As delighted as everyone was to see that Shenmue 3 will finally see the light of day, the fact that it was announced by Sony and would be funded through Kickstarter with a (relatively speaking) measly goal of $2 million raised some eyebrows. It turns out that Sony will be heavily funding the project, so why the Kickstarter?
Gio Corsi, Sony’s director of third party software told us at E3,
“So, this [Shenmue III] has been ask for ever since I’ve been at PlayStation, and we met with Suzuki-san at GDC last year and we started the long road to try to figure out how we were going to get this thing made. And we said the only way this is going to happen is if the fans speak up, and we thought Kickstarter was the perfect place to do this.”
“So we set a goal for $2 million dollars and if the fans come in and back it, then absolutely we are going to make this a reality,” he added. “Sony and PlayStation are definitely a partner in this game.
The game of course shot to it’s goal of $2 million within 9 hours, which the Kickstarter page even experiencing difficulty with the volume of traffic to the site. Was there every any question of this not happening? It’s been no secret that many people wanted Shenmue 3. And why the goal of $2 million when the previous game cost $70 million? That’s where Sony comes in.
The announcement and subsequent Kickstarter generated a lot of interest. It was funded extremely fast indicating to Sony that this is a low to no risk venture for them. It also got people who haven’t played the game to sit up and take notice when it was funded so quickly. People who haven’t played the Shenmue series have now heard about it and many want to play it. These are the positives coming from the arrival of Shenmue on Kickstarter. There is however a downside to this.
The goals that are being set by the project seem deceiving. The fact that Sony will be mostly funding the project with Kickstarter only adding a small amount to the overall cost of the game begs the question, would Sony leave these features out of the finished project? The language goals have all been met. Italian and Spanish fans breath a sigh of relief. Many argue the point that Sony would not have cut out this market completely and added in these subtitles. The next goals involve a skill tree system, an expanded Baisha Village, minigames, and extra quests. I believe these are things that fans want, but why wouldn’t Sony add these anyway? Why should the fans essentially have to preorder to get a quality game?
At the time of writing the funding is already at $3,317,837, so it’s likely the next goal will be hit. Of course there are some pretty cool rewards in the higher tiers for those who have plenty of money to spare, but if you’re one of those people that question the honesty of pre-ordering maybe you should hold off. As that is essentially what you’re doing.
So what’s your take on this practice? There is plenty of argument for as worthy games often get turned away by publishers and maybe if they saw interest from the public they’d get behind the projects, allowing for a broader spectrum of AAA games. Or maybe you think it’s dishonest of Sony to allow these Kickstarter goals in the name of generating more money? Let us know!