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A bonafide Shenmue remake was actually being developed by Sega for quite a while before the developer/publisher decided to go ahead with the recent Shenmue 1 and Shenmue 2 HD re-releases instead. Footage of both the Shenmue 1 and 2 remakes have been revealed, offering us a glimpse at what could have been for the iconic game franchise.
According to Eurogamer, the Shenmue remake was in development for an unknown number of years before it was finally canceled by Sega due to several reasons. These reasons include budget constraints and delays in development, all of which might have partially contributed to the end of the project. Details are scarce for now, but the video with Shenmue remake footage did manage to shine a bit of light on the canceled game.
The video shows us that the Shenmue remake would have been more ambitious in nature compared to the Shenmue 1 and 2 HD re-releases. The Shenmue remake footage showcased improved renderings with proper shadow maps, as well as texture and foliage which are much higher in resolution. Additional improvements include increased geometry complexity, fully-realized 3D objects, and ambient occlusion.
The Shenmue 2 remake footage also showed several of the same improvements as the Shenmue remake, albeit to a lesser degree. This is presumably because the project was in an earlier development stage compared to the Shenmue remake. At the time of the writing, Sega has not officially responded to the Shenmue remake footage, so we will have to wait for more details and information to come to light.
In other related news, the official release date for the upcoming Shenmue 3 was confirmed earlier in August 2018 after Sega announced its latest delay. It is slated to release on August 27, 2019. At the time, the developer said that “the extra time will be used to polish the quality of the game even further, to the high standards it deserves and release the product in the best possible timeframe.”