September 22, 2000
Click here for the SOA press release about Shen Mue.
Of all the top quality titles set to be released on Dreamcast there is one game that continually stands out from the crowd, Shen Mue. Yu Suzuki has been working on the game for well over 3 years now and has spent over $US10 million ($AU17 million) along the way. Was it worth the money? From what has been seen so far, the answer looks to be a very big YES.
On Decmeber 20, 1998 Sega of Japan held a large conference to show off this game. The event was broadcast live over the Internet and it was amazing. With a full orchestra to open the event everyting was immaculate, including the game. The conference reminded me of the first time I saw Resident Evil on the Playstation. No, the games aren't very similar, but I have a feeling that this game will shift consoles off the shelves just as Resident Evil did.
The game is set in the 1980's and although little is known about the plot the detail level in the game will be astounding. If you have enough money it will be possible to go into an arcade and play classic Sega games such as Hang On, After Burner, Space Harrier and Out Run.
As you can see from the above screenshots (which were from very early in 1999) the graphics already look awesome. Even the characters faces are exquisite. With Shen Mue now delayed until Spring in Japan there is still time to improve the game even further. It's no wonder people are saying this game will determine the fortune of the Dreamcast.
Another feature of the game is the changing time of day. As you can see in some of the pictures the game includes a clock. The AM2 team are currently looking at 3 minutes of game time equal to about 1 hour of life in the game world, this may still be altered before the final release. Detail such as shops closing at 8pm will be included in the game which adds a new dimension to the gameplay. Make sure you buy food and equipment before the shops shut.
Although it was initially reported that the game would be split up into 16 chapters and release seperately it now looks like after the first chapter each release will contain 3 or 4 chapters. Even though people feared the seperation of the game would result in only a couple of hours of gameplay SOJ have announced there will be over 20 hours of gameplay in the first chapter alone.
Shen Mue will be released outside Japan, probably in mid 2000. Sega are toying with the idea of including subtitles in the game and keeping the Japanese speech, although nothing is certain yet. This game will be huge.