Yu Suzuki did an interview with IGN Japan recently with some interesting tidbits about both this game and a possible Shenmue 4. Some of these might have been covered elsewhere in other interviews/publications, but this popped up in my feed so I figured I'd give it a read through. Here are some roughly translated notes from my reading. I'm not fully fluent/literate, so take these with a grain of salt. He knew that the game was going to be compared (implied unfavorably) to modern open-world games, but considers his game completely different from those Shenmue 3 was made directly for the longtime fans, and then he used whatever extra time/budget he had to try and satisfy some needs of more casual fans If he has the chance to make Shenmue 4 (which he thinks he will), he wants to implement features that will make the game more appealing to casual fans. These include adding quest markers (such as differentiating between main and side quest, places to spend money, places to battle, etc. but with an interface where you minimize the information if desired to reduce on-screen information), including fast travel, allow time-skip features (such as by sitting on a bench), and change the UI to make it more comprehensible. He believes that these changes will increase the pacing of the story, and allow a player to progress through the game at about 1.5x the speed of Shenmue 3 (assuming that the two games are roughly the same size/scope). When asked whaat he would add to satisfy long term fans, he responded implementing throws/grapples (?, never played these games so tell me if that's something people have been asking for) and include better facial animations He also said that the towns are too empty, which isn't like China, and hopes to increase NPCs by 4x He wants Shenmue to have more fleshed out side quests that flesh out the relationships between the people in the towns, and he wants the progression of the main story to flesh out the backstories/relationships of the characters. (This is one part where my translation is a bit rough and should be double-checked) He thinks the current trend is towards these large, gorgeous open/magical worlds, but if all games become like that they become hard to tell apart. Rather than obsess over those aspects, he thinks it's just as interesting to work with smaller/more confined spaces. The interviewer then provided the example of the ghost ship to Yokohama from Shenmue 3 (? again, didn't play) He says that as a craftsman, he wants to try working with both simpler and new techniques. For example, a game might move much more smoothly and provide a greater sense of realism by focusing on these smaller and confined areas, but various problems arise if you get stuck in these tighter roads causing you to wonder when they might open up. He doesn't think any studio has quite mastered this balance of movement/exploration in these tight areas yet. (At this point the interviewer commented that there aren't many games focusing on exploring back alleys, which made me think of Huber). He continues to elaborate on this point, noting that he wants to make a game where you can explore these narrow spaces and still run into interesting characters. He wants to create a game where the player can always feel the balance of craftsmanship and artistic flair in these kinds of areas/scenarios. Suzuki says he mad Shenmue 3 for the fans, but he wants to be free to do new things next. He then returned to his vision for the story of Shenmue, noting that he views the story as progressing one chapter at a time. He then compared it to the film series, "It's Tough Being a Man," which I recently learned is the longest running film series starring the same actor. I do not care for them. Either way, it sounds like he's saying "get ready, it's gonna be a long ride." The interviewer, who was generally acquiescing to everything Suzuki was saying, also pointed this out. I don't think Suzuki actually came up with a real response to this beyond just joking that video games are really difficult and time consuming to make, but also saying that he views this as a new start of sorts for him. He compared this to when he was starting Virtua Fighter, which he comments all the sudden had five installments. He notes that he knows Shenmue 3 is flawed, and gives Italian cars as an extreme example (dude loves his cars): they're easy to break, but when they're feeling good there's no car like them. He says that the attraction to the cars themselves outweighs the flaws that they have, but once you know they're there you have to fix them. In this case, he then draws the comparison to Shemue 3's battle system, which I get the impression he wasn't entirely pleased with. He wants to make it so you delve more deeply into each technique in Shenmue 4, as opposed to gathering the skillbooks for many different techniques. The interviewer then commented that they preferred the moments in Shenmue 3 where the skills were taught as a more involved event/story (?). Suzuki noted that originally they didn't think they could put those moments in the game, but they tried to fit as many in as they could before time/money ran out. He wants to continue making Shenmue games, but is also interested in trying new genres/themes, from racing games to fantasy games to sci-fi games.