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Shenmue Is The Waterworld Of Videogames (The Jimquisition)

Nov 5, 2017
11,937
Jim Sterling analyses the Shenmue Series and why it is a joke at least in his opinion.

Waterworld was a very, very, very expensive movie to make, and it was a flop. A very, very, very big flop.

Anyway, let's talk about Shenmue! Shenmue III is finally out, floating off the back of millions in crowdfunding, multiple publisher backers, and a wave of hype. Disproportionate hype, it would seem, given the game's market performance thus far. The thing is, Shenmue isn't all that popular, despite being so requested, and so critically acclaimed. What's more, it's always been very, very, very expensive to make... and a flop.[/spoiler]
 

Ravio-li

Member
Dec 24, 2018
208
oh my.. this thread will be fun.

Never played Shenmue, but was always interested to play it. The last time I gave an old game with dated controls and overambitious concepts a try it turned out to be one of my favorite RPG's ever (Gothic 1).
 
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Dec 2, 2017
6,765

Waterworld was a very, very, very expensive movie to make, and it was a flop. A very, very, very big flop. Anyway, let's talk about Shenmue! Shenmue III is finally out, floating off the back of millions in crowdfunding, multiple publisher backers, and a wave of hype. Disproportionate hype, it would seem, given the game's market performance thus far. The thing is, Shenmue isn't all that popular, despite being so requested, and so critically acclaimed. What's more, it's always been very, very, very expensive to make... and a flop.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,970
Waterworld wasn't as big a flop as people believe and it isn't as bad as people pretended.

So yeah shouty Jim might be right on this one.
 

Arta

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,352
I’d have gone with Snakes On A Plane. Tons of internet hype that didn’t transfer into sales.

And the fact that the end product is dreadful.
 

The-JUV

Member
Oct 25, 2017
192
for this to be true wouldn't that mean Shenmue 3 would have had to have an enormous budget, which I am assuming is not the case
 

lobdale

Member
Oct 25, 2017
985
Shenmue has always been a niche game with a niche following and niche success even though the first one had a huge budget, what a wild and alarming note.
 

Acquiescence

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,531
Lake Titicaca
Though widely called a box office bomb upon its release, even nicknamed "Kevin's Gate" (after Heaven's Gate (1980)) and "Fishtar" (after Ishtar (1987)) the film eventually turned a profit. The film cost $235 million to produce and market, and grossed $264 million worldwide in 1995, of which approximately 55% ($145 million) went to the studio and the remainder to theaters. As of 2013 the film had actually earned a profit of $8 million from video sales and television licensing.
 

Fisty

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,185
Shenmue is good though

And Ryo has like 2 or 3 more emotions than Kevin Costner
 
Jul 28, 2019
2,614
I mean, I respect him not liking the series and what it is going for, but to create multiple videos just ranting about its existence seems to me to be the height of petulance (and I say this as a Jim Sterling fan, as well as someone who cannot stand Shenmue).
 
Jun 12, 2018
278
Shenmue is a great series. Shame he doesnt click with it but thats how it goes with videogames. Some games you like, some you dont

I should make a YouTube channel and shit talk games i dont like or click with.
 

saenima

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,426
Finally turning a profit 20 years later still makes it a flop. Not that it matters in this case, as the analogy doesn't work in any way. Waterworld had a lot of problems shooting, was completely out of control budget wise, it was aiming for the mainstream audience and it was a pretty decent movie.
 

ianpm31

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,652
Figured he would do this. Pretty wack. Coming from a guy who loves Deadly Premonition but talks negatively about S3 graphics.

Shenmue 3 is a good game. Not to mention he's factual wrong on a lot of things.
 
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Dec 2, 2017
6,765
I don't particularly enjoy Shenmue either, but surely its well known it was a niche product with niche sales.
 

TheJollyCorner

The Fallen
Nov 7, 2017
2,372
Won't have a chance to watch Jim's video until later, but just seeing a blanket comparison to Waterworld seems like a forced 'dunk' on Shenmue III. Maybe it would be comparable to Waterworld if fans were somehow begging for a Kevin Costner driven post-apocalyptic action film, some passion-producer pulled a bunch of money together from donors, made the film, and it bombed... and... I dunno. I can't assume I know the exact connection he's trying to make until I watch. I'm generally in the camp of people that enjoy Sterling's videos from an entertainment perspective, but I also think the guy makes decent points a lot of the time.


On a side, I just hope Shenmue fans are happy with it.
To get this game at all seems pretty incredible and I don't think any reasonable fan expected Shenmue III to be a worldwide top seller.

As a Silent Hill fan, I'd be thrilled if Imamura and Tsuboyama kickstarted even a AA 'Silent Hill 5'... just to have it. I certainly wouldn't expect it to sell a ton of copies.
 

Praxis

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,882
UK
I don't like Shenmue, other than the unintended comedy of the whole thing, but you have to admire the vision and attempt to make something truly unique at the time. I can see why people like it, it's just not for me.
 

shadowman16

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,864
Did Shenmue III even have a large budget?
Not really, especially proportionate to other games in the industry and especially for the kind of game Yu was aiming to make. I'm only halfway through 3 but I'm consistently impressed that it looks as good as it does, and manages to retain that unique Shenmue vibe/atmosphere in its two locations as the last two games did.

Then again, I love Shenmue. Still love replaying the first two games and 3 already exceeded my opinion, I'm glad it got a third game. Then again I also never really expected the third game to sell loads in stores, as the number of people who wanted a sequel probably also made up the bulk of the record setting kickstarter pledge... Doesn't help that the devs burned good will away with the whole Steam/Epic thing either...
 

Ryo Hazuki

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,211
Jim has always hated Shenmue and "Shenmue fans" so this video isn't surprising really. It's always been a niche game but the games are fucking great albeit not for everyone.
 

Romain

Senior Editor, Gameblog
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
291
Jim Sterling's factually wrong when it comes to the funding of the game (and a few other subjects as well). That's what you get when you take unsubstantiated claims and rumors and state them as facts.

As I said in another topic, Epic's money didn't go towards the game's development from what I've heard. It went to Deep Silver.
 
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shadowman16

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,864
This whole video feels so uncharacteristically poorly researched. What happened?
Jim's been pretty vocal about hating the series in the past. He'd written off Shenmue 3 way before the game was released (I remember him basically saying it'd be rubbish as far back as December 2018 on his podcast), so I'm honestly not surprised at him hating on it.
 

sibarraz

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
9,857
In an industry where lots of fans and critics harshly criticize games for a plethora of reasons (games following a trend, abuse of mtx, gaas, all AAA feeling samey) I will never understand why a game who although has lots of big flaws (the 3 games)but that also at its time was pretty revolutionary and now is a game that you can rarely findfind anywhere manages to get so much vitriol and hate like Shenmue does

Like I can formulate so many theories

- Does people hate the game after Yu Suzuki/fans promised this out of this world game but that in the end under delivered
- Does people hate Shenmue fans showing everywhere selling the good aspects of this series?
- Does people still hate SEGA from the console wars era
- Does people hate this series thinking that it was responsible of killing SEGA
- Does people feel betrayed with the EGS fiasco?

Like for me this game with all his flaws at worst deserves to be mocked for being overrated/boring and then move on, but I feel that there is an alarming amount of people who looks actively happy to see this game fail
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,015
I mean, I respect him not liking the series and what it is going for, but to create multiple videos just ranting about its existence seems to me to be the height of petulance (and I say this as a Jim Sterling fan, as well as someone who cannot stand Shenmue).
It seems some critics continue to be bothered by the idea people enjoy something, Shenmue, they can't understand the appeal of. If it fails, it validates their view and they can make a cheap video where they dance on Shenmue's grave and enjoy the validation of being correct. Nonetheless, we Shenmue-loving weirdos will go on and keep loving Shenmue.

I do wish these critics would at least save a little respect for Yu Suzuki's bold determination to keep making these games against all odds and maybe acknowledge that he actually did make some groundbreaking, beloved games before embarking on Shenmue.
 

ValKiryuSonicEX

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
yea, I'm gonna pass on this one, I like Jim and can respect that he doesn't like the series, but this just seems like he has a massive hate boner on this one.

Just out of curiosity, does he still perpetuate that idea of Yakuza and Shenmue being the same or at the very least (from the last time) Shenmue no longer needing to exist because Yakuza is around?
 

Lashley

Member
Oct 25, 2017
31,626
yea, I'm gonna pass on this one, I like Jim and can respect that he doesn't like the series, but this just seems like he has a massive hate boner on this one.

Just out of curiosity, does he still perpetuate that idea of Yakuza and Shenmue being the same or at the very least (from the last time) Shenmue no longer needing to exist because Yakuza is around?
Doesn't mention it, other than a clip of Kiryu and the young girl in the video.
 
Jun 4, 2019
2,486
I absolutely loved the two games on Dreamcast back then WITH the original Japanese voices because FUCK those ridiculous English ones, good lord.

But that was then, I don't know if these games stood the test of time at all and I also don't know if that goes for Shenmue 3. I do still wish to play it someday.
 
Jul 28, 2019
2,614
Jim's been pretty vocal about hating the series in the past. He'd written off Shenmue 3 way before the game was released (I remember him basically saying it'd be rubbish as far back as December 2018 on his podcast), so I'm honestly not surprised at him hating on it.
I mean, like I said, I'm fine with not liking it or not being interested in it, but when I don't like something (like Shenmue!), my response is to just... move on from it, not to continue to engage with it and talk all the time about how it makes me miserable, and others are wrong for liking it when I don't.

It seems some critics continue to be bothered by the idea people enjoy something, Shenmue, they can't understand the appeal of. If it fails, it validates their view and they can make a cheap video where they dance on Shenmue's grave and enjoy the validation of being correct. Nonetheless, we Shenmue-loving weirdos will go on and keep loving Shenmue.
I mean, I just don't get it, you know? You don't like it, alright, just move on with your life. Why keep making long ass videos about it?
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,132
Netherlands
Actually a good vid...

...and with that I mean I agree that Shenmue doesn't really make money and by that metric it very much is a failure.

The comparison with Yakuza is a tired one and the comparison with Waterworld is for the clickbait.

I can get being disappointed. I backed the game, I have a physical copy right here and I don't really have a desire to play it at least until I play through the remastered versions of 1&2.
 
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mattp

Member
Oct 25, 2017
896
NJ
i'm not sure what jim is really arguing for half of this rant?
he pokes fun at the game's graphics and animations and character models but then simultaneously claims yu suzuki can't keep the scope of his game within budget
isnt that exactly proof of the opposite? they made the shenmue 3 they wanted within the constraints of their small budget by sacrificing visual fidelity
i'm not sure why he keeps acting like they had this massive budget. also since when did sega, sony, or shibuya productions put any money towards development? as far as i know it's all crowdfunding money and deep silver