Shenmue 3
June 19, 2015

After Starlight Inception, I promised myself I wouldn't back another Kickstarter. To say I was letdown by Starlight is an understatement, and it really put me off the whole funding model altogether. But now, the unthinkable has happened, and Shenmue III is being released via the platform. Notice I say “released” instead of funded. The actual funding for the game is coming from our friends at Sony, since, as Forbes pointed out, there is simply no way a paltry (though potentially record breaking for Kickstarter) few million would fund a sequel to a game like Shenmue. Or, at least, a sequel anyone would want to play.

The first obstacle I got over to donate to Shenmue III was my previous disappointment. I got over this the moment I read a text from my friend telling me the project was announced. I donated as soon as I could, within a few hours, with no hesitation. It wasn't until the next day that I started thinking about what actually happened, which, to be cynical about it, was essentially Sony demanding $2 million in preorders in order to fund a beloved fan project. I realized this issue before I read the other Forbes article decrying the situation. In the article, David Thier states, “As with most games like this, most of the Kickstarter rewards amount to pre-order bonuses, and I tend to always advise against pre-orders of any kind. This kind of pre-order is the most 'pre' imaginable. We’ve seen virtually nothing from this game...”

I don't quite agree with that statement, but I certainly sympathize with it. I rarely preorder games, not for any grand philosophical reason, but more because I'm cheap and don't mind waiting 6 months or more for the inevitable, significant price drops that occur like clockwork for all but my most anticipated games. For this reason, I don't mind this Kickstarter in general, but I'll admit it's a little deceptive. One aspect in particular, the stretch goals, do really rub me the wrong way. I would like to know the relationship between the goals and Sony's funding. Are they funding triple what is raised? Quadruple? Ten times? Are they scaling to Kickstarter at all or is there a flat amount? If the latter, then the stretch goals are absurd, asking for only hundreds of thousands of dollars to add significant content. (I won't even touch the ridiculous inclusion of various subtitles as stretch goals.)

But I'll take Shenmue III warts and all. And really, Kickstarter offers far cooler levels of swag than a preorder from Gamestop would. If it were released traditionally, this would certainly be one of those rare titles I preordered anyway. I'm only at the $29 level right now, but I will certainly raise that. I'm not sure if I just want a capsule toy, or if I need a t-shirt too, but I'm definitely going to donate more and check the Kickstarter page often. Maybe I'll get that sweet replica jacket for $3,000. (Honey, if you're reading this, I promise that's a joke.) Even if in the end all we're doing is giving more confidence to a massive company so they will bankroll a game, and not actually “crowdfunding” anything, I'm happy to be a part of this thing, and overjoyed to see Shenmue conclude.

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JANUS2 JANUS2 - June 19, 2015 (04:31 PM)
I paid $60. I'm looking it as a pre-order for a cool version that might potentially be valuable in a few years plus some limited involvement to keep me interested over the next two years.

The stretch goals thing is silly though.
honestgamer honestgamer - June 19, 2015 (04:35 PM)
Yeah, I figure it's highly likely that Sony has promised to provide a set multiple of whatever the crowdfunding campaign generates. On Twitter, I suggested that quadruple makes sense, but really it could be any number. It's actually quite a clever way to gauge and respond to consumer interest, and I feel that a lot of people are being as cynical as they are because either they're ridiculously cynical in the first place, or they know that stirring the pot generates clicks. Which I guess is me being cynical myself... Anyway, I'm currently a backer and hope I can still afford for that to be the case when the project ends. Unlike you, I've funded quite a few games on Kickstarter, and I have found the experience largely positive.
Germ Germ - June 20, 2015 (09:08 AM)

"I will say this: if we reach the $5 mil mark, one of the things I really want to do with Shenmue 3 will become a reality.
At $10 million, it will truly have the features of an open world."

Convinced the wife to let me up my pledge to $175.

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