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Shenmue is an action-adventure game developed by Sega AM2 and published by Sega for the Dreamcast in 1999 in Japan and 2000 in other territories. Directed, written and produced by Yu Suzuki, it is the first game in the Shenmue series. The player controls martial artist Ryo Hazuki as he sets out in revenge for the murder of his father in 1980s Yokosuka, Japan, exploring an open world, fighting opponents in brawler battles, and encountering quick time events. The environmental detail was considered unprecedented, with numerous interactive objects, a day-and-night system, variable weather effects, non-player characters with daily schedules, and various minigames.
After developing several successful Sega arcade games, including Hang-On (1985), Out Run (1986) and Virtua Fighter (1993), Suzuki wanted to create a longer experience, and conceived Shenmue as a multi-part epic. AM2 began work on a role-playing game for the Sega Saturn set in the Virtua Fighter world. In 1997, development moved to the Dreamcast and the Virtua Fighter connection was dropped. Shenmue became the most expensive video game ever developed at the time, with an estimated production and marketing cost of between US$47 and $70 million, though development also covered some of Shenmue II (2001).
Shenmue received mostly positive reviews; critics praised its graphics, soundtrack, realism and ambition, but criticized its controls, slow pace and voice acting. Though its realism and focus on mundane detail divided players, it attracted a cult following, appearing in several lists of the greatest video games of all time, and is credited for pioneering game systems including quick time events and open worlds. Despite sales of 1.2 million, Shenmue did not recoup its development cost and was a commercial failure.
After the release of Shenmue II, further games in the series entered development hell and Suzuki left Sega. In 2018, after cancelling a remake, Sega released high-definition ports of Shenmue and Shenmue II for multiple formats. Shenmue III was released for PlayStation 4 and Windows in 2019, following a successful crowdfunding campaign.
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Shenmue System Requirements
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP / 7 / 8 / 10
- Processor: Intel i3-560 or AMD FX-4300
- RAM: 4 GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1 GB or AMD Radeon 6990
- Hard disk space: 25 GB