmue is one of my favorite games and I would have loved to see a full remake, but I also understand the history of Shenmue. It wasn't profitable back when it was released and I don't blame Sega for not being in a hurry to lose more money on that franchise. I don't think updated graphics would change who the Shenmue re-release would appeal to. It would still have the same clunky controls and gameplay mechanics, so it's not going to pass as a modern title regardless of what it looks like. Any audience willing to enjoy the game for what it is, is going to do so regardless of visuals. This would have cost Sega a lot more money, but I don't think it would have resulted in a significant change in sales.

I'm happy with what they delivered, I got to replay these great games on a PC with modern(ish) controls, and I never once thought about how ugly the game looked by today's standards.


the version we got shouldn't even be called an HD remaster anyway.

It's not. Anywhere you'll find it for sale, it's called "Shenmue I & II", there is nothing in the title that implies a remaster in any capacity. The only people calling it a remaster are individuals who are doing so incorrectly.
 

cageymaru

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It's not. Anywhere you'll find it for sale, it's called "Shenmue I & II", there is nothing in the title that implies a remaster in any capacity. The only people calling it a remaster are individuals who are doing so incorrectly.

*Looks to make sure I didn't accidentally label Shenmue I & II as HD* Pshew! Crisis adverted! :) :) :)
 
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