The third instalment of Sony's acclaimed Shenmue series has become the fastest game to raise $1m on crowd-funding website Kickstarter.After a 14-year wait, Sony announced Shenmue 3 at the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles yesterday.Tech Crunch reported that the project had raised more than $1.3m in the three hours after the campaign launched, well past the halfway mark to Sony’s goal of raising $2m in one month.
Creator Yu Suzuki described his ambitions for "a grand sequel" on the Kickstarter campaign page, explaining that he had to take into account the "pragmatic realities" of developing a game of this scale.
The use of Kickstarter, more often a fundraising tool for small, start-up firms, is unusual for a company as well established as Sony, but Suzuki said the approach would result in a better game.
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"If Shenmue 3 was going to get made, I wanted to make it with the fans," he said. "Through Kickstarter, I knew that could happen. Together, with Shenmue fans everywhere, I knew we could build the game that the series deserves."The Shenmue series was planned as a 16-chapter epic spanning several games, though this was later cut down to 11 chapters. The game aims to emulate a living world, in which the player can interact with every aspect, from characters to drawers. The storyline follows the path of a young man searching for vengeance after his father's murder at the hands of a Chinese underlord.The first instalment was introduced on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999 and covered the first chapter. Its sequel, Shenmue 2, was released on Dreamcast in 2001 and Xbox a year later, and covered the next four chapters. Both prequels were lauded by critics, with entertainment site IGN rating the first game 9.7/10 and the second 8.3/10.By noon today, BST, Shenmue 3 had passed through the $2m barrier, with the help of more than 22,000 backers. The game, planned for release on Playstation 4 and PC, is expected in 2017.
While Shenmue 3 is the fastest game to raise $1m, it is not the fastest Kickstarter campaign to reach $1m. That accolade goes to smartwatch Pebble Time, which took only 49 minutes to reach the milestone, CNET reported.
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