A new Shenmue has been revealed. The game is headed to a Yahoo! Japan gaming site. Sega is not involved. But Shenmue's creator is.
This winter, Shenmue Town will be released in Japan for a popular social networking site.
According to Shenmue composer Osamu Murata, the game is "not" a Sega title. Instead, Shenmue designer Yu Suzuki has created a new company that will apparently be handling the title. Murata says he has heard this from various people at Sega.
Suzuki's company is separate from Sega, and while Sega does not seem to be involved at the moment, Murata writes that the company could make the Shenmue title official if it seems like it is going to be a big hit.
Murata left Sega to work with Studio Ghibli and Production I.G (among others), but confirms that Suzuki continues to be employed by Sega. There have been rumors that Suzuki had left the company. In spring 2009, he "retired" as a creative officer at Sega.
"I have mixed feelings about Shenmue being released on Yahoo! Games," Murata tweeted. He of course worked on Shenmue with Suzuki. A friend close of Murata's is spearheading the Yahoo! Games version of Shenmue.
"Top quality was required for Shenmue," Murata adds. "There was no giving in for quality in Shenmue. If quality was compromised, Yu would get really angry at us." That makes things hard for Murata when he thinks about Shenmue becoming a "light game" or a casual title.
Murata says that there should have "definitely" been the desire to release Shenmue the PS3 or the Xbox 360 and not like this.
Kotaku is following up with Sega and will update if the company comments.
Update: Sega tells Kotaku that it owns the Shenmue IP and that the game will be released on Yahoo! Mobage, but would not confirm or deny anything else about the title and its development.