A Shenmue 3 demo release date period has been announced, allowing those who helped to successfully crowdfund the long-awaited sequel on Kickstarter to get an early hands-on look at the game ahead of its release. The arrival window for Shenmue 3‘s demo — officially labeled the Backer Trial Version — is currently the second half of September, though the announcement post does promise to provide a further update when a specific date is finalized. The trial will only be available to players on PC, not PS4, and will require an Epic Games Store account to access.
The pre-release build of Shenmue 3 is said to include a standalone act set entirely in Bailu Village, an early area within the game. There’s an estimated 1-hour playtime, though it’s also noted that you can continue playing in order to experience numerous side activities that should help to keep you busy through until the trial period expires. Specificities of that trial period weren’t shared, unfortunately, so it’s currently unclear whether there’s a set period the trial will be live for, during which players can enjoy it to their heart’s content, or whether each player will be limited to a set number of hours individually.
Either way, the download comes with a PDF play guide which should help to maximize any time spent with the Shenmue 3 demo. According to the announcement, this early build of the game has received a “lot of work” in order to be representative of the final product, but it’s worth bearing in mind that save game files will not be transferrable to the main game — any progress you make in the trial version will remain there and there only.
You can get your hands on a copy of the full version when it launches November 19 on PS4 and PC as a timed exclusive to the Epic Games Store. Anybody looking to play the PC version on Steam is in for a long wait, as the Valve platform currently lists Shenmue 3 for release on November 19, 2020.