Shenmue is perhaps the greatest endeavor of Yu Suzuki's career. By combining elements of RPGs, action games, and adventure games, a new genre, called FREE, has been created.
There are currently two games in the Shenmue series. The original Shenmue contains chapter 1 and was released in Japan in 1999 and the U.S. in 2000. Shenmue II has chapters 2-4 and was released in Japan in 2001 with the X-Box version expected to be released sometime in 2002.
|Shenmue II||Dreamcast, X-Box||2001|
Shenmue is officially the most expensive videogame in history. Why? The main reason is that the game has been longer in production than most people know about. It all started back in '94...
1994 - And the saga begins...
|Yu Suzuki begins work on an adventure/RPG game for the Saturn that features realistic martial arts fighting. Shrouded in secrecy and unknown to the public, it will be unheard of for several years.|
|September 30||Rumors emerge that Yu Suzuki, head of Sega's AM2 division is working on a new RPG featuring characters from his hit series Virtua Fighter. Supposedly, the game takes place before the birth of some of the characters. The running name is 'Project Berkley.' Why? Suzuki simply likes the name.|
|November 6||A press conference is held officially announcing the existence of Project Berkley to the world.|
|November 27||Included with the Japanese Virtua Fighter 3 is a demo of Project Berkley.|
|December 20||In a Japanese premiere, Project Berkley is official announced as Shenmue and unveiled. Footage of the gameplay was shown, accompanied by an orchestra playing the theme song.|
|April 1||The Shenmue Orchestral Soundtrack is released in Japan.|
|June 24||The "What's Shenmue?" demo begins its run of inclusion with all new Dreamcasts in Japan.|
|December 29||Shenmue: Chapter 1 Yokosuka is released in Japan, after several delays.|
|November 7||Shenmue is released in the U.S. a few days earlier than the previously planned launch date of November 11th.|
|December 1||Shenmue makes its way to Europe for a release.|
|September 6||In Japan, Shenmue II is released, and with it comes a preview of the newest addition to Yu Suzuki's premiere fighting series, Virtua Fighter 4.|
|October 12||Sega of America announces that, even though they've begun to advertise the game, Shenmue II will not make an American debut on the Dreamcast, and instead will be ported to the X-Box. Microsoft paid, apparently, more money to Sega than they anticipated making off of an already-finished, ready-to-ship game.|
|November 30||Shenmue II is released for the Dreamcast in Europe. Many American gamers import the game, eventually get their Shenmue save games converted, and give Sega of America the finger.|
|October 29||Shenmue II finally gets a release in North America as Shenmue IIx for Microsoft's X-Box console. It also has the worst cover art for a game, ever.|