Oh. My. God.
That's pretty much the only real way to react to this news. Just as we thought we were getting too jaded and bitter for this whole games journalism lark, just as we thought we were doomed to brown shooter 5000 for the next 20 years, something comes along and drags us back in, reminding us why we loved games in the first place. From out of nowhere, at the Sony E3 conference last night, a sequel to our favourite game of all time, the ludicrously ambitious Dreamcast adventure, Shenmue, has been announced - and it's on Kickstarter now.
Originally released in 1999, Shenmue was one of those games that had had an incredibly long and protracted development. Aiming perhaps too high (and using up the largest budget of any game, at the time), it was an adventure set in a small town in Japan, that told the tale of Ryo Hazuki - a man who sets out on a quest to avenge his father's death, after witnessing his murder by a man named Lan Di, all because of a magical mirror. What follows is a journey through a game that mixes the bland with the exceptional, as you go about your day to day life, whilst trying to track down your father's mysterious killer. Whether you're driving forklift trucks at the docks to raise money for a trip to China, interrogating folks down at the local bar, training yourself in the martial arts, so you'll stand a chance when you eventually come face to face with Lan Di himself, or just feeding a stray kitten you find in a nearby cardboard box, Shenmue was one of the first games to make you feel like you were in a real world, with real people going about their daily lives - and it had a heck of a soundtrack, too.
Now, in an announcement that shocked just about anyone and everyone, it's been finally announced that Shenmue 3 will actually be happening - some 14 years after the second game was launched. As may perhaps have been expected, despite being announced at the Sony conference, the project is actually on Kickstarter, where they're looking for $2m in funding (a fairly small budget by today's standards). At the time of writing, they were almost there - and the Kickstarter's not even been going for 12 hours. Quite why a publisher didn't want to get on board and fund this is anyone's guess - but the money's obviously there.
Still, in the space of one game announcement, the magic has been poured back into E3. What had become more of a trudge in recent years as the latest Forza/COD/Gears, etc were rolled out suddenly feels like the show of old, where anything can happen - even those games you've always dreamed about. Here's the kickstarter trailer below, including the first, in engine footage (it's being made using Unreal Engine 4, tech fans). If that music doesn't send chills down your spine, you're clearly not living.
Why not head over to the Kickstarter page yourself, and chuck a few bob their way?