Hey these are seriously neat ideas folks, and these are terrifically exciting times - keep it up, guys!
Yep - and I also think Adam does a good job of summing up the immediate discussion surrounding the whole Suzuki X Cerny photo at GDC 2013 floating around the interwebs, currently (and of elaborating at length about what his views are on where he thinks the industry is potentially heading - interesting commentary, to say the least) to the public (well, at least the YouTube public) outside of our little bubble forum world here.
Yes, the biggest problem with the Dojo is *not* that its members and posters aren't passionate enough and don't make smart and credible observations - it's that the Dojo is just an audience of Shenmue fans for Shenmue fans. And it doesn't matter if fans give each other pats on the back - the challenge is trying to get the gaming audience/populace at large to notice our point(s). And as Adam says in his video - cheers to making sure we continue to talk Shenmue 3 (S3) everywhere and anywhere, especially now, given the supportive circumstances.
Now that that's out of the way, let's begin.
1) Given that Mark Cerny and Yu Suzuki are *actually* friends (at least close aqcuaintances, considering that both used to work at Sega at the same time - although not on the same projects - and thus at least share a friendship as professional colleagues), I don't think they just ran into each other randomly at GDC 2013. But I also don't think they met specifically to talk about S3 either. Rather, considering how well known the S3 matter is and how well acquainted the two are I want to suggest that Cerny at least passingly discusses the issue with Yu *almost every time* they manage to run into each other at events like GDC, E3, etc.
As in, Cerny sort of just asks Yu "hey, have any plans for S3 come further yet?". Now, I don't mean to say that Cerny asks that just to be flippant or to just come across as being interested in Yu's projects. Rather, I imagine he sincerely asks Suzuki this all the time to honestly catch up with his friend. That being said, I *do* fully believe that someone most likely overheard Cerny and Suzuki discussing the possibility of S3 for PS4 recently at GDC 2013 - but that that disucssion was most likely spontaneous and purely trivial in that it was just two friends chatting, catching up, and entertaining some optimistic possibiltiies for S3 now that the next generation has arrived, again.
On the other hand, given that Cerny did secretly become ( I imagine that Sony must have had him agree to non-disclosure clauses about his involvement with the PS4) the chief architect for PS4, and that this fact has only really been revealed to Suzuki now - it is not unfair to say that Cerny now might always be looking out for good fitting opportunities at Sony (if even at the very back of his mind) for his friend Suzuki to negotiate the Shenmue IP as being a good fit for the PS4 portfolio. As...
2) Yes, I don't think Shenmue any longer has any chance of being relevant on a Microsoft console - not as an exclusive, at least. Sure, Microsoft and the XBOX was the last known home of Shenmue (Shenmue 2 on XBOX) for the primary western market/audience in North America - but that is a *very* weak hand to play considering yes, just how poorly Xbox performs in Japan and just how poor Microsoft/Xbox's performance will most likely remain in Japan going forward. Given that, and considering just how abstract and complicated the S3 issue literally is, it is not difficult to believe that Microsoft is not at all willing to spend the necessary time and money to come through with some sort of exclusive-saviour deal for a next generation S3, considering that...
3) Sega has actually been traditionally *very* buddy-buddy with Sony since well, the PS2. Without Sony and the Playstation brand, Sega wouldn't have its current ongoing major cash crop successes with the Yakuza brand, Project Diva brand, and perhaps their Phantasy Star Online experience. Given this, it isn't hard to imagine that if Sega *had* to choose - surely they'd allow Suzuki to pursue further Shenmue related projects with Sony before anyone else.
I don't necessarily agree that S3 will never be possible for WiiU because Nintendo isn't interested - but more so because Shenmue doesn't fit culturally with more and more what Nintendo is trying to do with its console. Just as with our previous debates concerning S3 on Wii, S3 doesn't 'fit culturally' with the WiiU because from its core concept, S3 is not a title that relies on or would even benefit from, really, the integrated use of motion control, smart glass/tablet game control, or what have you that the WiiU focuses upon.
I'm not saying that Suzuki couldn't design S3 to benefit from utilizing those features, but I think most of us agree that Shenmue benefits most from being played and experienced as an as traditional, core cord and controller experience as possible. That isn't to disparage the core Shenmue experience or to say that it can't keep up with the times - but just like say Virtua Fighter will always be a controller/joystick experience, the core experience that Suzuki envisions with Shenmue is that of a fundamentally traditional gaming experience that doesn't involve any reliance on what are more or less tangential contrivances in motion control, Kinect, Move, etc.
And as coincidential as it seems, Sony out of the big 3 of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are seemingly trying to maintain themselves as *the home* for core, traditional gamers with the PS4. Like I say, Nintendo continues to escalate their evolution of motion control and remote play. This is not a bad thing - but Nintendo has always been eccentric; which is thankfully innovative and mind blowing, but *almost always* alienates them from every other third party publisher, forcing always the Nintendo first parties to struggle to make up for the deficit in software for their console. But - because those first party games are forced to adhere to the eccentricity of the home console, it becomes necessary to critique those games in their own category, which effectively separates WiiU from the realm of the PS4 and Xbox 720, and from the realm of core, traditional games - which is technically a good thing because this forces and drives innovation, but also effectively excludes S3 because S3 isn't made in the vision of such eccentricity, as noted previously.
While on the other hand, as much as many of us are Xbox fans, it seems like Microsoft is *really* keen on making the next Xbox a *social media* machine, what with its constant internet connection and mandatory Kinect functionality.
With the PS4 at least, it appears that if you still really wanted to, you *can* still just turn it on, put in a game, and just play it with your cord and controller - which is the tradition of gaming out of which Shenmue and S3 was born, and the core tradition of game playing that so many of us passionate gaming enthusiasts so desperately try to protect and preserve as the games industry continues to become more and more irrationally abstract and absurd going forward.
So yes, given that Sony might actually want to be promoting itself as the last true home of core, traditional gaming and surprisingly how much ongoing credibility S3 continues to command as one of the last great neigh mythic hardcore gaming experiences that still demands a proper sequel conclusion, Sony and Shenmue make a good fit. They also make a good fit because I actually see Sony *wanting* to devote the necessary resources to make Shenmue a success on Playstation. Sony has intererstingly traditionally been very receptive of 'gaming as art'. Jenova Chen of thatgamecompany (ie. Journey, Flower, etc.) recently said the same of the company, complimenting Sony for being very respectful of games being able to offer mature, artistic experiences while Microsoft 'just didn't seem like they actively promoted that kind of culture', even though Microsoft is easily very forward thinking about games as art too.
But seeing as Sony enjoys its ICOs, Shadow of the Colossuses, Journeys, Unfinished Swans, Quantic Dreams, Rains, Tokyo Jungles, AFRIKAs, etc., I think Sony has both the money and the relevant experience to develop and promote Shenmue *as something*. Especially how much Sony has always prided itself as fusing technology with 'emotion'. I'm not a graphics snob myself, but Shenmue was a game that always tried to be as photorealistic/realistic as possible - one of Suzuki's original visions was always to try and present fantasy and wonder in as real a setting/circumstances as possible, trying to prove that the Dreamcast was capable of making all the incredible things happening on the screen occur almost right before your eyes in real life.
For Sony to be able to make and prove their point in Shenmue, a game that focuses so much on accentuating facial expressions, mind boggling attention to authentic cultural and locational minutiae, system taxing massive living virtual eco-systems with hundreds of onscreen characters - each of which can be individually spoken to with unique recorded voice work - and AI schedules, all of which converges to present a spiritually emotional interactive experience for the gamer, then I think a Sony X Shenmue possibility could be a once in a lifetime opportunity that is unravelling right before our eyes. And finally,
4) I think the whole experience *has* to be in a single product as a so-called Shenmue Saga. Releasing *just* Shenmue 3 is too much of a risk - too much of a risk if gamers *don't* actually buy the digital re-releases of S1 and S2 leading up to S3's release, thus making S3 irrelevant right out of the gate. This is an all or nothing thing - either S3 gets made or it doesn't. We can't 'test the waters' with digital re-releases of S1 and S2 because that is too uncertain. People might download them and anticipate S3 or they might not.
But if we just bundle all of it together, the Saga markets itself. For those who are curious, the Saga is the only place to get the 3 games so they will have to buy it to experience them. For eternal fans like us, the Saga is an awesome love letter that conveniently houses the entire experience for which we have fought for for just so many years.
So. I apologise for the incredible length here, but my point is this: we need to be starting a new and fresh campaign that needs to be stronger than every one that has come before it. And the campaign is this: we have to play to Sony's reputation. We literally have to back Sony into a corner now where they have no choice but to act on Shenmue in order to save face, in competition with Microsoft and Nintendo. But how?
Well we have to start by drumming Sony up, by applauding them for being so unique from Microsoft for being such a patron of unique, mature, and artistic games like Journey, Unfinished Swan, Last Guardian, anything from Quantic Dreams (I know, I know - most of us here don't always see eye to eye with David Cage, myself included), etc. And then we must play to their emotions - let them know that a decade's worth of hopes and dreams from many thousands of core, traditional and mature gamers now look to Sony and their new PS4 as true salvation - that whereas Microsoft and Nintendo could never possibly do what we are pleading for, Sony can.
If we get this sensational enough, then Sony has to respond. Yes - the answer can most likely still be no, and then we'll have lost nothing, as long-suffering Shenmue fans. But if Sony answers with anything less than yes to S3, they stand to lose some reputation and credibility, especially if we apply so heavily to the apparent 'advantage' they command over their contemporaries in supporting and making high quality eccentrically artistic games.
And if it ever gets to this point, Sega will have no choice but to let Suzuki work on Shenmue again and jump once more into the rabbit hole, especially with this much media contention.
Terribly exciting - and scary - times indeed, my friends. Cheers.