Rumblings of an HD re-release of Shenmue 1 & 2 have been in the air for a while, heating up in 2016 after Shenmue III entered full production. We originally reported in 2017 that we had heard rumors of such a project in development at SEGA that was once expected to be announced by the end of the year, but cautioned that was subject to change. Unfortunately for fans of the series, no announcement was made and the mystery lingered on.
Since then, I’ve heard an update from those same sources and have spoken to other journalists in Europe that claim the project is still alive and kicking at SEGA, but has been pushed back indefinitely. The reasoning behind this is said to be to related to the delayed development of Shenmue III.
When it was first announced at E3 2015, Shenmue III was stated to be targeting a launch in December 2017. In June 2017, following some sporadic updates on the game’s Kickstarter, it was officially pushed back into the second half of 2018. According to new rumors, these delays caused plans for the HD remasters of Shenmue 1 & 2 to fluctuate. As Shenmue III’s release is now uncertain, pinned down only to the last 6 months of 2018, SEGA is rumored to apparently be waiting for a more opportune time to drop 1 & 2, co-ordinating the timing around the launch of the third game.
One source directly linked to SEGA shared that the publisher was considering making an announcement all the way back at E3 in 2017, but was put off when Shenmue III slipped into 2018.
Raising over $6 million on Kickstarter, the long awaited conclusion to the trilogy has a lot to live up to and could easily find itself falling behind schedule again if Yu Suzuki & co. want to apply further polish. If there’s any truth to all of these rumors, it could still be a while before Shenmue fans see the first two games receive the HD remaster treatment. So far, these rumors go without any official word from SEGA, so we recommend readers take them with a pinch of salt for now.
We'll keep you updated as the story develops.