Back when Shenmue 3 was announced back at E3 2015, it seemed like a dream come true. Not only was Sony helping publish the long-awaited sequel, but fans would be able to help shape the game directly via crowdfunding — and, when the Kickstarter page broke just a few minutes later, it was clear that Shenmue 3 wouldn't have any trouble finding its funding.
And that's when things started getting weird. Despite annihilating the $2 million goal, developer YS Net began asking fans for more money — $10 million, in fact. After it became clear that the $10 million stretch goal wasn't happening, a supplementary PayPal backing campaign was added in at the last minute to help pull some extra cash in. It was like YS Net actually wanted to ask for $10 million, but didn't want to scare fans off.
What's worse is that PayPal backers won't be getting any of the Kickstarter-exclusive rewards. Following a poll posted to the game's campaign page, YS Net has decided to keep the previously promised rewards exclusive to those who backed the campaign via Kickstarter.
At first glance, it looks like the poll (pictured above) is in favor of PayPal backers getting in on the Kickstarter rewards. Even though there were only 15,000 votes, it's pretty clear that the vast majority of the votes are either 'Yes' or 'I don't care.' The fact that the latter question was even an option in the first place was pretty strange, but the results are even stranger: despite the fact that 'No' votes only accounted for a quarter of the overall total, PayPal backers won't be receiving any Kickstarter-exclusive rewards.
From the game's Kickstarter page:
"Considering the strong response from those of you who felt that the Exclusive Rewards should remain exclusive for the Kickstarter, those Exclusive Rewards will not be made available on the PayPal page as originally promised," the developer writes. And, as you might expect, this has caused some frustration among backers."
Obviously, this raises a lot of questions. First off, the poll itself wasn't reserved for Kickstarter backers, meaning that anyone (including those that didn't back the project) could vote on whether or not PayPal backers would get the rewards...but why? Secondly, the 'Yes' and 'I don't care' votes nearly triple the amount of 'No votes - how exactly is that a 'strong response'? Thirdly, why is there even a 'I don't care' option in the first place?
Granted, it's not as if PayPal backers won't be getting anything — there's a separate set of rewards reserved for the 'Slacker Backer' campaign — but at this point, it almost feels as if YS Net is trying to avoid giving out any more rewards than it has to. Regardless, it's yet another confusing misstep in the game's already-bizarre crowdfunding campaign ... and yet, at this point, it almost seems par for the course.
Regardless, things aren't looking good for PayPal backers. Who knows, maybe YS Net will decide to reverse its decision if enough Shenmue fans speak up?
One way or the other, Shenmue 3 is due out sometime later this year.