UPDATE 16/10/18 3:52pm: Sega has been in touch with a statement - "SEGA and D3T indeed had started exploring the feasibility of a full HD remaster for Shenmue I & II. That being said, we soon realised that this was a project with its own set of challenges. Working with original animations and characters but meshing them with enhanced HD visuals gave us a game that we felt would not meet the standards that Shenmue fans expect and deserve. Rather than going ahead with a release that may disappoint fans, we chose to focus on bringing the classic game to PC and modern consoles, so that new players could experience Shenmue's original charm."
Original story: Shenmue - a game of discovery and adventure. It's a timeless classic and one with a deep and fascinating history - which becomes even more compelling today. As we know, Sega tasked UK developer d3t with remastering Shenmue and its sequel for the current generation consoles and PC. What we received was a good game that brought classic Shenmue to today's machines, albeit with visuals based almost exclusively on the original AM2 assets. But what we now know is that prior to completing this work, plans were afoot for something considerably more ambitious - a comprehensive remake with completely revamped artwork more in step with the capabilities of the host platforms. We've seen it and today, you will too.
So, what's the story here? Well, the details are murky but as we understand it, this more in-depth remaster/remake was in development for quite some time before the plug was pulled due to budget constraints and development delays - and perhaps owing to concerns with the nature of some of the changes being made. We only have a rough idea of what happened and we can't presume to understand all of the business reasons behind Sega's change in direction, but the bottom line is that in common with other unfinished and cancelled projects, the work-in-progress video we received adds a further dimension to the history of one of gaming's most celebrated franchises.