Shenmue 3, for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC, is now scheduled for a 2019 launch window, publisher Deep Silver announced this morning. This is the second time the game has been delayed since it was announced with a Kickstarter campaign at Sony’s E3 news conference in 2015.
“The extra time will be used to polish the quality of the game even further, to the high standards it deserves and release the product in the best possible timeframe,” Deep Silver said in a brief statement today.
Suzuki added this note for backers of the project.
To all of our backers, we are very sorry for the delay. After much discussion with our partners, Deep Silver, we have concluded that extending the release will allow us to deliver Shenmue III at its best. We promise to use this time to improve the quality of Shenmue III.
We cannot thank you enough for your enduring support.
Shenmue 3 is the most-funded Kickstarter video game project of all time at $6.3 million, more than tripling its original goal of $2 million. Creator Yu Suzuki took the stage at PlayStation’s E3 2015 keynote to announce the return of the beloved series, which last appeared in 2001 on Dreamcast and Xbox. It was initially announced with a delivery date of December 2017.
In June 2017, however, Suzuki announced that his studio, Ys Net, was moving the launch window to the latter half of 2018.
Despite the enormous fan appeal and outpouring of support, Shenmue 3’s announcement sparked controversy, especially because it was the first video game Kickstarter to be announced at an E3 news conference. Shenmue 3 also is being made with an unknown amount of backing from other sources, including Sony. Shortly after it was announced, Suzuki went into a Reddit AMA to say that it needed $10 million in funding to be a true open-world game. That provoked an industrywide discussion about the appropriateness of a AAA game project soliciting crowdfunding from the stage of a console maker.
Kickstarter funding for game projects declined 60 percent in 2016. In 2017, Kickstarter touted a record $163 million pledged to game projects — though in both cases the figures comprise tabletop and card games as well as video games.