Keiji Okayasu, the director of the first Shenmue, has joined Ys Net to work on the Kickstarted third entry in the beloved RPG franchise.
Okayasu co-directed the Dreamcast 1999 original at Sega alongside Yu Suzuki, who founded Shenmue III developer Ys Net in 2008.
He also ‘subdirected’ Shenmue II for much of the game’s development, before leaving Sega after around 70 per cent of the title was completed.
According to Okayasu, Suzuki contacted him while he was serving as president of Japanese indie Studiofake to ask him to join the team.
“Taking a look at end credits of Shenmue you may noticed this man’s name – Keiji Okayasu,” Ys Net announced in a blog post on the Shenmue III Kickstarter page. “He was the game director for Shenmue I, then played a big role through most of Shenmue II, and has now joined the production team for Shenmue III.
“We are very happy to have back this Shenmue veteran who helped deliver the goods the first time around, and look forward to him doing it again.”
In an accompanying video interview, Okayasu said he planned to work hard to capture the spirit of the title’s Dreamcast predecessors.
"What I personally want to stress for my part is what makes Shenmue, Shenmue,” he said. “The game has an utterly unique atmosphere, and I want that all to be breathed in; as you play along, you feel the ambiance, the milieu, from place to place, getting that full sensory experience.
“It is about that natural atmosphere, as best as I can call it, because Shenmue is a game where that is so important. With Shenmue III, that aspect will not be disregarded, and I will keep it alive and well as we continue development."