Osamu Murata, who worked on the original Shenmue, says that creator Yu Suzuki doesn’t really want to make a Shenmue social game.
Murata, who was the voice recording chief for Shenmue’s localization into English, says he has “complicated feelings” about the recently announced Shenmue Town, a “social game” created by Yahoo Japan’s PC based social gaming platform, Yahoo Mobage, and mobile internet company DeNa.
Writing on Twitter, Murata said that a friend of his had set up Yahoo Mobage, and while he wanted to be pleased for his success, he was unhappy that someone was making a Shenmue game that he felt couldn’t live up to the quality of the originals.
Murata said that when he was working on the original Shenmue, creator Yu Suzuki was a perfectionist who would get very angry if anyone cut corners. Murata remembered Suzuki working tirelessly to get the effect he wanted, even if it meant that he collapsed or made himself sick. Murata was convinced that what Suzuki really wanted to do was to release Shenmue on the PS3 or Xbox 360, although whether he was talking about a new Shenmue game or a re-release of the original isn’t clear. He said that he wasn’t sure what to feel when the thought about what had pushed Sega and Suzuki to the point of making a Shenmue social game.
Not that Sega is openly admitting to have anything to do with the game just yet. Murata said that he talked to contacts at Sega, who had told him that the Yahoo Mobage and a new company that Suzuki had set up were handling development duties and that Sega was waiting to see if the game was successful before putting its stamp on it.
Murata’s comments are pretty damning, but he’s making a lot of assumptions, both about the quality of Shenmue Town and about Yu Suzuki’s attitudes and situation. When you’ve helped create something, it’s understandable to be a little upset when someone does something with it that you don’t like, but Murata is judging the game based on almost no information at all.