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Yu Suzuki Hopes Shenmue City Leads to Future Developments For Series

Creator discusses story framework and Mafia Wars influences in interview.


Famitsu.com was able to corner Shenmue series creator Yu Suzuki for a one-on-one interview at today's Shenmue City press conference. Suzuki discussed the origins of the Shenmue City project and also touched upon the Shenmue series framework as a whole.

The site first asked Suzuki to explain how Shenmue City came to be. Suzuki began by addressing the game Shenmue City is not -- Shenmue 3. "Shenmue has the image of grand scale," said Suzuki. "But making something of grand scale requires appropriate preparation. I want to make 3 with the same volume as in the past. There have actually been a lot of requests from fans for 3 as well. There were even petitions signed by by tens of thousands of people. I wanted to carry out my obligations for the series."

Suzuki was in this state of mind when Mafia Wars entered the picture. He got the chance to try out the popular social game, and while he initially didn't understand what was going on, he eventually came to enjoy it.

Mafia Wars made Suzuki think that perhaps he could show the world of Shenmue from an interesting perspective that didn't demand the top level of graphics and sound, two areas for which the series has come to be known. He also felt that if they could make this different type of Shenmue a success, perhaps they'd be able to do additional things with the series in the future.

In addition the possibility of opening up the series to future developments, Suzuki told Famitsu.com that he felt the future potential of social gaming, making him want to try his hand at the genre.

Elsewhere in the Famitsu.com interview, Suzuki shared a few bits about the series' story framework.

During the press conference, a reporter had asked Suzuki if he planned on completing the series' full 16 chapters at some point. Suzuki corrected the question, saying that the story actually has 11 chapters.

In the Famitsu.com interview, Suzuki explained what he means by "chapters." Suzuki uses the style of novelizing his scenarios before converting them into a game script. He takes this approach because he feels the story and emotional impact can be more deeply expressed through novelizations. It's not necessarily the case that these novelizations are converted directly into game form, but they are made with the idea of being converted into games, inserting quick timer events in one area, inserting gameplay systems in other areas, and so-forth.

Just because there are eleven chapters, it doesn't seem that Suzuki actually plans on having eleven Shenmue games at some point. Thinking about how to put those eleven chapters into the form of a game is something Suzuki feels he'll have to consider if given the chance to make a new Shenmue. "It would be possible to finish the entire story in a single game if we were to show just the highlights and skip over parts," said Suzuki. Joking that the game would probably never reach the end if they made one title every five years, he said, "If given the chance, I'd have to think about the scale and the time frame. The Shenmue essence is, of course, in the scenarios I've made. I'd have to think how to make something from them."

Visit Famitsu.com for a look at the Shenmue City press conference and some close up pics of Suzuki's crew cut.

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