Almost two decades passed between the release of Shenmue 2 and Shenmue 3; with the latter finally coming about thanks to a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign. While many of the game’s original team returned to work on the long-awaited sequel, almost all of the game’s voice actors were recast following the series’ long hiatus.
Corey Marshall did reprise his role as series protagonist Ryo Hazuki, but new talent was brought in to provide the voices for other returning characters like Shenhua, Chai, Lan Di and Ren. Thanks to a new mod made by members of the Shenmue community, however, it’s now possible to play through Shenmue 3 with several of the original voice actors modded into the game.
Eric Kelso provided the voices for Ren, Fuku-san and Guizhang in the original games and has a strong relationship with fans of the series. So much so, in fact, that he agreed to record himself reading all of Ren’s lines in Shenmue 3 so that they could be swapped in for the original recordings. The mod also sees Paul Lucas reprise the role of Shenmue‘s main antagonist, Lan Di, although the Chi You Men leader has a lot less to say than Ryo’s treasure-hunting ally.
This isn’t the first time that Kelso has worked with the community either. He’ll be appearing in the upcoming documentary A Gamers Journey: The Definitive History of Shenmue and also recorded additional voice lines for the phone conversations with both Fuku-san and Guizhang in Shenmue 3. Given his strong connection with the characters, many fans will now be hoping that he is given the chance to reprise them officially in the upcoming Shenmue anime.
This isn’t the only mod that members of the Shenmue community are currently working on; with some of them recently beginning the monumental task of porting the original two games to Unreal Engine 4. It’s still very early days, although test images suggest that things are going fairly smoothly for the team. That said, it will probably be quite some time before the Dragon and Phoenix versions of Shenmue 1 and 2 are ready for release; especially as the team are technically making two different versions of both games.
As for a possible Shenmue 4, news on that front remains somewhat muted. At the end of last year, Shenmue 3 producer Cedric Biscay revealed that he and Yu Suzuki were in the process of pitching the game to potential publishers, although there’s been no official update on how those pitches went. Either way, series fans will be hoping that the wait to find out is a little shorter this time around.
Shenmue 3 is available for PlayStation 4 and PC
Source: Shenmue Dojo