Shenmue III, the unlikely cult hit that made headlines in June, has become Kickstarter’s most-funded game ever, finishing its crowdfunding campaign with a little more than $6.3 million.
That’s better than $4 million more than the campaign originally asked for, thanks to the contributions of some 69,320 backers. The previous record for most-funded game was held by Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which pulled in $5.5 million from backers.
Of course, that’s well short of the budget Shenmue III will probably actually need to see completion, and creator Yu Suzuki earlier said he thought the campaign needed to hit $10 million for him to make Shenmue a “truly open world,” whatever that means.
Cool as it is that it seems Shenmue fans will finally get the third game they’ve been waiting more than a decade to play (even though Suzuki also said it’d probably take a fourth game to actually complete the story), this hasn’t exactly been the most forthright, confidence-inspiring Kickstarter campaign. Where the crowdfunding platform often is (hopefully) used by folks who can’t otherwise find the money to bring their creative endeavors to life, Shenmue III’s Kickstarter was announced at E3 2015 on Sony’s press conference stage. Let that sink in: developer Ys Net already had a financial relationship with Sony, and used Sony’s platform to ask for players to put up development money for the game.
Tidbits of the game that have come out of the campaign, like this recently released video (not to mention amateurish images like the one above), also have been a bit underwhelming. It seems more likely the $2 million Kickstarter campaign was meant as a quick and semi-lucrative way to gauge mass interest in a Shenmue sequel, and it seems at least around 70,000 people really, really want one. So Sony and whoever else might be backing the game has severely lowered their risk of investing in a project they worried might not make any money. Sometimes gaming and Kickstarter simply shouldn’t mix.
So shady as that all might feel—video game fans yet again taking on the financial risk of a project so corporations can feel safer about making money—the good news is, it seems there will soon be a lot of happy Shenmue fans out there. Now they just have to wait until December 2017 (or later) to actually play it.