Shenmue is, by all accounts, an absolute cult classic with the first two games still holding up fairly well on the Sega Dreamcast. However, that legacy wasn’t enough for Shenmue 3 to overcome its many shortcomings, and modders are continuing their attempts at fixing it by bringing over a couple of voice actors from the first two games to reprise their roles.
Even though voice actor Corey Marshall did come back as protagonist Ryo Hazuki for Shenmue 3, most of the returning cast received new voices from different actors - something quite understandable considering almost two decades passed between Shenmue 2 and 3. Nevertheless, hardworking modders managed to convince two actors to re-record all of their characters’ lines in the new entry.
Over at Shenmue Dojo, a recent post confirmed that actor Eric Kelso, who voices Ryu’s pal Wuying Ren, as well as less prominent characters like Fuku-san and Guizhang had returned to record new lines for Shenmue 3 that can be easily added to the game via the fan-mod posted on the site. The mod replaces all of Ren’s dialogue with the new recordings provided by Kelso, who did the work out of his sheer passion for the game.
In the same announcement, Shenmue Dojo disclosed that actor Paul Lucas had also returned to provide his voice for Shenmue’s main villain Lan Di in a true win for the Shenmue modding community. Shenmue 3 sees Ryo continue his quest for the treasures that are tied to the phoenix and dragon mirrors that take the center stage in Shenmue 1 and 2, with Ren particularly getting more screen time than Lan Di.
It must be noted that bringing back old voice actors is not all the Shenmue community is up to right now, since not too long ago, Shenmue Dojo posted updates on an upcoming mod for Shenmue 1 and 2 that looks to adapt both games to Unreal Engine 4, thus providing a noticeable visual upgrade that includes ray tracing. The project titled the Phoenix and Dragon collection will also look to add revamped gameplay features that aim to improve Sega’s own flawed Shenmue ports.
As if that weren’t enough, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki is working hard to pitch a fourth entry in the series, and with an anime adaptation also on the way, being a die-hard Shenmue fan is really not looking too bad in 2021.
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