Sega’s cancelled Shenmue remaster looks so much better than the HD re-releases.
Shenmue 1 & 2 got an HD re-release earlier this year, and while we thought it was a strong port, it turns out we almost had something a whole lot better.
Digital Foundry has gotten its hands on gameplay footage from the full Shenmue remake that was cancelled some time last year, and while budgets constraints seems to be the most likely cause, the actual reason remains unknown.
Either way, it was scrapped in favour of the re-release, and while it doesn’t necessarily look as good as a 2018 title, it’s still a treat to see such a polished version of the game.
As you’d expect, the remaster includes high res textures, vastly improved models, and lighting and shadows that bring the game to life.
Update: Sega reached out to Eurogamer with a statement regarding the cancellation. According to the publisher, it and D3T had indeed started “exploring the feasibility” of a full remaster.
Unfortunately, it realized the project came with a set of challenges.
“Working with original animations and characters but meshing them with enhanced HD visuals gave us a game that we felt would not meet the standards that Shenmue fans expect and deserve,” said a Sega representative.
“Rather than going ahead with a release that may disappoint fans, we chose to focus on bringing the classic game to PC and modern consoles, so that new players could experience Shenmue’s original charm.”
It’s a shame the project never fully got off the ground, but don’t get too forlorn; we still have Shenmue 3 to look forward to when it launches in August, 2019, for PC and PS4.
In the meantime, if you have 10 minutes and want to take a peek at what could have been in alternate timeline, check out Digital Foundry’s comparison video above.