Shenmue was born from Yu Suzuki defying his 3-minute limitation of arcades

You might recognize Yu Suzuki as the man behind Shenmue, but before his groundbreaking Dreamcast game, he was known as the creator of Hang-On, Out Run, Space Harrier, Virtua Fighter and other arcade classics. In a recently-unearthed documentary from 1999, Suzuki shares where his first home console game came from: the desire to create something wholly opposite of the arcade machines he had previously worked on.

“An arcade game lasts about three minutes on average,” Suzuki explains in this grainy, nostalgic clip. “Everything has to be condensed, and this self-imposed three-minute limitation is always present. So I wanted to try making a game where I could use as much game time as needed.”

Considering Suzuki is talking about a game that, in his original vision, would have more voiced characters than A Game of Thrones (the book), take place across multiple countries, feature accurate-to-the-hour historical weather and the cutest darn kitten you ever saw, I’d say that explanation fits – and the freedom it afforded is no doubt part of why people love Shenmue so much (opens in new tab).

The final version of Shenmue didn’t match up with what was shown in this documentary, but now that Shenmue 3 is finally happening (opens in new tab), Suzuki has a chance to make good on his ideas. We’ll find out how well the hype holds up in late 2017.

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