Sega ultimately ended up releasing Shenmue 1 and 2 HD, moderate remasters of the classic Dreamcast games to bring fans up to speed ahead of the launch of next year’s Shenmue 3, the long awaited next entry in the franchise. However, once, it was working on something far more ambitious—a full fledged remake of Shenmue.
Eurogamer shared this news today, also sharing footage of the aborted effort. Apparently, the remake was in development for quite a while before budget and resource considerations led to its cancellation. The remake was going to be a substantial overhaul of the original game, featuring, among other things, proper shadow maps, overhauled rendering and geometry, higher resolution textures, advanced lighting techniques such as ambient occlusion, upgrades made to the NPCs, and more. You can look at what it was looking like around the time it was cancelled in the shared footage for yourself below.
While it is a shame we didn’t get the remake, and instead got the relatively more conservative remaster, in the end, at least Shenmue fans got some modernization of the classic games, I suppose. You can play Shenmue 1 and 2 HD on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.