Speaking at a talk during the Game Developer Conference today, designer Yu Suzuki said that he thinks Sega is going to let him make Shenmue III. The audience broke into shouts and applause, and then Suzuki abruptly changed topics.
Don't even know why Sega would bother to go back to this franchise after so many years. While Shenmue 3 would have great sentimental value for those who grew up with Shenmue (and maybe with Shenmue 2?), they'd have revamp the formula so that it wouldn't appear so stale anymore. The concepts that were pioneered with Shenmue have bled over into the rest of gaming and have become so ubiquitous that a potential third entry in the Shenmue franchise would have to do outlandish things to even remain relevant. Besides, how many game-buying children these days even know what Shenmue is? Could it compete with a franchise like, say, Yakuza (also made by Sega)? Recent Yakuza entries have become more and more reminiscent of Shenmue by fleshing out the world in-game, which makes it similar enough to Shenmue to wonder if it's even worth trying to sell Shenmue, as opposed to Yakuza. Making Shenmue 3 would be a major gamble on Sega's part, and I get the feeling that won't want to cast the die on this one.