Shenmue is one of the games that laid the foundation of modern gaming as the first sandbox game ever. The first two games were revolutionary because of their unique gameplay and the introduction of an open world. Your activities weren’t scripted, but you could, for the first time, make different approaches to the situation. Despite being a technical marvel for their age, Shenmue games were the reason SEGA stopped making consoles. The expenses of the making those games, and a decision to make them Dreamcast exclusive brought the gaming company on the verge of bankruptcy.
Three years ago during the E3, we’ve got the announcement of the third sequel, which was to say least, greeted with heaps of enthusiasm. Together with that, we also heard about a total HD remake of the first two games. What we got instead are the recent HD remasters of Shenmue, which are pretty underwhelming. Meanwhile, the remake was canceled, but we still got some material from the unfinished project.
This remake would offer a complete overhaul of the original games, something like Resident Evil remake did. Except for the graphics, the remake would update controls and gameplay mechanics, instead of merely glossing over the original games with an HD resolution and lightning.
The discovered footage of the Shenmue remake shows a pretty stunning remake of the original games. While it doesn’t look that a team behind this remake were trying to completely reconstruct the old games in HD, although most of the areas look roughly the same, it’s apparent that they tried to make a version of Shenmue that would be comparable to the best-looking games of the modern era.
To make matters worse, it appears the authors of the remake were close to accomplishing their goal. The gameplay World shown in the remake footage is stunning even from a purely technical standpoint. Not to mention how revamped visuals really show that the artistic design of original Shenmue games aged really well. We experienced a bit of that in the HD remasters, but it was way underwhelming comparing it to the scale of this remake we’ll never have.