What The Online Backlash Against ‘Shenmue III’ Is Leaving Out

Senior Contributor
06.19.15 24 Comments

Now that Shenmue III has racked up more than $3 million, and the game is certainly on the way, the Problem Internet can arrive and gripe about it. And while there are valid concerns, a lot of this stuff is little more than complaining about the obvious.

A lot of the outrage comes from people shocked that Sony, who I’ll remind you announced this game in the middle of their E3 press conference, is going to be involved in the production and distribution of Shenmue III. “But they didn’t disclose this!,” they will complain.

Did they write out in black and white that Sony will be publishing the game? No. But unless you are painfully literal or willfully ignorant, the writing on the wall does not get taller or written in brighter paint. It was announced during Sony’s event. It is an exclusive for PS4 and PC. Of course Sony was involved.

The next step is to be angry Sony wants to see fans pony up money for the game instead of just making the game and putting it out. And yes, fans say they want a new game. But to be quite honest, if a major game company wants fans to put their money where their mouth is, that’s our fault, not theirs.

Most game companies have to understand what gamers will buy is what they’ve bought in the past, which is why Shenmue III has struggled; it’s never been a massive hit. On paper, to Sony, Shenmue III is a giant question mark, a series with a lot of love behind it, but very little money to back up that love. Sony is a business, not a charity: Yes, they are going to want to see the money.

Finally, there’s the fact that this “problem” has a pretty simple solution, that I have explained before. If you don’t like how the game is funded and you don’t want to support that? Don’t pledge. Just like Sony isn’t obligated to make Shenmue III, you’re not obligated to give them money to make it.

Sony is not exempt from criticism, here: They should have been upfront about the relationship and frankly, there needs to be more clarity about where the money from the Kickstarter is actually going. Development? Marketing? Rights acquisition? These are all good things to know, and to be quite honest, I haven’t backed the game because I don’t like that lack of disclosure. But this fake shock and selective amnesia on the part of gamers is frankly a good illustration of why Sony went this route in the first place.

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