Shenmue was a financial hole for Sega- the games cost a whole lot and never sold enough to ever make money back. I understand that, so I don’t begrudge Sega eventually deciding to suspend the series. For a company that was as much in the financial hole as Sega was, the move made sense.
Still, the fact remains that they spent over a decade studiously avoiding Shenmue. Even when the series’ revival was announced at E3 earlier this year, Sega’s involvement was only to the extent that they were okay with the game being made (they own the IP, so their okay was necessary), but they weren’t actually doing anything themselves.
As it turns out, however, it seems that they are more actively involved in the game’s creation than that. “Shenmue is of course an important IP, not only to Sega, but also to the many games it has influenced,”Sega’s former president Hideki Okamura said in a recent interview with Gamebusiness.jp. “It was the first of its kind in the go anywhere, do anything open world style games. On top of that Mr. Suzuki had a very strong desire to make Shenmue 3.”
“… Sega is interacting with Mr. Suzuki even now. We will continue supporting him concerning Shenmue 3 as well”
So, while we don’t have any specifics, it appears as though Sega may be actively involved in the development of Shenmue 3 somehow.