Despite the game being in development since mid-2015 and having a late 2017 release window from the beginning, the lack of substantial updates from the development team made it increasingly obvious that it wasn’t going to meet that window. After the confirmation that the game won’t be making an appearance at E3, a new update has been released by the developers announcing that the game has been officially delayed.
Creator Yu Suzuki made the announcement through the game’s Kickstarter page, where he said that “The game has become bigger and more beautiful than I initially expected. We do, however, need more time to deliver the game to you. In order to achieve the game concept you supported and my 16 year-long personal dream, we have revised the development schedule. We are moving ahead with a plan to release the game in the second half of 2018.”
It will likely be a while until we get any more big updates on the game, especially considering that it’s skipping the biggest gaming convention of the year. It’s possible that we might get to see some actual footage by the end of the year, but at this point it’s all speculation. All I know is that Shenmue fans (including myself) have been waiting many years for the game to finally happen, and hearing about delays makes things all the more excruciating.
One thing that could be used to tide fans over in the meantime are the long-rumored remasters of Shenmue 1 & 2. Sega hinted at these being in the works not too long ago, but we haven’t gotten an official announcement or news on when they might release. It would be excellent if they could get these out prior to the release of Shenmue 3, thus catching the newcomers up on the series and driving even more hype to the third game.