With all the hoopla surrounding Final Fantasy X's release in Japan last month, it would be easy to forget that Yu Suzuki's second installment in the Shenmue saga is just around the corner. Due to be released in Japan on the 6th of September, Shenmue II will carry on where the first game left off, with Ryo on his way to China to avenge his father's death.
One of the more unique features in Shenmue was the ability to laze about the arcade and play some classic Sega games. Fans should be ecstatic to find out that the trend will not be broken. In addition to Hang On and Space Harrier, which appeared in the first installment, Ryo will now be able to waste his hard-earned wages on Out Run and After Burner II. These compliment the host of other mini-games, including gambling and arm-wrestling, that were reported previously.
Sega has taken into account the fact that there are some that will be interested in the game, yet didn't get around to playing Shenmue. To accomodate these gamers, the company has included a synopsis of the first game, which takes the form of a 14-minute movie. No doubt, there are people that have decided to wait for a port of the game to a different console. Realizing this, Peter Moore, president of Sega of America, recently commented that Shenmue II is "best suited for the Dreamcast," due in large part to the fact that Suzuki is "pushing the envelope" as far as the Dreamcast hardware is concerned. The differences between the Dreamcast and the other major players in the market would make a direct port difficult.
With a little more than a month before the game is released, it's a given that more details will be released. No word yet on an official North American launch date for the game, but RPGamer is on the case. For more info on this anticipated game, check out our Shenmue II page.