The remake was allegedly in development for quite some time before being cancelled due to budget constraints and development delays.
Unlike the remastered version of Shenmue I & II released by Sega earlier this year, this version of Shenmue featured significant rendering improvements, proper shadow maps, higher resolution textures and foliage with higher complexity geometry, 3D objects for the previously flat textured roof tiles and fence post, ambient occlusion, upgraded NPCs, and more.
The video obtained by Eurogamer also includes footage of Shenmue II, suggesting that full remakes for both titles were in development. While the improvements for Shenmue II appear lesser in the video, it may be because it was in early development. Improvements include enhanced texture detail and the addition of shadow maps to the environment.
Here are some comparison images:
The remakes were reportedly developed by the same team that delivered the Shenmue I & II remasters.
Eurogamer contacted Sega for comment on the status of the remake, but has yet to receive a response. Whether it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen, but according to Eurogamer, “this video represents the tip of the iceberg and that a significant amount of more advanced work was completed.”
Update 10/16/18 at 11:58 a.m.: Sega has issued the following statement:
“Sega and D3T indeed had started exploring the feasibility of a full HD remaster for Shenmue I & II. That being said, we soon realized that this was a project with its own set of challenges. Working with original animations and characters but meshing them with enhanced HD visuals gave us a game that we felt would not meet the standards that Shenmue fans expect and deserve. Rather than going ahead with a release that may disappoint fans, we chose to focus on bringing the classic game to PC and modern consoles, so that new players could experience Shenmue‘s original charm.””