Last week, Sega revealed (opens in new tab) the first two Shenmue games, originally released in 1999 and 2001 for the Dreamcast, are coming to PC. Now, John Clark, Sega Europe's vice president of publishing, has said this was tentatively planned internally for several years.
In conversation with IGN (opens in new tab) at Tokyo's Sega Fes 2018, Clark says that the discussion to re-release Shenmue and Shenmue 2 predated the third game's 2015 Kickstarter campaign—but that the buzz generated by the latter underscored the series' wider appeal.
"We saw the talk surrounding the announcement of Shenmue 3, and we saw the demand for that game," Clark tells IGN (opens in new tab). "[Ports of] Shenmue 1 and 2 had been a discussion pre-Shenmue 3, but I think that it all helped raise the awareness internally and externally. giving Sega Europe’s team the leverage it needed to push the project forward.
"I think it was inevitable Shenmue 1 and 2 was going to come out, the Western market was expanding in its desire for more Japanese content."
Moreover, the success of the Bayonetta, Vanquish and Valkyria Chronicles on PC has encouraged Sega to consider a "wishlist" of future re-releases—something which Clark discussed (opens in new tab) with Samuel at last year's E3 (opens in new tab).
"We have a wishlist, and one of the first games that we brought out [from that list] was Valkyria Chronicles. That came out on PC, and the appetite for that game on PC led to it coming out on console as well, and now we see that the franchise is becoming really healthy.
"That triggered renewed interest in the West for [Sega's] Japanese titles, and they started to go to a bigger audience in the West than they had, say, ten years or 15 years ago. It was encouraging for us and for Sega in Japan to see that. I think that influenced and gave us leverage on the kind of titles we could bring out, titles like Shenmue.
Clark tells IGN that there are "more games on the list" and "more announcements to be made", however he and Sega are for now pleased to focus on Shenmue and its sequel's re-release.