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The video game Shenmue III was launched on 19 November 2019, the day on which the Principality celebrates its national holiday. A nod to the Monegasque company Shibuya Production, which produced and developed this much anticipated follow-up.

Eighteen years after Shenmue II, fans of the series were finally able to rediscover the world of the legendary title with the release of the third instalment in late 2019.
Shibuya Productions had caused a sensation at E3 in Los Angeles in June 2015, when it announced the production of Shenmue III.

Part of Monegasque Soft Power
 Read Cédric Biscay's interview

A crowdfunding campaign raised several million dollars in just a few hours – setting a record of US$ 6.3 million and nearly 70,000 contributors – to develop the game. The Shenmue III funding campaign was an unprecedented success, and the popularity of the title, whose first two instalments were met with worldwide acclaim, undoubtedly contributed to that.
And yet today, this Made in Monaco production could almost be described as independent, such is the extent of the difference in funding compared with the first Shenmue, which was, at the time, considered a blockbuster in the gaming world with its EUR 70 million budget.

The new Shenmue remains true to its origins: the first ever action role-playing game (RPG) in an open-world environment has retained its unique atmosphere with an immersive scenario, dynamic cutscenes, realistic fights and original mini-games.

© Shenmue 3
© Twitter Cédric Biscay

Released on the Dreamcast console in 1999 and 2001 respectively, Shenmue and Shenmue II recreated real-world locations – the Port of Yokosuka and then the city of Hong Kong – immersing players in the everyday life of a 3D world and inspiring more recent leading titles, chief among them the popular Grand Theft Auto.

The story takes up where the series left off: in 1987, Japanese martial artist Ryo Hazuki continues to hunt down the killer of his father, Lan Di, in the Guilin region of southern China.

The 17 years that have passed since the previous instalment have enabled Shenmue III to introduce new mechanics and a more elaborate fighting system, improving gameplay. Particular attention was paid to creating a unique experience for both fans of the title and new players.

Since 2014, the Monegasque company Shibuya Productions has launched the animated series Astro Boy Reboot and Cobra: Return of Joe Gillian, the animated film Lilly and the Magic Pearl, and the series Petz Club, which is broadcast on France 4. The company also organises the Monaco Anime Game International Conferences, an elite event exclusively for a handful of otaku – fans of Japanese culture – who go along to meet their idols.

© Shenmue 3
© Twitter Cédric Biscay

Video games must be innovative, be rooted firmly in history and have depth. They should be less dependent on extravagant special effects. And we share this vision.

Cédric Biscay, President and CEO, Shibuya Production, about Yu Suzuki, creator of the Shenmue series.


Part of Monegasque Soft Power

Cédric Biscay, the founder of Shibuya Productions, a Monegasque production company for animated films and video games, is the embodiment of Monegasque soft power on the international scene. An interview.

With the Manga shows held in Monaco and Kyoto, is Shibuya Productions more of an ambassador for Japanese pop culture in the Principality, or for Monegasque culture in Japan?

It’s clearly both.  It’s obvious, of course,  that Japan, because of its size and history, is the leader in this field.  That’s why the MAGIC event we hold in Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum is popular not only with our European visitors, but also with visitors from the USA and Latin America.  With the MAGIC event we’re organising in Kyoto, we also want to show that Monaco has many assets in the field of pop culture, through the projects supported by Shibuya Productions.  More and more, the overall image of the Principality is becoming younger and more forward-looking.

We want to combine art, science and education.  In this respect, the special presence of H.I.H. Princess Akiko de Mikasa at the last MAGIC event in Kyoto and the High Patronage of H.S.H. Princess Charlene granted to MAGIC Monaco are decisive steps in giving credibility to our activities.

With Shibuya Productions, we are aware that we represent part of Monaco’s soft power internationally.  This is an aspect that is particularly dear to my heart and which makes the whole team proud.

The Blitz manga was overseen by one of the greatest chess players in the world, Garry Kasparov. How did you persuade him?

I simply sent an explanatory e-mail to his company’s inbox in New York, and was contacted shortly afterwards, offering me a meeting with him in Paris, because he was interested …

Garry Kasparov is a really clever man.  He doesn’t know the world of manga, but he immediately understood that, thanks to this work, he could reach a different audience and also raise awareness of chess in Japan, a country where there are many more popular games, such as Shogi and Go.

When will Yu Suzuki, the historical creator of the Shenmue trilogy, make a fourth instalment?

This is a question that interests millions of gamers around the world, which I am asked almost every day!  Today, we can’t say that the development of Shenmue IV has really started.  What is true, is that we have prepared material with the team in Japan and Yu Suzuki, to pitch the project to potential partners.  This includes a lot of designs and screenshots, but also in-game videos that are particularly impressive.

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Shibuya Productions

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