Home Shenmue fans are on the move again, this time taking out a Times Square ad

Shenmue fans are on the move again, this time taking out a Times Square ad


  • Shenmue fans rented a Times Square video board to demand a publishing partner for Shenmue 4, showing their dedication.
  • The campaign, sparked by creator Yu Suzuki's openness to Shenmue 4, trended on social media with #LetsGetShenmue4.
  • Shenmue fans previously raised over $7 million for Shenmue 3, highlighting their persistent support for the series.

You’ve really gotta hand it to Shenmue fans. Few video game fandoms have been this persistent in efforts to keep alive a cult hit. Their latest action: Renting out a video board in New York’s Times Square to demand a publishing partner team up with series creator Ys Net to deliver a Shenmue 4.

As IGN points out, short advertisements in the heart of Manhattan can still cost as little as $40, so it’s not like this was a mighty crowdfunding campaign like the one that raised millions in 2015 and delivered Shenmue 3 in 2019. It’s still an impressive gesture of loyalty to a video game series that got the classic game trending on X (the former Twitter) and grabbed a lot of mainstream attention.

The campaign got started after series creator Yu Suzuki gave an interview in early May in which he said he was down for a Shenmue 4, assuming a publishing partner could be found. That’s all Shenmue fans needed to hear. The hashtag #LetsGetShenmue4 started trending on Tuesday thanks to a coordinated social media campaign led by the fansite Shenmue Dojo.

Why is Shenmue so popular?

For those unfamiliar with the game, Shenmue (1999) and its sequel Shenmue II (2001) were action-adventures following the story of protagonist Ryo Hazuki. Essentially a martial arts fighting game, Shenmue and its sequel were early exponents of the modern open-world approach, going so far to deliver an immersive story for Ryo’s life that players ended up driving forklifts and doing other menial jobs, while also visiting arcades to buy gachapon toys or play classic Sega arcade cabinets. Shenmue is widely celebrated for its no-detail-is-too-small approach to Ryo’s life.

Shenmue and Shenmue II were also closely associated with the Sega Dreamcast, the last console that company produced, still revered (and lamented) by hardcore video games enthusiasts since it was discontinued in 2001. They held a torch for the series for almost 15 years until Suzuki appeared at PlayStation’s E3 2015 keynote to announce a crowdfunding effort to create Shenmue 3. It raised its initial goal of $2 million less than nine hours after the initial announcement, and ended up raising more than $7 million to help develop a game that ultimately launched in 2019 on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

While the critical reception to Shenmue 3 was middling to nonplussed, Shenmue fans reveled in the delivery of a long-demanded sequel, as well as the fan service it represented and their grassroots triumph in getting it published. Clearly they’re feeling the same vibes again with this latest campaign. And who could begrudge this kind of enthusiasm, really?

We’ll see if any publisher picks up the bit, though. Deep Silver was the Shenmue III publisher, and its parent company, Embracer Group, has been staggered by layoffs and a series of expensive bets on licensed titles that did not pan out. It has since sold off Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine 2 studio/publisher Saber Interactive and split into three spinoff companies as part of an overall cost-saving strategy meant to appease restive investors.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Owen Good
Gaming Editor (US)

Owen Good is a 15-year veteran of video games writing, also covering pop culture and entertainment subjects for the likes of Kotaku and Polygon. He is a Gaming Editor for ReadWrite working from his home in North Carolina, the United States, joining this publication in April, 2024. Good is a 1995 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 2000 graduate of The Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, in New York. A second-generation newspaperman, Good's career before covering video games included daily newspaper stints in North Carolina; in upstate New York; in Washington, D.C., with the Associated Press; and…

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