Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beautiful Yu Suzuki Conference At TGS 2011

TGS as in "Toulouse Game Show," not "Tokyo Game Show."  This was in November 2011 so this is quite recent!  It's always great to hear from Yu Suzuki and this time it's nothing short of emotional.  Thanks to the Shenmue Master guys who were so loyal to ask Yu the tough questions and make videos like this.  There's two parts to the conference: one on Shenmue, the other on everything else.  Here's the super-quick recaps since the videos are quite long.


Part 1 (Shenmue) recap:

Intro: Standing ovation for Suzuki-San!  EDIT: It's really worth saying I'm moved by his reaction to the applause.  Yu still seems genuinely surprised that he's admired as much as he is.  He seems so humble and quiet up there unlike others who go up there to gloat and suck up as much attention as possible.  I really gotta give him props.

Making an RPG: Sega was working on the Dreamcast and they needed a killer title.  No one wanted to make the RPG so Yu did it himself.

Shenmue on Saturn: It was a prototype for the Dreamcast version.  The rendering, development of characters, cities, and quests were just tests for the real thing.

XBL/PSN Ports: Are they possible some day?  Yu nods his head and doesn't say anything.

Martial Arts: Does Yu practice martial arts?  He want to China and learned a lot.  Went to the Shaolin Temple and got beat up.  He's not very strong but he just wanted to see it for himself.

QTE's: He likes that other games are using QTE's.  Not much to say.

Shenmue Gai (Town): It was developed for Japanese mobile phones.  It's possible to Westernize it.

Title: Why the title "Shenmue"?  It's the name of a tree.  "Mue" means "tree."  "Shenfa" means "flowers that grow on the tree."  Very old story about the Shenfa.

Shenmue III again: Yu says he wants to work on Shenmue III again, ha.  People want to donate money for him to finish Shenmue III.  Yu says thank you and everyone cheers.

Jokes: Yesterday, have you seen a black car?  Takes a while for him to get it.

Popularity: Shenmue was a catastrophic commercial failure (jeers from audience).  What do you think of the difference between the excellent quality of your games versus their low popularity?  Because of his enthusiastic audience, he denies there is no lack of popularity (cheers from audience).

French words: What do you think of French translation of Shenmue II?  Yu is confused and cannot answer.  Fans begin a sing-along for the Happy Birthday of Shenmue II's European release.  These people are nuts passionate!

Shenmue III yet again: Despite opposition to Shenmue III questions, people still asked 'em anyway.  Is it still possible to see Shenmue III someday?  "If I can have the opportunity, the chance, really, I would make it.  Like today, to be requested by so many people on 'Please bring us Shenmue III!', I think that I really must do it!"

Favorite game he made: Shenmue.  Naw, really?

Wow, I don't know how big of a crowd this was, but just these thousand or so fans really moved him.  Great show so far.


Part 2 (everything else) recap:

Hang-On: Rode a lot of off-road bikes in the past.  Had an urge to make a bike game but thought an "off-road" game wouldn't sell well (say that to Trials HD) so he created an "on-road" game.

OutRun: He wanted to create a "driving game," not a "racing game."  Driving with the radio on, girl in the seat, checking out the view, it's just cool.

Look, it's a radio.

Cars: We love all cars, even small ones!  Drifting is a lot of fun.

Technology: Used Assembly.  That's it.  (I've used it too)

Ports: Watched over the arcade ports.  Had to work hard since console technology was inferior to his superb arcade technology.

Virtua Racing: First 3D Sega game.  Could only get 300 polygons at first.  But because Yu is such a racing game pro, that's no problem.  Wanted to model 3D living beings but that was too complicated hence a car game instead.  Player models in Virtua Racing were the basic models for Virtua Fighter.  Looking back, it looks more like robots or walking boxes!!!

Arcades: Some of his best memories.  Going to 3D was most exciting.  Release new technology early but not too early.

Social Games: Interested in them, particularly smart phones which is the "future."

Development Tools: He had to create his own.  Yeah...

Virtua Fighter 6: Since Virtua Fighter 5, he's entrusted the series to AM2.

Japanese Creativity Crisis: Doesn't think there is one.  Many original games have come out of America & Europe so it's all good.

Psy-Phi: Designed in 2005 but canceled.  Was too ahead of its time.   Used a touch screen like Tom Cruise from Minority Report (his words).  Would be more suitable now.  When asked about it, he teased releasing the game for iPhone (for obvious reasons).  Learn more about the game here.

If this game came out for the Kinect, I'd kick my own ass.

Sega: Can't speak of what he's doing there--it's confidential.  He does give advice in arcade games' production.  Still maintains a good relationship with Sega and mentions if he had the Shenmue license, he could do something with it...!!!

Nintendo: Has worked with Nintendo before!  Doesn't mention anything else.

Future Plans: In Yu's words, "It is certain that I would make Shenmue III if I had the chance."  Also thinking of other projects include one in which "monsters and other animals fight together."  Raise your monsters and send them to fight.
Wait--what???  Is he talking about Monster Rancher???  That's it--we take over Tecmo and pool our efforts into a Monster Rancher fighting/RPG game.  We have Virtua Fighter/Dead or Alive expertise under our belt.  If Capcom and Namco want to play footsies then so can Sega and Tecmo.

Then hhows a picture of a cat kicking a dog and everyone laughs.  No one knows if he's joking or serious.  These things draw inspiration for new games.

What's your favorite game???: Easy games.  Effortless games that you can play with kids.  Like Animal Crossing from Nintendo.  Yes, he actually says "Animal Crossing."



Anyway, it's super-encouraging right now to see Yu Suzuki speaking to the fans.  He looks humbled by his standing ovation.  He's a good man looking out for his games.  He also has a contagious smile.  Wish we had more game devs like him nowadays.


  1. There's an interview a guy named Kenji from Shenmue Master conducted with him from that tgs, as well. In it he mentions how his favorite part in the Shenmue series is in the next game. Altogether a good interview, check it out if you haven't already.

  2. I noticed that interview too though I didn't watch it. I'll get around to it very soon :):):)

  3. For going to a game-related course, it's baffling my peers have no idea who this man is.