8th January 2002: It has been announced that the Shenmue online Passport functions will end in March 2002. Full Story.
23rd November 2001: It's finally here! Shenmue II has arrived in the UK in English to record numbers of orders from the US.
19th November 2001: Shenmue II has been brought forward in the UK by one week to November 23rd 2001. Check it out at EB UK.
10th November 2001: The latest update to AM2's website has confirmed that Shenmue III is in the works. However, it does not indicate that it is on Xbox as Microsoft only own the rights to Shenmue II, not the future games. This means that hopefully it will come out on all the consoles.
6th November 2001: Peter Moore, President and COO of Sega of America has publicly apologised for the cancellation of Shenmue II on Dreamcast. You can see the full feature here on the official Sega site, but the gist of it is that he is sorry that we had to suffer this but he and Sega have the best interests of Sega gamers at heart. Things can only get better, right?
16th October 2001: This picture is now a pop-up on Shenmue.com. Is nothing sacred?
14th October 2001: For those of you concerned that the PAL version would not be released, soon after the announcement Big Ben Interactive sent out this to everyone on their mailing list, and have confirmed numerous times through email that it's definitely coming out:
12th October 2001: Shenmue II for the Dreamcast has been cancelled in the US and will now come out for the Xbox. No news yet on Shenmue III, and Shenmue II is still coming out in English in the UK, so don't sell those DCs, and get an import disc!
19th September 2001: The Shenmue Fan Site is 2 years old today!
14th September 2001: A press release from the UK Dreamcast distributor, Big Ben Interactive, has revealed that the PAL release of Shenmue II has been brought forward to 30th November 2001. This puts it 5 days before the US release. This is definitely good news for us PAL gamers.
5th September 2001: Here's the final Japanese box art:
4th September 2001: I know this is unbelievable, but the annual ECTS (European Computer Trade Show) has bought something worth reporting! If you ever doubted that Shenmue II looks better than the original you need to see these new shots of it:
3rd September 2001: Japan's most respected games magazine, Famitsu, has reviewed Shenmue II. They gave it 8, 8, 8, 8 - 32/40. The original scored 8, 8, 9, 8.
2nd September 2001: Here is a small teaser of the map for Aberdeen, one of the areas in Shenmue II.
As you can see, the map is huge, and there are three other areas all of comparable size. The four areas that have been revealed are Aberdeen, Wan Chai, Kowloon, and Guilin. Aberdeen (of Hong Kong, not Scotland) is the dock area similar to Yokosuka docks, Wan Chai is the city area that will be familiar to anyone who's ever seen Hong Kong on TV, Kowloon is the city on the hill that has been shown in numerous videos of Shenmue II, and Guilin is the forest area in which Shenhua Rei is found.
2nd September 2001: Shenmue.com have posted some MPEGs of two actors portraying Ryo and Ren advertising the AM2 Summer Festival interspersed with clips of Shenmue and Shenmue II.
Video 1 (4.1MB)
Video 2 (4.1MB)
Video 3 (4.1MB)
2nd September 2001: There are a lot of people opposed to having to play Shenmue II in Japanese with English subtitles, and as a result of this a petition has appeared asking for two versions - dubbed and subbed. It's not very big at the moment but it's constantly growing. I'll reiterate that I think Shenmue II will be much better in Japanese, but you can sign it if you want.
1st September 2001: It seems that a very nice-looking Shenmue II book has been released in Japan. One had cropped up on eBay ending tomorrow here. These are the details as told by the seller:
"It has 128 color pages (slightly smaller than A4) and is packed with art, maps, screens & game info. There is plenty of high quality CG image art, an original pictures collection of Shenmue I & II Dramatis Personae, a Shenmue I Memorial section and an interview with & pics of the great Yu Suzuki. Almost all in Japanese, but has a lot of English names/titles, & published on 8.24.2001"
I would buy it but I can't as it's in Japan :( Maybe next time...
1st September 2001: Shenmue II is nearly here and the advertising for the Dreamcast's last big game has begun in Japan. Shenmue.com have posted the TV commercials for download. They're pretty small so you can download them easily with a modem (MPEG format). They're very bizarre and very obviously Japanese. Check them out:
Ad 1 (1.16MB)
Ad 2 (1.17MB)
Ad 3 (1.18MB)
30th August 2001: With just under a week until the Japanese release of Shenmue II, Sega have officially announced that the US and European versions will be subtitled, not dubbed like the original. A great deal of people are unhappy about this but I'm not one of them. The Japanese voices in the original were much better than the English ones, and the atmosphere was much more realistic.
28th August 2001: As reported by every single gaming site in the history of the Internet, Japan gets all the best stuff. This theory was proven because in Japan everyone who preordered Shenmue II direct from Sega or from various gaming/convienience stores got a coupon to gain entry to the AM2 Summer Festival. In there, they could play Shenmue II as well as take part in VF4 tournaments and meet Sega personalities such as Yu Suzuki. If anything similar happens for the Western releases I'll eat my keyboard and post the video here.
14th August 2001: Shenmue II is out in Japan in a little over a month (September 6th to be exact) and we've finally got some concrete details thanks to IGN DC. The box art has been released and you can see it in all it's glory here. Some of you will be more excited to know that in the arcade not only can you play Space Harrier and Hang-On like before but you can also play Outrun and Afterburner 2. There will be a similar passport to Shenmue's, but this time it will also come (in very limited quantities) with a Virtua Fighter DVD showcasing all of the history of the VF series amongst other features. Incidentally, Virtua Fighter 4 was released in Japanese arcades on the 1st - the same day as Tekken 4. Get you preorders in on the Japanese version, and the US version might go the way of Panzer Dragoon Saga on the Saturn (i.e. very expensive) so buy it if you want to make some cash on eBay.
See the full story here.
5th July 2001: Today Sega released the English-language version of Shenmue in Japan. The reason is not known, but it is called US Shenmue and apparently sold appallingly, not even breaking the top 50 games which only requires 2,000 copies sold. Here's the box art anyway:
2nd February 2001: Introducing Joy, the new girl to be revealed by Sega for Shenmue II. She looks kinda nice...
31st January 2001: The official Shenmue II website in Japanese has opened at this address: http://www.shenmue.com/shenmue2. Here's a couple of images of it. One is a potential logo and I'd guess the other is the title screen as it looks a lot like the first game's. Also, Shenmue II is on for a November release in the US.
23rd January 2001: As the release of Shenmue II nears the news is coming thick and fast. In an official announcement Sega have said that Shenmue II will comprise chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 and will take up 4 discs. A short new trailer of Shenmue II has been given away in Japan with early copies of the AM2 fighting game, Fighting Vipers 2.
8th December 2000: Here is the info on the Shenmue movie. It's 90 minutes long featuring in-game footage. It will be in English with Japanese subtitles so a US and European release isn't out of the question. Go here for all the info (in Japanese). Here's the logo and the poster for your enjoyment, too.
8th December 2000: If you don't think Yokosuka is real check ot these photos. They're of the real Dobuita in Yokosuka. The game is surprisingly accurate.
29th November 2000: I just heard a rumour that sounds very plausible about Shenmue 2. It seems that if the Japanese version of AM2's Fighting Vipers 2 is bought through Sega's online store it will come with an AM2 demo disc featuring a playable demo of Shenmue 2. Get this preordered now as this is likely to become very collectible much like the old 'What's Shenmue?' demo of Shenmue Part 1. This could go for $100+ and you could import it when it came out for only $30.
25th November 2000: Finally some big news on Shenmue Part 2! It is expected in Japan in Q3 2001 which will probably mean a Spring 2002 US release. If you'll find the wait hard it's about to get harder: this game will be packed with more Free-Battles and QTEs, higher-res NPCs (non-player characters), and will be 6 discs long!!!!!
21st November 2000: In a recent press conference in Japan Sega's Tetsu Kayama said that the rumours about Shenmue Part 2's cancellation are completely untrue and the game is very much still coming, although a release date is unconfirmed at the moment.
12th November 2000: The US launch has been and gone without a hitch and copies are disappearing faster than you can say "PS2 sucks". I've completed the US version now and it is much better than playing in Japanese. Very little of the atmosphere is lost and the plot is very entertaining. As of the European release on 1st December (confirmed) no-one in the world has an excuse not to own this incredible game.
29th July 2000: This might be a mock-up, but here's the US version's box art:
29th July 2000: There is a rumour (that I believe may be true) that Shenmue's UK release date is 1st December 2000.
29th July 2000: The official Shenmue site is now in English (or Japanese if you prefer)! On the opening page you can choose from an English or Japanese site.
26th July 2000: Yu Suzuki was quoted in a Japanese interview as saying that Shenmue Part 2 will be released in Japan in November or December 2000.
19th June 2000: Just a little titbit I found on IGNDC. Good news for those of you waiting for Shenmue Part 2: I've had a lot of email about this recently so here they are - screenshots of Shenmue Part 2: Development of the sequel/continuation is progressing at 3 to 5 times faster than the original as there is less character development and engine building to worry about. That gives us a very good chance of seeing the game before the year is out.
Read the full story here.
20th May 2000: I've had a lot of email about this recently so here they are - screenshots of Shenmue Part 2.
A bit more impressive than Part 1 aren't they?
Also, those of you with issue 1 of the Official US Dreamcast Magazine (the one with the PC CD-ROM video disc) can watch a video of Shenmue that's about 3 minutes long. "So what!?", you say? That whole video is of Shenmue Part 2!!
11th May 2000: It has been announced at the E3 show in LA that Shenmue Part 1 will be released in the US on 14th November 2000, with the Shenmue Passport and dubbed, not subtitled, into English.
10th January 2000: I've just completed the third disc of Shenmue at 7pm GMT with a completion time of approximately 60 hours. The ending is definitely worth all of the time and work put into it to get that far. A big thank you to Sega!!.
29th December 1999: Here's the box art:
23rd December 1999: Japan's biggest games magazine, the Weekly Famitsu, has reviewed Shenmue Part 1 in their latest issue, and have given it 8, 9, 8, 8. This means that it scored 33 out of a possible 40.
As a percentage this is 83%.
15th December 1999: I've just found a load of new info and pictures about the Shenmue Passport forth disc here.
6th December 1999: Now in Japan if you preorder Shenmue: Yokosuka you will receive your game a week early. Therefore if your importer is preordering your copy you may have it on Christmas Eve!!
2nd December 1999: Unfortunately I'm not fluent in Japanese so I can't read this latest news from Shenmue.com, so if you can read it, please tell me what it means!! Here's the banner -
19th November 1999: I've finally got some new details about what you'll get in the box when you buy Shenmue Part 1: Yokosuka. The box will contain 4 GD-ROMs, 3 of which are the game. The game has no instructions, as all instructions are included on the 4th disc. As well as this, disc 4 will have the Ferrari F355 replay function, the ability to watch any previously seen cut-scenes, and possibly some more face demos. To see another face demo, you can look at one of Mark talking about convienience stores on my movies page.
18th November 1999: There is a God!! Shenmue has been officially bought forward to 29th December 1999!!!!
Here's the official banner from Shenmue.com. You can clearly see the new release date!
28th October 1999: Today, the day that Shenmue should have been released, Yu Suzuki has announced that Shenmue will come bundled with a special disc of his arcade racer Ferrari F355 Challenge which will allow you to put your VM unit into the arcade cabinet and play out a replay of your race on your Dreamcast with your racing line, max. speed and other stats that are usually only shown on those expensive printouts from the coin-op.
Check out these shots of the replay disc.
October 20th 1999: Shenmue's development team, AM2, have posted an official announcement on their website that the news of Shenmue being brought forward were just speculation. Damn.
October 14th 1999: YES!! Unconfirmed reports from Japan say that Shenmue has been brought forward to December 17th 1999. Note the word, unconfirmed, as this could just be speculation.
October 1999: Sadly, Shenmue has been delayed until Spring 2000. This could prove to be a huge blow for Sega and the Dreamcast, as sales have failed to take off in Sega's native Japan.
19th September 1999: The Shenmue Fan Site is officially opened!!
Summer 1999: At the twice-yearly Tokyo Game Show, Sega had a strong presence, and showed a variety of parts of Shenmue's development, including the busts of the characters heads. You can see pictures of these below.
You can see tonnes of pics of Shenmue at the TGS here.
Summer 1999: With the free 'What's Shenmue' demo discs, Shenmue's confirmed release date is given - 28th October 1999. It will be released in two editions - normal, which is the stand-alone game, and special, which is the game and a host of extras such as the soundtrack and a Ryo figurine.