Despite some wondrous gains from Microsoft's money slinging of yesteryear, we may soon suffer the woe of another lost European release in the shape of Shenmue II on Xbox, whereas the American RPG vanguard will receive an even greater bounty than previously estimated. Shenmue II is due to be released in the US on November 6th, and will include a 90-minute DVD of Shenmue: The Movie, a Japanese cinema production charting the tale of Ryo's quest to avenge his father's death. Naturally European gamers wouldn't expect to receive such a glorious package in exchange for their crumpled single currency, but if Shenmue II's disappearance from Xbox.com/UK is anything to go by, then we won't even find a slender domestic release to lament. A while ago we were alerted to a bit of disparity between the contents of Xbox.com - the American mother-site - and its regional subsites for Europe. Although Shenmue II had long been featured on the Adventure Games pages of both Xbox.com and Xbox.com/UK, the port of the slim-selling Dreamcast release has since vanished. A technical glitch? Possibly, but when Microsoft, Sega and Infogrames all declined to comment, our interest peaked. Not even a complement of screenshots released to Europe last week could drive it to wane - after all, they came from the American X02 event. There are plenty of good business reasons not to release Shenmue II in Europe. It didn't sell that many copies in the first place, it wasn't as critically acclaimed as its predecessor, and localisation costs would be almost impossible to recoup. Sadly, the more you think about it, the more obvious it seems. Argumentative responses about fuelling the proliferation of mod chips and the import market aside, this would be a sad outcome, but it seems an increasingly likely one. Related Feature - Shenmue II review (Dreamcast)
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