After all these years of desperate pleading, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter managed to get fully funded in a day. And, of course, it’s still going, and now sits at over $3 million, a million over its initial goal. There’s still another 30 days to go, and it’s already set a new Guinness World Record.
The record in question is time it took Shenmue 3 to raise $1 million: 1 hour 42 minutes. It’s an astonishing amount of money to raise in such a short space of time, at least for a crowdfunding venture. The record is specific to video game projects, but Shenmue 3 is also the second fastest project overall, coming behind the Pebble Watch.
It didn’t take much longer for the game to get fully funded for $2 million; within nine hours it was sitting pretty. It now has almost the full length of the Kickstarter to hit stretch goals.
Here’s the thing, though: $2 million, $3 million, really no matter what Shenmue 3 raises, is peanuts. Game development, at least in the AAA sphere, isn’t getting cheaper, and the original Shenmue cost nearly $50 million to make. So how can Shenmue 3 only cost $2 million?
It doesn’t, of course.
This is another case of, like current record holder for most funded video game, Bloodstained, and countless other Kickstarted games, proving the popularity of the game. And behind the scenes, Sony waits. It wasn’t a coincidence that Shenmue 3 was announced at the Sony conference, because they have partnered with Yu Suzuki and his team.
None of this was clear during the conference, but, as Kotaku pointed out, Sony’s director of third party relations, Gio Corsi, confirmed the partnership on the PlayStation live show.
“We said ‘the only way this is gonna happen is if the fans speak up,’” said Corsi. “We thought Kickstarter was the perfect place to do this. We set a goal of two million dollars, and if the fans come in and back it, then absolutely we’re going to make it this a reality.”
There was a time back when Kickstarter was first blowing up that optimists wondered if we were witnessing the final days of big publishers having this iron grip over gaming. It was a fantasy, and they’re now completely involved with Kickstarter projects. When you back something now, there’s a very good chance that you’re spending money just to prove a game is viable and could be profitable to a big publisher.