Shenmue 3 reaches $2 million funding goal on Kickstarter

Yu Suzuki's Shenmue 3 has met its funding goal of $2 million in just 9 hours.

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Sony announced a Kickstarter campaign for the long-overdue Shenmue 3 during its E3 press conference last night, and after 9 hours, the campaign has met its funding goal of $2 million.

As of this writing, the campaign has close to 30,000 backers that have pledged $2.3 million towards the project, and those numbers continue to steadily rise. There are stretch goals that will add cinema shorts of Shenmue 1 & 2 at $2.5 million, subtitles for Dutch, French, Spanish, and Italian-speaking players, a Rapport System at $3.2 million, a Skill Tree System at $3.5 million, and if the project reaches $4 million, Baisha Village will be expanded along with the inclusion of five mini games. Seeing as the project continues to earn funds with 31 days to go, we wouldn't be surprised if all of these stretch goals are met.

During last night’s presentation, series director and producer Yu Suzuki took the stage to show a brief demo of Shenmue 3 and to announce its Kickstarter campaign. The title will be a true sequel to the classic open-world action RPG games, Shenmue and Shenmue 2, and will be created for the PlayStation 4 and PC.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    June 16, 2015 7:06 AM

    Daniel Perez posted a new article, Shenmue 3 reaches $2 million funding goal on Kickstarter

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      June 16, 2015 7:23 AM

      Never heard of this game before. What the hell is it?

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        June 16, 2015 7:28 AM

        Sailor recruitment simulator

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        June 16, 2015 7:35 AM

        It was an awesome adventure/fighting game for the dreamcast. Emphasis on adventure. It's the game that invented QTE. Also the 2nd game was ported to xbox1. It was created as a 3 part series and they made 2 parts and then the 3rd part was never finished. Like 10+ years went by and now they are finally kickstarting the 3rd one.

        super epic storyline mixed with cheesy dialog and cheesy but fun minigames. Also has built in 80s arcade games because it's based in the 80s

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          June 16, 2015 8:05 AM

          It wasn't planned as a 3 part series, it was planned as 16 chapters with the first game covering one chapter and the second covering 2-4, with subsequent games covering ????

          http://shenmue.wikia.com/wiki/Shenmue_III

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          June 16, 2015 8:25 AM

          "It's the game that invented QTE."

          I thought you were listing positive bullet points?

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            June 16, 2015 8:33 AM

            Well there was a reason so many copied it. That said I thought Dark Cloud invented qtes.

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            June 16, 2015 9:15 AM

            They worked really well in Shenmue.

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              June 16, 2015 9:20 AM

              you just weren't sick of them then and there weren't better ways to do that same gameplay at the time

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          June 16, 2015 9:09 AM

          Shenmue coined the term QTE, but the actual concept goes all the way back to Dragon's Lair in 1983 (out of necessity since it's a Laserdisc game)

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            June 16, 2015 10:31 AM

            I WAS GONNA SAY!

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            June 16, 2015 10:55 AM

            I liked Space ace better

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              June 16, 2015 10:55 AM

              But the death animation in dragon's lair is all time classic

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              June 16, 2015 2:57 PM

              Cliff Hanger. It's Miyazaki's Lupin III: Castle Of Caligostro. In the arcade. YOU CONTROL LUPIN.

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        June 16, 2015 8:29 AM

        Capsule Toy collection simulator.

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        June 16, 2015 8:32 AM

        Forklift simulator.

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        June 16, 2015 9:07 AM

        Darts simulator with realistic vending machine action. Eat virtual snacks in between rounds!!!!!

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      June 16, 2015 7:29 AM

      Japanese life simulator

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      June 16, 2015 8:42 AM

      That was fast!

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        June 16, 2015 8:53 AM

        Must help to get your Kickstarter promoted on such a large stage.

        Feels kinda skeezy...

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      June 16, 2015 8:46 AM

      Two things, they need way more than $2M to make that game. I am guessing they need $5-10M. Our smallish game (in comparison) will end up costing at least $2M. Secondly, is this just Sony's way to test the waters? They could easily afford to fund this game themselves.

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        June 16, 2015 8:47 AM

        it's pretty lame

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        June 16, 2015 8:48 AM

        Yeah, 2 million is not nearly enough. I'm assuming this was Sony doing a demand test. If it gets funded then Sony funds them too. Ultimately it's just glorified pre-orders for the consumer and less risk for the publisher, so I'm okay with it.

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        June 16, 2015 8:51 AM

        Yah the first game had a $70million budget! lol

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          June 16, 2015 9:03 AM

          Did it? Holy crap.

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          June 16, 2015 9:11 AM

          Like just the Dreamcast version? Or is that how much they spent including the abandoned attempt to put it on the Saturn?

          (seriously there's footage out there of parts of the game running on the Saturn in its squareish glory)

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        June 16, 2015 8:51 AM

        Yeah I imagine this is just some weird way of gauging interest where Sony agreed to fund X more millions if they could do a successful Kickstarter.

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          June 16, 2015 9:06 AM

          the whole thing is dumb though because you know there's a core set of Shenmue fans who can generate say 500,000 in sales. Whether you can get them to pitch in $2 million says nothing about whether it's worth funding for sales to non-Shunmue fans. It doesn't actually solve their market research problems, it just makes gamers pay (ie take on risk) for something Sony (or whoever) should be paying for.

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        June 16, 2015 8:56 AM

        I do not like the trend of studios using Kickstarter to "gauge interest" and to get publishers to actually back them with real money.

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          June 16, 2015 9:06 AM

          Same here. For small indies it makes sense. No funding most likely means the title wouldn't sell well. There are exceptions of course due to poor marketing and messaging during the KS campaign. For big pubs it seems like a way for them to mitigate risk at the expense of other smaller projects that might get funded as there is a finite amount of money people will spend on KS.

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          June 16, 2015 9:08 AM

          It's like Kickstarter is the new market research -- and the companies are getting money for it.

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          June 16, 2015 9:12 AM

          Kickstarter is the new Pre-Order.

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          June 16, 2015 9:21 AM

          I don't see what the problem is. They do what every gamer whines about wanting to do, show interest in an idea or abandoned franchise to get it into production.

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            June 16, 2015 9:30 AM

            they picked $2 million, at $50/each that's 40k people. Can they really not figure out that there're 40-80k Shenmue fans? Of course they can. This is just free money.

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              June 16, 2015 9:32 AM

              Again why not? The fans willingly gave money, got a substantial discount on the game for the base package compared to retail, and if you had money hats you could get some extras that wouldn't have been available otherwise.

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                June 16, 2015 9:35 AM

                it just feels a little slimy to use what is supposed to be a crowd funding platform for ostensibly people/projects that actually need funding for your project which doesn't need funding at all. It's also slimy to use it for only x% of your funding and not make that in any way clear. It's now just a way to create collector editions that scale up to $10,000 and it dilutes the value of Kickstarter and the ability for small teams to get funding when they actually need Kickstarter to provide 100% of their funding.

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              June 16, 2015 10:34 AM

              'free money' if it didn't translate directly to preorders.

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                June 16, 2015 11:17 AM

                they've currently sold ~32,500 preorders at $80/ea with much more to come, far more than they'd usually be able to charge, and years before they'd normally be able to capture that money. Free money.

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              June 16, 2015 12:50 PM

              what's wrong with free money?

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                June 16, 2015 12:55 PM

                for a business with no stake in crowd funding as a model? nothing. For crowd funding as a whole, it causes problems.

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          June 16, 2015 9:25 AM

          I'm certain that Sony is going to throw a ton of money at this project, otherwise console exclusivity wouldn't be guaranteed

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          June 16, 2015 10:12 AM

          It's actually pretty smart. A direct method to gauge customers willingness to pay for a product. More accurate than focus groups and surveys and such, because people have to back up their claims with their money.

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            June 16, 2015 10:53 AM

            Yeah, it's smart, and reduces risk by quite a bit. That said, it still sucks - not much room for innovation, iteration on proven ideas, etc.

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            June 16, 2015 11:16 AM

            of course it's smart, it's just abusing a system designed for something else that we liked better. Sony could afford to spend the money to actually gauge interest, but this is a cheaper way of doing it. Unfortunately the side effect is that it makes the service worse for the little guys that actually needed it.

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              June 16, 2015 12:14 PM

              This.

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              June 16, 2015 12:20 PM

              Exactly.

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              June 16, 2015 12:43 PM

              I'd argue that Shenmue is the type of game that belongs on Kickstarter. The first Shenmue was most certainly in the red, and while I'm not sure about the second, perhaps between the two the series broke even. That's a big fat maybe, though. So while it was well received critically, it wasn't a very good move financially for Sega. That makes this series fairly risky for anybody to pick up, so this Kickstarter is a bit of leverage for Ys Net to make the game properly in case any publisher comes in and starts demanding shit.

              But beyond that, I'm not entirely sure I agree with you when you say that it makes the service worse for the little guys that actually need it. These big name companies/people certainly make waves when they create kickstarters. But how do you know that exposure doesn't make the overall pool of kickstarter supporters much larger, possibly dragging in customers who go on to support other kickstarter initiatives that otherwise never would have. Kickstarter is still an extremely valuable tool for small budget indies if they know how to properly leverage it, so I'd need to see some actual data backing up your claim that this makes the environment worse for them.

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                June 16, 2015 12:52 PM

                Shenmue 3 does not cost $2 million to make. How much does it cost to make? No one knows. They're certainly not telling us. How much is Sony providing? It's certainly more than 50% of the total funding if they're actually aiming for $2 million. What if Sony ends up funding 80% of the project? If they were willing and capable of funding 80% of it they clearly believed in the project and could've afforded 100% of the funding (or scoped it to reduce the required funding). But instead they just get access to free, no risk funding from their customers where normally they'd have to take out an actual loan to get millions of dollars years ahead of delivering anything.

                How can someone who actually needs 100% of their funding from Kickstarter come and ask for $5 million for anindie game if 'Shenmue only cost $2 million'? That's what these new Kickstarter 'customers' learn from the big guys using Kickstarter.

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                  June 16, 2015 1:07 PM

                  Where are you getting info that Sony is funding/publishing this? I have no info to back this up, but I was under the impression that Yu Suzuki is trying to shop this thing around to get picked up and funded, and if the kickstarter failed the project is dead in the water.

                  I'm sure these kickstarters are giving low-info customers a skewed idea of how much software costs to make, but then again so do things like 99c apps on mobile phone stores. So as a dev, you have to learn how to adapt. Also, if a good indie game costs $5M, they can follow the same model these other big names have, and use kickstarter as a way to shop their product in front of publishers in an attempt to get picked up. I know you pulled the $5M number out the air, but successfully getting 100% of funding for a $5M video game is so completely and totally rare that it's unreasonable to rely on that as a singular way of getting a game funded. Might as well go play the lotto.

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                    June 16, 2015 1:31 PM

                    I don't know that it's Sony, it's someone though, doesn't really matter exactly who.

                    trying to shop this thing around to get picked up and funded, and if the kickstarter failed the project is dead in the water.

                    This just isn't what Kickstarter began as. It's wasn't Series A funding before getting a bigger round. It was the actual funding amount to produce a thing. Even if it does morph into this thing, it's laughable how opaque it is. So where in the risks section is the "I need to raise another $x million to actually make the game"? Or the risk that "if this doesn't exceed the goal by 2x I probably won't get enough funding" etc.

                    I'm sure these kickstarters are giving low-info customers a skewed idea of how much software costs to make, but then again so do things like 99c apps on mobile phone stores.

                    To some degree that's true but this is far more direct. Everything about this page is claiming that Shenmue costs $2 million to make. Someone trying to infer costs from a sale price is pretty different from someone saying "I need $x to make this, please support me getting towards that goal."

                    Pick a different number than $5 million. What if you need $1-2 million (7-10 devs for 18 months)? "Well Shenmue only took $2 million and look how much we got for that! You're ripping is off!" Since they're abusing the system and not being transparent about the additional funding no one has any idea the true cost.

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                June 16, 2015 1:42 PM

                Who is the audience that knows Shenmue, but is completely unaware of Kickstarter?

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              June 16, 2015 12:48 PM

              You can't accurately gauge consumer willingness to pay just by "spend(ing) the money". The only way to do so accurately is via revealed preferences/behaviour. In terms of determining demand for an unreleased product, I suspect something like kickstarter strictly dominates any focus-group/survey method regardless of money spent.

              I'm not really sure how it makes the service worse for little games. The system is only rival in the sense that consumers have limited money available to buy products. So if people fund Shenmue 2, then maybe they won't fund Derelict515's Favourite Indy Game. However this probably isn't a problem because A: that means that people prefer to spend their money on Shenmue 2 than DFIG, and B: DFIG would have exactly the same problem if Shenmue 2 were released/funded in a traditional way - consumers still make a choice between buying Shenmue 2 and buying/funding DFIG. Either way, it's the existence of Shenmue 2 (and the competition it represents for consumer interest/dollars) which hurts DFIG, not whether or not Shenmue 2 is on kickstarted or not. It's not like kickstarted has a limit on the number of projects they list at once. Nobody is being crowded out of kickstarted.

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                June 16, 2015 12:54 PM

                So it absolutely is rival because yes consumers have a limited amount of money to put towards kickstarter projects, especially if big games like this are more likely to grab your $100 tier money.

                More problematic is the way it anchors costs for other Kickstarters. Without any transparency into how much funding Shenmue 3 actually requires how do I say my game that looks much smaller requires 3x the funding? Oh it's because I'm asking for 100% of the money I need but Shenmue only asked for ... well I don't know what percentage but it must not have been all of it. Except customers don't see behind the curtain so all it looks like is you asking for a ridiculous amount of money for some indie game.

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                  June 16, 2015 1:06 PM

                  The first issue really has nothing to do with kickstarter - Shenmue 2 is competing with DFIG whether or not it is funded via kickstarter. I don't think individuals have specific separate budgets for "games on kickstarter" and "games from steam/EB/whatever". If you think this is the case, you would need to provide some pretty strong evidence.

                  The second issue might be important, but how important? Do you think individuals spend a lot of time comparing total project goals on kickstarter? I'm not convinced that total goal anchoring plays a significant role in most individuals decisions of which projects to fund.

                  The bottom line is that everyone benefits from firms having better information about consumer preferences (which is what kickstarter provides). Suppose Sony funds some game that eventually flops because people don't care about the product. That's not just a disaster for Sony, but also for gamers, since all of that money and resources could have been used to produce a kickass game that people actually wanted to buy/play! If kickstarter allows firms to better gauge which projects should get backing and which shouldn't, then that benefits gamers and developers alike.

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                    June 16, 2015 1:42 PM

                    If you think this is the case, you would need to provide some pretty strong evidence.

                    Obviously neither of us are actually going to find ant evidence either way. Anecdotally I fully believe people have a separate kickstarter budget. How much are people willing to spend on things that are unproven and years away? Especially if they have yet to see a return on their investment with a quality product coming out the other end.

                    The second issue might be important, but how important? Do you think individuals spend a lot of time comparing total project goals on kickstarter? I'm not convinced that total goal anchoring plays a significant role in most individuals decisions of which projects to fund.

                    The types of people who pay attention to kickstaters are surely at least vaguely aware of the funding levels. Unless this is literally your first one and you haven't heard or looked at others you have at least one point anchoring you. And if the argument is these large publishers increase the pool of kickstarter customers for the little projects then that's specifically adding people who have now been anchored to a fake funding number.

                    If kickstarter allows firms to better gauge which projects should get backing and which shouldn't, then that benefits gamers and developers alike.

                    Sure, and it's unfortunate that the manifestation of that information is an interest free, no risk loan provided by many people who don't know any better. Nowhere else can you get millions in loans interest free, with no downside without needing to create even the slightest semblance of a real business plan. You don't even have to disclose your employee count and timeline because the average gamer is too uninformed to think about this and it's easier to fleece people when you're asking many for little instead of a lot from one. Instead of an informed investor you get to take advantage of frothing fans with no business sense at all.

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              June 16, 2015 1:16 PM

              the thing is the most successful kickstarter projects have never really benefited the "little guys" as much as the big players. it started with double fine, which is a great developer but they aren't exactly tiny, either, and now it has only snowballed from there.

              in order to really level the playing field you'd basically need to exclude the major players by putting in some kind of ceiling for investment and developer size, or by barring developers that have some sort of conditional investment deal based on kickstarter goals. maybe something really punitive, like if it comes out a dev had a contract like that, they're on the hook for all kickstarter rewards but people get their money refunded.

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                June 16, 2015 1:22 PM

                and all of that is assuming you don't WANT developers to take advantage of that kind of funding model. personally i don't have a problem with it, though i think there should be competing services that are more restrictive in terms of who can take advantage of them and how.

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                  June 16, 2015 1:35 PM

                  I would be far more ok with this practice if:

                  1) the actual funding amount was transparent. Am I funding 10% of the game or 100%? Why are you asking me/us for $1-2 million if you've already got someone lined up to fund $20 million?

                  2) the risks section wasn't a joke. If this is your attempt to pitch to a publisher you better be very clear about that. You better tell me how much more you need from a publisher and how much you think you need from fans to prove to a publisher that this is worthwhile.

                  In the meantime it's just abusing customers' complete lack of business acumen and poisoning the well for the guys who don't have publishers coming in later.

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                    June 16, 2015 1:41 PM

                    yeah more transparency would be nice, too.

                    at the end of the day kickstarter is still very much a buyer beware service though. don't throw money at shit you'd be afraid to see go away. they're delivering a potential product, not an actual one.

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                June 16, 2015 1:31 PM

                It's weird that something like a cooler will get $13M from 60,000 people, but for games, it seems like only "proven" commodities (or at least proven developers) pay off:

                https://www.kickstarter.com/discover/advanced?state=successful&sort=most_funded

                I'm not sure what makes people have more confidence in some random guy to deliver a good cooler vs. some random developer to deliver a good game.

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                  June 16, 2015 1:35 PM

                  because video games are incredibly complex and nuanced and the more complicated something is or appears, the more people can find things to dislike or criticize about it.

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                June 16, 2015 1:41 PM

                So little guys dont benefit at all? or dont benefit as much? because if its the latter, who cares IMO. I say look at Yooka-Laylee if they tried to pitch it before the million dollar kickstarters, there would be much less confidence or awareness of this financing model.

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        June 16, 2015 3:00 PM

        Pre-order pre-ordered!

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      June 16, 2015 11:12 AM

      It's like getting a business loan but with way less paperwork and legwork.

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        June 16, 2015 12:49 PM

        AND by eliminating the need for those evil banks and financial corporations to act as financial intermediaries! I thought you guys we all about that :P

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      June 16, 2015 1:37 PM

      This e3 is the mystical magical event when the impossible things come true. Final Fantasy 7 remake, a new Shenmue, The Last Guardian footage... Insanity!

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      June 16, 2015 3:08 PM

      Here's an oldie but a goodie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgmCdt4EgxU