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Kickstarter campaign launches for Shenmue 3

UPDATE: Sony confirms its role in helping bring Yu Suzuki's project to life.

UPDATE#2: Sony has clarified its role in Shenmue 3 in a recent official stream on the game, and revealed it's helping to bring Yu Suzuki's project to life.

Following its spectacular announcement at Sony's E3 conference, there were questions about what the company's involvement was, and why Shenmue 3 was going to Kickstarter at the same time as appearing on-stage. The $2 million amount announced as a goal on the Kickstarter - which was surpassed within 9 hours - doesn't appear to pertain to the game's entire budget, and instead has been used as proof of interest in the project before other investors dive in.

"Sony and PlayStation is definitely a partner in this game," Sony PlayStation's director of third party production and developer relations Gio Corsi. "It's going be run through third-party production. We're going to help YsNet get the game done. We're going to be partners on it the whole way."

UPDATE: And it's funded. Around 10 hours after it was first announced, Shenmue 3 has met its target on Kickstarter. There are still some stretch goals to hit - the next million covers subtitles, while from the targets between three and four million add rapport and skill tree systems as well as new mini-games.

The continuation of Yu Suzuki's series, Shenmue 3 introduces new systems, with technique scrolls allowing you to level up - and obtained through the mini-games and elsewhere in the world. Set in 80s China, it will feature three areas - Baisha, Choubu and Bailu Village. Concept art reveals the presence of characters such as Lan Di, Shenhua and Niao Sun - a character who was previously only glimpsed in promotional materials for Shenmue 2.

Shenmue 3 is being brought to life with the help of Shibuya Productions, a Monaco-based company that is also currently working on an Astroboy reboot for TV, and several of the original members of the production team return to help Yu Suzuki and his YSNet outfit make the game. It's tentatively pencilled in for a release in December 2017.

ORIGINAL STORY: Myth became reality tonight when the Kickstarter campaign for the perpetually pined after Shenmue 3 launched live on Sony's E3 2015 conference stage.

The goal is $2m, and I expect we'll see some records set here.

Platforms mentioned are PC and PS4. The project has a very tentative release date of December 2017.

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