YsNet, the developers of the much-anticipated Shenmue III, have confirmed that Japanese voice recording is currently underway.
Along with Masaya Matsukaze reprising his role as our hero, Ryo Hazuki, the voice actress has been confirmed for deuteragonist Shenhua Ling - replacing Hazuki Ishigaki will be Haruka Terui.
Cast comments were provided by the two voice actors, reflecting on their involvement in one of Sega's most mythical series:
Comments from Masaya Matsukaze:
When I heard that the project broke two Guinness World Records, I must say it did not really hit me at the time, but now, I couldn’t be more excited! We are making good headway on the uncommon amount of speaking lines, and as we do so, the faces of my friends who were also in the production of 1 and 2 are there with me in my thoughts.
For the long-time Shenmue fans, I hope they will also share this strikingly peculiar sense of going back in time; and for those new to the series, I hope they will enjoy this wonderful entry that will take them to a whole other world. And with the unimagined miracle announcement for the 1 and 2 remakes, I emphatically wish that everyone will experience all three!
Thoughts on the Series
Even with over 300 people so feverishly working on Shenmue, when production had stopped, I thought there would never be another sequel. Yu-san has watched as the landscape he presented to the world 14 years ago has now become the standard in the gaming industry, and I once again must give my admiration to him for building a concept on such a grand scale.
I also think how fortunate I was to be there back in my twenties. The hardware has since evolved, and now witnessing the improved quality of Shenmue, I get goose bumps all over again thinking if this is what Yu-san had seen all along. This sequel has the might of the fans behind it, and these past few years Yu-san said he has been meeting fans all over the world and would make it for them. Everything is in place, so let the journey continue.
Comments from Haruka Terui:
I was both honored and terrified when I heard I had been chosen to play Shenhua. Shenmue has been beloved by so many for so long and fans have been waiting her. As I look Shenhua in the eyes and become her voice, I will remember everyone has their own precious memories and I will do everything I can to keep those memories like they were. The more I learn about her, the more I feel drawn to and taken over by her curious charm. I am incredibly happy to be able to walk alongside her.
Thoughts on the Series
I watched “Shenmue: The Movie” which I borrowed from Matsukaze-san who plays Ryo. I was greatly impressed you could make a movie just from the scenes in a game. It was actually a shock for me to see how much thought had been put into the dialog and action. Now, watching the Shenmue III movie while we record, the picture is all the more beautiful. The world, the forests, the people...they all live there. I can’t wait to play it. I will be acting my heart out for Shenhua and for you!
Ysnet have promised to provide an update once the game's English voicework is set in stone. So far though, Corey Marshall, the English voice actor for Ryo, has been confirmed to also be returning to his role.
Shenmue III is planned for release on PS4 and PC in 2019. To help ease the wait, original publisher Sega have announced an HD collection of Shenmue I and II will release this year on the same consoles and Xbox One.