Yu Suzuki, the creator of the Shenmue series, has expressed interest in making a fourth game in the series. However, he wants to make sure that the game is more accessible to newcomers than Shenmue 3 was. It’s fair to say that Shenmue 3 felt niche and that was a major issue.
In an interview with IGN, Suzuki said that he wants Shenmue 4 to be “enjoyable without knowing previous events in the story.” He said that he doesn’t think new players need to know 100% of the story and that 20% or 30% could be enough.
One way that Suzuki is considering making Shenmue 4 more accessible is by integrating the story of previous games into the main game. He said that he wants players to be able to learn about previous events naturally, just by playing the game. For example, he is considering having playable flashbacks instead of a separate digest movie.
When being asked if he considered doing what a game like Yakuza 0 did to the series to get newcomers. A prequel to introduce the characters. To quote him:
Yes, I have. I cannot go into detail at this point, but it is something I have been thinking about. I think recreating the streets of Dobuita with modern visuals on a new engine alone would make it worth doing. It also connects to the topic of not simply expanding in size. Making an even more detailed Dobuita than the original Shenmue is an interesting idea, especially if it’s not a remake but a prequel with a new story.
While Suzuki has not yet announced any concrete plans for Shenmue 4, his comments suggest that he is serious about making the game. It is also encouraging to hear that he is thinking about ways to make the game more accessible to newcomers.