“It's in your hands now,” Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki said in a video during Sony's E3 event, announcing a Kickstarter for the long-awaited sequel to the Japanese open-world adventure series that debuted in 1999.
And it seems those were good hands, as the third installation of the series raised more its $2 million goal in 12 hours, putting it on track to be Kickstarter's most funded video game of all time. Fans funded Shenmue III to the tune of $1 million in less than two hours from launch, the fastest project to hit that mark since Pebble Time.
The most highly crowdfunded game of all time is Star Citizen, a sci-fi space shooter that fans poured more than $84 million into. The Kickstarter campaign only raised about $2 million, but continued independent funding has sustained the project, despite fears that the game will never be completed. A launch date hasn't been announced yet, but founder Chris Roberts has released a series of modules that the game will rest on, in a seeming attempt to placate funders and show progress on the the final product.
With a franchise so well-recognized, and originally funded by Sega, this announcement begs the question, “Why Kickstarter?”
Suzuki addresses this question, albeit not well, in the description of the project, writing: “If Shenmue 3 was going to get made, I wanted to make it with the fans. Through Kickstarter, I knew that could happen.”
Shenmue III's campaign ends July 17.