Shenmue
Ryo and Ling Shenhua in artwork for Shenmue 2.Sega

Sega is reportedly seeking options to re-release and possibly remaster the first two Shenmue games following the announcement of Shenmue 3 earlier this year at E3. The news comes directly from Sega Europe's marketing director Jon Rooke.

Speaking in an interview with Marketing Week, Rooke said: "Yes, we want to innovate and back smartphones and virtual reality but our key purpose is to go back to what the brand used to stand for. I think the buzz around Shenmue 3 shows that people love our legacy."

Rooke confirmed that the gaming giant is "exploring new ways to re-release the original two Shenmue titles". It's unclear whether they will be re-released as they were or remastered in some way. The latter seems likely, but don't expect a full remake.

In June at Sony's E3 press conference series creator Yu Suzuki announced a Shenmue 3 Kickstarter campaign which generated over $6m in crowd-funded cash before eventually evolving into a joint venture with Sony to develop a long-awaited follow-up for PS4 and PC.

Sega's exact involvement in Shenmue 3 is unknown, but they retain the rights to the series and will likely publish or joint-publish with Sony. A 2017 release for the game seems a likely target, which would mark 16 years since the release of Shenmue 2 in 2001. The original Shenmue was released in late 1999/2000.

"Over the next few years, we want to use engaging content and marketing to remind the public why they fell in love with Sega in the first place," said Rooke. This fan-pleasing move would certainly go some ways to achieving that.

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