"Shenmue 3" is expected to be released sometime during the second half of this year. After one of the quickest Kickstarter campaigns, Yu Suzuki is finally releasing the continuation of a series that hasn’t seen an entry since 2001 on the Dreamcast, and Xbox. Now 17 years later, fans are finally able to rejoice. However, the gap between is a very long time to remember just where we left the titular character Ryo Hazuki.

With the shortage of great single player games, hopefully, Shenmue 3 will remedy that. Speaking of which, here's a great article on why single player games rock!

'Shenmue'

In 1986 Ryu Hazuki came home to find his family dojo broken into. Venturing further in, he witnesses a confrontation between his father, Iwao, and Lan Di a mysterious martial arts master. Lan Di threatens Ryu’s life to obtain an ancient artifact called the Dragon Mirror.

Relenting, his father reveals its location. With the mirror secured, Lan Di accuses Iwao of murdering a man in China. Ryu watches as Lan Di lands a mortal strike against his father. Left alone, Ryu’s father dies in his arms.

This begins Ryu’s path of revenge against Lan Di, the main driving force of the "Shenmue" series. The world opens up to Ryu as he begins his investigation, leading him to a man named Master Chen.

Upon meeting Master Chen, and his son Guizhang, they reveal that there is, in fact, two mirrors, the other being the Phoenix Mirror. Going home, Ryu is able to locate the other Mirror, fostering a belief that he is ready to go to China to confront Lan Di.

Ryu believes he’s obtaining a ticket to Hong Kong but is instead duped by a group called Chi You Men, Lan Di’s criminal organization. After surviving the attack, the Chi You Men organization sends the biker gang, Mad Angels, to capture his longtime friend Nozomi.

After a brutal struggle, Ryu is able to subdue most of the biker gang and rescue his Nozomi from them.

During the brawl with the Mad Angels, Guizhang is badly hurt, and unable to go with Ryu. Arranging a boat to go to Hong Kong, Ryu must depart alone. With goodbyes to his friends Nozomi and Guizhang, he finally leaves his small town in Yokosuka, Japan.

'Shenmue II'

It’s 1987, a year after Ryu swore vengeance on Lan Di.

Arriving in Wan Chai of Hong Kong, Ryu begins his investigation by looking for Master Lishao Tao. Master Tao had sent a letter to his father, warning him of Lan Di’s intentions. Finally discovering the Master, he finds that her real name is Xiuying Hong. He asks for her help, but she refuses, thinking that revenge is foolish.

Ryo then meets Wuying Ren. A sly leader of a local street gang. Ren is convinced to help Ryo after learning about the mysterious Pheonix Mirror, and that there may possibly be large sums of money.

With his new friend, Ryu also joins up with Wong, a street boy who admires Ren, and Joy, a free-spirit with a fast motorcycle.In their hunt for information on the Chi You Men organization, they are ambushed by the criminal organization Yellow Head. They kidnap Zhu, their only lead, leading Ryo and his allies to infiltrate the Yellow Head headquarter. It doesn’t take long for Wong and Joy to be captured. Ryo fights his way through the organization, saving Joy and Wong. On the rooftop of the Yellow Head Organization, Ryu spots Lan Di departing by helicopter.

At Ren's place, their lead finally reveals that Lan Di killed Ryo's father Iwao because he believed he had killed his own father. Noting that Lan Di’s path of vengeance may not be too far from Ryo’s own. Zhu also reveals the myth of the mirrors, and that their purpose is to resurrect the Qing Dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. Zhu also tells Ryu that Lan Di is heading to Guilin, a beautiful area in the mountains. It’s here that Ryo meets a young woman, Shenhua Ling. Shenhua's explains her family's connection to the mirror, and that they possess magical powers. They walk through the mountains to her village so that she can introduce him to her father. However, upon arrival, they find he’s missing. We are left with Ryu combining the Mirror with a sword as a hilt and thereby revealing a large dragon mural in Shenhua’s family dojo.

What's next?

As you can see, the cast of characters completely shifted for the second game. This could mean that the third installment will probably continue Ryu’s story with Shenhua, and refining his martial arts techniques. From there we can only speculate if his journey will take him to reunite with his friends from the first game, or his partners from the second game. It’ll be very interesting to see where Yu Suzuki takes the story. He’s made no secret that "Shenmue 3" will not be the end, and even from his earliest interviews, he’s always envisioned the series in four parts. I’m excited, I hope you are too!

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