Shenmue II GAME JAM (Apr 11,2001 Dreamcast prototype)
Spring 1995, Yu Suzuki takes advantage of a moment of respite to continue developing his prototype. The originator of SEGA's greatest arcade hits has an idea in mind. Virtua Fighter has become a strong license of the brand and the Japanese knows that he can use this universe to develop a revolutionary role-playing game. Steeped in ambition, the man and his team attempt a first: The Old Man and the Peach Tree. The program, built with a few algorithms, tells the story of Taro, who is looking for a certain Ryu , a kung-fu master capable of teaching him his art. The title, expected to be for Saturn, offers the exploration of an open world with the solving of puzzles. At 37, Yu Suzuki has nothing left to prove and yet he is about give rise to a work that will crystallize the video game industry for nearly two decades.
The beginning of a long epic, Shenmue!
Since the early 90s (and from his trip to China), Yu Suzuki has aimed to make an RPG that goes beyond Japanese clichés. More freedom, interaction with an organic world, an optimized dialogue system... the creator stopped at nothing. He imagined a story that took place in the 1950s in Luoyang , the ancient Chinese capital. Inspired by a trip to China dating back to 93, the story The Old Man and the Peach Tree contrasted what was usually done in video games at the time.
«A man, who appears to be a martial arts master, is basking in the sun. Taro , who is the player character, asks the man if he knows Master Ryu . The old man then tells him that he only has to bring back a peach to get the answer. So the first part of the quest is to find a peach tree. There is an apple tree not far from them. Taro can't reach the apple, so he borrows a stick from one of the guards and picks the apple which he immediately gives to the man. But the latter explains to him again that he wants to eat a peach, and he gets angry. At the end, children gather around the man and encourage him. Taro quietly approaches and an in-game cutscene begins. The old man skimps on a lake. Each time the stone hits the surface of the water, it stuns a fish. The fish literally float to the surface of the water. The children are very happy to have fish for dinner. The man managed to hit two or three fish with a single stone. After witnessing such a spectacle, Taro is certain that it is in fact Master Ryu. That's the kind of story that we found in the game. This became the basis of the game.»
The Old Man and the Peach Tree has a script and a staging (nothing has been shown but we can guess the scene) totally out of step with its time. However, this prototype allowed the whole team to gauge the capabilities of the Saturn and to push it to its ultimate limits: fully 3D graphics, management of collisions and clipping (late display of scenery), control of characters and the camera, monitoring and consistency of events and puzzles, dialogues in other words, the 32-bit has seen all the colors.
The idea of an RPG on the model of Virtua Figther
After The Old Man and the Peach Tree, the AM2 team decided to turn to a more concrete universe that is, above all, well known to fans of the brand: Virtua Fighter. We move to 1996. The idea is to create an RPG using the characters of the famous fighting game, whose hero is Akira.
Fully 3D and with a cinematic approach, it adds (compared to The Old Man and the Peach Tree prototype) the ability to fight multiple individuals at once; but also, recorded voices give more sense of life and realism to the protagonists of the story. By doing so, Yu Suzuki saved considerable time: he used all the character moves of the famous fighting game (Akira, Pai, Lau, Jacky, etc.), but with the 3D engine. At this point, the developers had a very precise idea of what they want.
That trip to China would have the effect of clarifying many of his desires. For Virtua Fighter RPG, Yu Suzuki designed a document based on his memories, where it is particularly about the story and its guideline. The hero, Akira (funny thing is that in Shenmue, the game code reveals that the character ID remained "AKIR", diminished form of Akira) must face a destiny that jostles his emotions.
Official Shenmue 1+2 script
First, the grief over the loss of his father; then, the departure for China and the feeling of revenge that animated him (the main antagonist then bears the name of Randi and not Lan Di); then, the fight against the murderer of his father and finally, victory and a new journey with his friends. From this document, Yu Suzuki draws an orchestral suite in four repeating movements. To give more volume to the story, the creator called on a scriptwriter to whom he made listen to the famous piece in order to give him more inspiration. It is from this precise moment that Yu Suzuki began the real writing of the 11 different chapters of the game.
2008, my trip to Guilin
Shenmue Saturn (Shenmue 2)
2008, my trip to Guilin
To give a dramatic feel to his title, Yu Suzuki opted for a romantic approach, in order to make the player feel all the emotions of the hero. And each of the 11 chapters takes place in different locations in China. Suffice to say that Virtua Fighter RPG has created a real base for the future Project Berkley. It is Akira Yuki (when younger), and not Ryo Hazuki, that one finds in the Saturn prototypes. Again, even though these prototypes, by Yu Suzuki's admission, are playable and slumbering somewhere at SEGA in Japan, they are just prototypes, short and intended to gauge the performance of the Saturn. Hence the fight sequence between Ryu and Guizhang or the doe scene from Shenmue II. There is no full Project Berkley or Shenmue game on the Saturn. These are just tests.
The Beginning of the Berkley Project
In 1997, Yu Suzuki was involved in the development of SEGA's future console. The Dreamcast, which would succeed the Saturn, is much more powerful and better aimed at game designers. Logically, the whole team decided to abandon 32-bit support to focus on the future machine which was then called "Next-gen Saturn". Virtua Fighter RPG had been abandoned in turn, resulting in the birth of a new title but which had no name yet, except for the code name Guppy. Built in 45 hours, the gameplay mixed a large number of approaches: cinematics, fights, research and exploration, learning new techniques, interaction between the different chapters and even the presence of "underground dungeons".
In 1998, Yu Suzuki changed the name of the game to Berkley and aimed to introduce the first two chapters in the first adventure. Only then was the ambition of the AM2 limitless and the game growing visibly. Project Berkley became Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka and each game contained only one single chapter, all materializing in the form of a gigantic killer app for the Dreamcast. Given the scale of development (which required about 30% of the total workforce of AM2), Yu Suzuki was forced to redefine the basics of game design. It was at this time that he imagined the concepts of FREE for Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment, and Quick Time Events (QTE) from which he drew inspiration from the game of our childhood, SIMON.
That same year, the SEGA teams were working at full speed to produce Shenmue. At that time, the number of employees working on Yu Suzuki's game exceeded 200. Among those who toiled the most, there are the programmers who set up multiple compression algorithms in order to fit the game on 3 GD-ROMs (without that, it would have taken 50 or 60 CD ROMs to store Shenmue) but also the developers who have been called to the rescue for "NPC life control". Yu Suzuki reveals that this concept was added later, because it was not part of the development stages.
«Each character led their own life. All this was not planned and it has been done and integrated in the meantime. This was quite a heavy task for the staff working on the game. If I add up the NPCs (or NPCs) from Shenmue and Shenmue II , I think there are over 450. We created a background for each character: name, age, weight, height, his/her partner, place of residence, etc.»
Shenmue contains over 300 characters (700 including Shenmue 2). To save time, the team used a formidable technique: it used the names of employees and high authorities of SEGA to personalize this little world. One of the employees absolutely wanted to be an F1 driver. He finally found himself as a simple onlooker near the construction site.
An incredible development
To fully understand how Shenmue was ahead of its time, we are going to make a presentation of the techniques put in place to push realism to its maximum. Unlike other games, the creation of the game did not start with dozens and dozens of artwork. While there were some during the making of Virtua Fighter RPG, the team's real inspiration came from the music.
«The development of the game first started with its music. Then, once I finally had a theme that I liked and corresponded to my desire, I had all my staff listen to it, the project directors, the screenwriters, without telling them anything. They knew the general concept of the project but nothing had really been decided yet. I then asked them to freely follow their inspiration only with this music. Finally, we all exchanged many ideas, in addition to mine. The world of Shenmue was therefore built on his music, without starting with artwork as is usually the case in video games»
Yuzo Koshiro, who participated in the musical composition of Shenmue, visited SEGA studios about once a week. The game was entirely designed through his music, that is to say that the musicians composed the themes by focusing on sketches and models. When you hear the final result, there is something to be amazed about.
All the animations are made in motion capture and the team even went so far as to use an electronic glove in order to faithfully reproduce the movement of the hands and fingers.
Official sculpture (photo by SkillJim)
For the fights, the choreographies were strongly enforced, and Yu Suzuki's perfectionism became almost sickly. The instructions given to the actors were ultra-precise and it was not easy to comply with the demands of the creator, who did not hesitate to lend his hand by showing all the gestures to be performed one by one.
The other feat comes from the modeling of the main character. Akira gave way to a certain Ryo Hazuki and the first sketches were drawn by Yu Suzuki himself:
«To get a story that suited me, I needed a hero that matched my expectations. So I first drew sketches of what I expected from the ideal main character. I got what I wanted, both from the front and from the side. But the problem is that the 3D rendering did not correspond to the model at all! I felt like I had another person!»
To counter the problem, the devs would then hatch a genius idea: to use clay to reconstruct the faces of the main characters of the story. These sculptures, made by professionals, were then scanned in 3D to obtain a rendering close to perfection. With such a technique, the faces reached the trifle of 50,000 animations, so the number of polygons had to be shifted down.
For architecture, the AM2 had developed a program that made it possible to structure the layout of the various buildings and rooms. It was enough to input objects such as tables, chairs and others for the software to organize and reposition everything, making sure that the character could cross the area without hindrance. Crazy!
Finally, the change in weather had taken a lot of resources from Yu Suzuki's team:
«Today, everyone knows how to do it, but at the time it was a real challenge. The Magic Weather system allows for programmatic weather and weather control. The brightness evolves correctly according to the time of day. Wind and snow algorithms are also generated. We used Yokosuka's historical weather data for a three-year period starting in 1986, to recreate the game's in-game weather.»
In 1999, Yu Suzuki began his worst nightmare (he hates this part of development): debugging. This phase consisted of playing the game and testing it in every corner to eradicate any form of bug. The cycle took two full weeks, which were grueling. Every day, more than 300 bugs were listed to be then corrected. According to the creator, a team took turns working around the clock, recording videos to target any bugs. At the end of the development, more than 300 people had to be coordinated, which was a real ordeal, because no one had the experience of such a project. Nowadays, developers use project management software, which makes it possible to coordinate all the stages of the creation of a game but also the interaction with the different people and teams. At the end of the 90s, this was far from being the case.
«At that time, there were no project management tools, such as Redmine . So instead we used a command sheet which was just a simple list of measurements in Excel. Because we were developing or testing the game, the number of bars to correct never decreased. And for information, there were more than 10,000! It's scary to think that we managed this project essentially by distributing sheets of paper»
To make Shenmue, the developers didn't get much sleep or rest. If they managed to take turns, each Friday was called "Shenmue Weekend". The team would travel to SEGA's lodge in Zushi (a town of about 55,000 people located 65 km from Tokyo) and work all weekend.
This is what Shenmue was all about. Programmers who fought for months to get the best game in the world. The team of programmers was also split in two: on one side, the employees who worked on the game system, on the other those who officiated on the programming routines due to the countless events. Shenmue is also the dropping of ideas. Originally, Ryo was to start his journey in China (yes!) and the bike came naturally at the start of development. The test was even carried out with Ryo pedaling while speeding through a meadow. At the end of development, a programmer took over the concept to flesh it out and improve it, but the concept of riding a bicycle in Yokosuka did not bring anything significant. The team preferred to remove this element. Tak Hirai even admits that they had fun using different new "features" (and which he wanted to keep as Easter Eggs), such as fast forward and rewind of the day/night cycle or the possibility of carrying an object like a house and swing it.
The presentation of Shenmue 2 at Game Jam
Yu Suzuki had made an appearance at Sega's Game Jam show, in April 2001, to show off the latest Shenmue II goodies, gadgets, and gameplay systems. Suzuki had launched a demo with crowd noise on a busy street in Hong Kong and then showed off the all-new automatic map, which appears and rotates based on the location of Ryo and his direction.
Next, Suzuki opened the options menu, where he checked Ryo's current collection of Gatcha (small Japanese toys). The game had informed him that if he had one more figure, it would complete his Virtua Fighter toy collection, and he could sell the set, at the pawn shop for 500 HKD. Suzuki had taken Ryo Hazuki's character to an alley, where he had played several rounds of a game of chance. Ryo quickly won the mini-game. He then took his new collection to a pawn shop to sell it and collect as much money as possible.
Exposing his twisted fascination with minigames, Suzuki had moved Ryo to a seedy bar, where our hero struck up a conversation with an Italian darts player. The crowd watched in silence as Suzuki played a thrilling game of dart throwing!
Suzuki had also demonstrated Shenmue II's dynamic loading system. When Ryo stands near a door leading outside, the outside area begins to load in the background, just in case it is needed.
The audience laughed at the poor performance of Suzuki, in a QTE sequence, when he tried to cross the narrow bridges in disc 4 as he kept falling and rushing Ryo Hazuki to certain death.
Once the demo finished, a trailer started on the screen to end with the appearance of the actors/dubbers of the actual voices of Ryo and Ren, handcuffed to each other, rushing onto the stage.
By performing an analysis of the contents of the prototype, the build was created on November 6, 2000. Based on the last modification of the files with the GD-ROM Explorer tool, the date is April 14, 2001 at 12:06:38. This Japanese prototype of Shenmue 2 would have been mastered between 3 and 9 months (depending on the date chosen) before the final Japanese version being on July 16, 2001 at 07:21:16. On the GD-Rom it is mentioned "Game Jam", which could suggest that these 4 discs may have been used during the April 2001 event in Japan bearing the same name.
Unused Title Menu
The GD-Rs don't run on a Katana Dreamcast dev kit. The SEGA copyright remains fixed in position. Selecting the Dev Kit bios from the DEmul emulator, it's the same issue.
This prototype has several Debug Menus. If at first glance, these seem basic, we realize that they allow a lot of things in the game. It is however complicated to understand them and to use them.
653 scripts and approximately 150,000 textures were extracted from Shenmue II Game Jam.
Before you start, an aside:
If you can't play a new game in the main menu, remove the memory card and you should be able to start it. Put the VMU back when you want to save. Ideally, use a blank VMU for this prototype.
The Shenmue 2 icon on the Visual Memory Unit is not the one used in the final Japanese version. It corresponds to that of Shenmue 1.
If no memory card is connected, several warning messages (VMU etc.) follow one another. They are 4 in number and not 3 as in the Japanese retail version. One of these messages is new and specific to the build. The number of free blocks needed to save, "22", is not mentioned anywhere. This prototype will require 23 free blocks to save a game.
The screens with the "SEGA", "AM2" and "CSK Research Institute" logos are not present, the animation with the Phoenix and Dragon mirrors begins directly before arriving at the title screen.
On the title screen, the copyright under "PRESS START" should mention "©CRI 1999, 2001 Y" and not just the year 2001. A temporary screen (a model?) was found in the game files.
At the scene of Shenhua with the eagle (Prophecy), by not pressing "START" at the title screen, it starts with 3 windows "Presented By SEGA", the "Y" logo and the spiral of the Dreamcast; this last screen is new. This sequence should directly show the sunset and the eagle flying towards the player. Another interesting point, this cutscene is new and was not known until today. It was certainly cut to be replaced by the one we all know. At the end of it, we finally find the "AM2" logo, but there are still others missing.
"[DISC4] contains "Shenmue I Digest Movie" and "Shenmue II Collection". If you are playing "Shenmue II" for the first time, please watch "Shenmue I Digest Movie"."
Unreleased intro of Shenmue 2 (Prophecy)
The "Shenmue Collection" and "Digest Movie" submenus are not present in the main menu. "Shenmue Collection" can be opened through Debug Menu 1 by choosing ARENA OMAK with GD-Rom number 4 from the beta.
By selecting "Option" in the main menu, the penultimate and last sub-options are swapped.
By loading a game, the image and the map presenting the area of the backup are from Shenmue 1, the port. The map, meanwhile, is an early preview of "Green Market Qr.".
"Press the open button on the main unit and replace it with [DISC n]. Then load the start file of [DISC n] from [Load&Start] in the start menu."
Voice dubbing of characters, except during main scenes, is not implemented yet. When chatting with NPCs , there are no voices, only the Japanese subtitles of the conversation.
The timbre and tone of the dubbing actors' voices are different for certain scenes, especially towards the end of the game. AM2 employees may have lent their voices temporarily to the antagonists of Shenmue 2; just a hypothesis.
Scenes - some of the new Debug Menu 1 entries (Disc 3/0274 and Disc 4/0514), have a temporary loading screen called "Will Delete Loading Screen". These loading screens would be removed during further development of Suzuki's work.
Many Glitches (a more or less disturbing programming flaw, sometimes embarrassing, but often comical) are present whether in the scenes or in game. Non-player characters can be invisible during one scene and not the next. While walking around Hong Kong, encounters with NPCs can be quite strange, to put it simply.
This beta version suffers from major Clipping problems (graphical problem consisting of the display, disappearance or modification of objects). Stand near the fountain of "Pigeon Park", then turn the character to the arrival area with the ship in Hong Kong, then look away. Repeat this sequence and you can make the ship appear and disappear. Will Ryo Hasuki dethrone David Copperfield ?
The brightness does not diminish as the day progresses (to be confirmed).
Boat arrival scene bug
Combat technique training
Clipping, where is the bulding?
Yū Suzuki Hazuki !!!
Remaining Debug log
NPCs take longer to load, they appear late in the environment (to be confirmed).
The auto-follow system of characters (Auto follow from Ren in disc 3, from Wong in disc 1 or from Shenhua in disc 4) doesn't seem to work.
After the disc 3 story is completed, the game will ask to change and insert the next GD-Rom. The following message will appear on the screen "[DISC1] has ended. Do you want to save? Yes No (even video)", but the adventure of disc 1 was over since a long time. The text explaining how to change the disc is on a black background and not with an Artwork in the background.
Bugs are present during the intro cutscene with the ship arriving in HK.
One of the last scenes before finishing Shenmue 2, that of Ryo inserting a sword into a base (Excalibur the return) plays out strangely. The background is blue and not that of the environment of the cave in which the hero is.
Unfinished sword scene
The development of the game is not complete, understandably; it is impossible to access the end of the second episode of the Saga of Shenmue and listen to the majestic musical theme symphony orchestra version during the credits. The prototype will restart automatically just before seeing the 2 huge mirrors of the Phoenix and the Dragon.
When Ryo learns a new combat move, the name of the martial art technique is basically displayed at the end of the scene and not during it. The sound warning the player that a new move has been learned does not exist.
Some zone loads do not occur in the same place between the prototype and the American version; Ryo will appear a few meters further. Start a game at "Dimsum Qr. (Disc 3)", then head to "Figths in The Place", you'll get the hang of it!
Prototype Game Jam
When playing "Lucky Hit's" mini-games, the US version zooms in more on Ryo's and the NPC's face. The physics of the ball also seems different (to be confirmed). When the hero works for a marble stand, it may bug and the camera behaves strangely.
The buildings of Kowloon (Walled City) lack dazzle, life. They are not frequented by locals. We won't meet anyone except the main NPCs , who are the owners of the place. Some of them are placed in other locations visited (hostesses of restaurants for example).
Some dialogue subtitles are mentioned as placeholders.
There is no trace of the Ducks minigame and arcade game After Burner.
In this prototype, invisible barriers prevent Ryo from talking in places when he should be able to walk around freely. This can be seen in "Golden Qr.", in the alley leading to the "Lucky Charm Qr." activation.
Some non-player character animations are new, for example the little girl in front of the herb store in "South Carmain Qr." (TBA). She gets scared and starts running. NPCs jump continuously, which is the default error animation. Many NPCs have basic animations. An elegant woman from "Moon Child Bldg. 6F" should run her hands through her hair; she does not. The NPC who helps Ryo with the book QTE is static and does not sweep in front of the Mao Temple bookstore.
Objects in the inventory have a more pronounced magnification; they are rotated to the right and not to the left.
Spelling errors for English names are to be seen, for example on the map of "Fortune's Pier", "Warehouse" is spelled "WherHouse".
Ryo will be able to buy the building cards from disc 3; they will appear at the bottom right once inside the building. However, they will not be accessible in the map menu of the inventory.
Scenes are incomplete or buggy, for example the one in the "Man Mao" park (Disc 2/YMQB). After a few seconds of the cutscene, the screen will turn black; it's possible to interact by pressing START only. When playing the QTE sequence in "White Dinasty Qr." (Disc 2/WR00), the QTE freeze scene with the watermelon is not yet added to the prototype.
When Iwao Hazuki's son opens a door, he may appear in a different place than expected.
In some parts of Shenmue II Game Jam, those still causing design problems, system information (Debug) is displayed on the screen.
The NPCs, in certain areas, are less numerous, especially at the starting point of the adventure or in front of combat locations (Free Battle, arm wrestling for example).
By purchasing zone cards in the displays assigned to them, some will be displayed differently in-game (bottom left of the screen).
When it's raining outside, the NPCs sometimes take out their umbrellas inside the closed room.
Ren Wuying 's face is a alternative model. Shenhua Ling, meanwhile , smiles more often in the prototype, his eyes are larger.
The end credits match those of Shenmue 1.
Vending machine in Yen
Some parts of Kowloon 's buildings are reserved for cutscenes. Normally they are locked. Ryo can enter it in the Game Jam prototype, however the rooms are empty (example: Room 409 of " Three Birds Bldg. " scheduled for the scene of Ryo and Ren handcuffed to each other before they find the staircase leading to the roof of the building).
Mini-scenes, such as the plane flying over Hong Kong when Ryo is on the stairs of "Wise Men's Qr.", have no loading screen and launch directly.
Temporary graphic element
The prototype uses the appearance of drink vending machines from Shenmue 1. The Yen symbol is still present when it should be in HK Dollars. Once the action key is pressed to buy a drink, the dispenser transforms and the $ appears.
In some scenes, graphic elements are used as substitutes, for example when Ryo enters Dou Niu's office before confronting him on the roof of the building, the door is temporary.
Some QTEs have been modified since the development of the game. Some simplistic QTEs have become Freeze QTEs.
Normally, some scenes start automatically. The prototype may ask the player to choose from options that display in a dialog tree in order to trigger the cutscene. This is the case when the hero has to hand over 500 HK$ to Cool J/Z, we can choose to hand over the money or not.
SND files are the MIDI sound files that AM2 created and used for Shenmue. Other Dreamcast games employ the ADX format.
There are 198 different SND files between the Game Jam prototype and the final version. Eliminating those that are just sound effects to focus on the music brings the differences down to around 30 files.
There are a number of SND files in the final version that do not exist in the Game Jam version, the 3 that are present in the Game Jam version but not in the final version are just sound effects. It's not very interesting, just footsteps and battle sounds.
Track 0019_011 was reused in Shenmue 3 as official soundtrack track 49. The version of the song used in Shenmue 3 matches this beta version of Shenmue II, which is different from the version of the song in the final version of Shenmue 2.
When it comes to music tracks, there are plenty that have no audible difference. Sometimes additional songs are missing in the same file or the loop has a different order. In one case, the developers moved a song to a different index in the same file. Here are the ones that have notable differences with the equivalent of the final version.
Game Jam prototype
Final Japanese version
The end credits music is present. Its size is smaller for two reasons:
The credits music is 25 seconds shorter. It is 5:30 in the final version and only 5:05 in the beta version.
The move list screen music is missing in the beta.
The beta credits music is track 01 from the unedited Shenmue Orchestra CD album. The final version song adds 25 seconds from track 2 (Sedge Tree) of the same CD in the middle of the song at 3 minutes to make it longer.
Top = Beta, Middle = Final, Bottom = Soundtrack Track 1
Another particularity of this build is the presence of the audio for the dialogue of an unused scene of disc 3. This sequence would be located during the countdown of 6 minutes in the last floors of the Yellow Head Building. Unfortunately, there is only the audio and not the other files needed to view it.
The Debug Menu 2
To open this hidden menu, you must start a new game or load the current game. By plugging a gamepad into port D on the console, then pressing START on controller 4, various options will appear. It will then be possible to navigate in this Debug Menu with this controller. The triggers will allow you to change the main option, the other buttons to activate and modify certain values. It can also be activated during Shenhua's introduction scene with the eagle (Prophecy).
Very few things change compared to Shenmue II Us, which also has this Debug Menu 2.
[EVENT] : Detailed explanation will come later; this option did not work in the American beta.
[TIME] : Increase/decrease the time by one or two minutes. The scrolling of time and hours can be stopped.
[SAVE] : Allows you to save at any time.
[STEP] : Shenmue 2 story progression can be increased or decreased.
[STEP] STEP XX.XXXX : in connection with the previous STEP, the value displayed on the screen shows at which stage of the story Ryo is (detailed explanations available by reading: the release of the Unreleased version of American Shenmue 2). This option is specific to the Game Jam prototype.
[FLAG] : Enable or disable internal flags, mostly for story related stuff etc. (detailed explanations available by reading the release of the Unreleased version of American Shenmue 2)
[SYSTEM METRICS] : Shows useful system information for developers, pressing A accesses other windows related to this option. On emulators, the option works partially. When playing the prototype on a real console, the numbers displayed on the screen scroll.
The STEP option works slightly differently than the US version. By pressing Left or Right of the directional pad (one press), it will increase or decrease by 0.0100 points. Pressing Up or Down will increase or decrease by 1.0000 points. The increase or decrease of the references of this option will not be visible, this time, on the screen. The numbers will not scroll. However , STEP XX.XXXX will be modified with the new values.
Joy appears at STEP 51.0000, then will disappear at number 52.0000 (when next loading the game).
Warning : No research on FLAGs has been done for this build. Some US version FLAGs do not work. There must be new FLAGs .
Debug Log still active in the prototype
Debug Menu (log) remaining active during the climb of the Yellow Head Building with the walkie-talkies
Debug Menu (log) remaining active when Ren and Ryo escape from prison.
Debug Menu remaining (log) active while cleaning the Man Mao Temple; press the right trigger on controller B
Debug Menu (log) remaining active when Ryo has to pursue Ren's gang after his first encounter with them.
Debug Menu (log) remaining active while playing slot machines in casinos
Debug Menu (log) remaining active when Ryo walks with Shenhua in the peaceful forest of Guilin.
[EVENT] Disc 2/WBBK: Ryo must carry books (QTE)
EVENT mode in Debug Menu 2 did not work on Shenmue II US. This Japanese prototype finally allows you to see what this famous option, locked until now, consisted of.
Starting the second GD-Rom, Ryo will have to move stacks of books from the Mao Temple Bookstore outside daily for 5 days. The exercise is not very difficult since the QTEs only include sequences with the directional arrows.
By plugging a controller into port D of the Dreamcast then pressing X (you have to hold it down), the EVENT Debug 1 window will appear. Pressing Up and Down on the directional pad will change the values for "DAY", Left and Right will adjust the number for "Route".
DAY : allows you to select the working day, 5 to choose from.
Route : corresponds to stack number XX among the 13 to be taken to the outer courtyard of the library.
For example, by choosing "Route 13", you will only need to carry a stack of books to finish your working day.
EVENT window Debug 1
The game will warn of the arrival of a QTE by writing the warning message "--CHK FRAM" on the screen. When not passing a QTE, only with the EVENT Debug 2 window enabled, the message "Rest: (X) - X" will be displayed in the same place.
By plugging a gamepad into port B of the console and then pressing B, Ryo needs to have a stack of books in his hands, the EVENT Debug 2 window will appear. By moving the hero, some digits on the screen will change. The values of the 0:20.000 line are adjustable with the analogue stick. This modifiable number can be negative or positive; it allows, I think, to modify the flow of minutes that pass in game (to be confirmed).
EVENT Window Debug 2
The Debug Menu 1
The trick to open Debug Menu 1 at the title screen has not yet been found. In order to have access to it, the ISO has been modified. Shenmue II will launch automatically with it; it will appear in the main menu. You will have to reboot the game each time to return to this mysterious menu.
Upon reaching the main menu, the player will have several choices: CONTINUE, SCENE, AREA and ENTRY. With the trigger buttons, you can scroll through several windows: STAFF ROLL, COLOR BAR, OPTION, OUTRUN, HARRIER, HANGON and AFTER BURNER.
CONTINUE : With a VMU/VMS connected, the game can resume normally at the desired save point (directional pad.
SCENE : To select either disc 1, 2, 3 or 4 (directional pad).
AREA : The scenes are coded, by choosing the specific code (directional pad) then pressing START, the game will launch on the desired one.
ENTRY : This is Ryo Hazuki's spawn point in the chosen AREA (directional pad).
COLOR BAR : This option has 2 screens, by pressing one of the triggers, the following window will be displayed. No interactions are possible.
OPTION : Empty colored screen.
STAFF ROLL : The credits of Shenmue 2.
OUTRUN etc : From these windows, arcade games can be played directly.
Important : The codes for each scene can be found in the extraction of the discs with the GD-ROM Explorer program. AREAs are registered by default in the Debug Menu. By pressing A, they increase. By pressing B, they decrease. The Y and X buttons have the same function except that the codes do not appear in the data taken from GD-ROMs. By validating them, the game crashes. They must have been used in other earlier Shenmue 2 builds.
Two new Debug Menu 1 options are available on the Game Jam prototype, COLOR BAR and OPTION. A third option was found in the game files which is currently not functional and not available: it is "FREE BATTLE / TIME ATTACK". This new mode attempts to load the 70-man battle code from Shenmue I. It may be possible to make this content playable in the future.
The "ENTRY 99", in the AREAs it exists for, may have something to do with debugging Shenmue 2. For example, try buying a drink from the vending machines in Disc 2's AREA AB00 (Beverly Hills Wharf) or the one on disc 3 Q100 (Thousand White Qr.), it will no longer be possible to cancel the action and return to the game. It is not known if this is a bug related to ENTRY 99 or a Debug function.
The emulation of the famous racing game Out Run (OutRun or Outrun) is based on the classic model of the arcade cabinet, no adjustments have been made as in the final version (the pretty logo at the start for example). The only way to play it is to launch the game from the Debug Menu 1. Going to the Hong Kong arcade "Pine Game", Hang On will start instead of Outrun.
"Insert Coin" replaces the traditional "Push Start Button!" of the final version. To start a new game, you will have to press X; usually it was START. By pressing X during a game, we will hear the same sound as at the beginning. Engine noise is non-existent. No need to worry about not arriving in time at the next checkpoint, once the time count has reached 0, it will add 10 seconds each time, no more GAME OVER!
Prototype Game Jam
The selection of scenes and zones
It is possible to modify the variables of AREA from Debug Menu 1. You have to enter codes to start a scene or be teleported to the place of your choice. Ideally, the ENTRY should remain as it is when booting the disc. You can also adjust the values of this option; Ryo will then appear in another place in the selected area. The ENTRY corresponds to the point of fall of the hero of Shenmue. Once the code has been selected, all you have to do is press START on controller 1 to start the game.
AREA entries had been explained in detail, in the page for the release of the Unreleased version of American Shenmue 2. Use the Shenmue II US article as reference; the Debug Menus of both versions are similar. Below, you will find only the specific and particular codes of the Game Jam prototype.
Comparing the Japanese retail version and the Game Jam prototype of Shenmue 2, some folders and files are specific (unreleased) to the build. 15 folders correspond to new AREAs of Debug Menu 1. The AREAs of the US version work differently this time.
The AREAs of the Game Jam prototype:
Disc 1/KHIN = Game crashes trying to load content. After modification of Shenmue 2, this map looks like VIEW of the American version. The squares are bigger. It's a different Devmap, nothing special.
Disc 2/KEW0 = Scene of Guixiang teaching Ryo a new fighting technique. He will then have to face a rebel to put it into practice.
Disc 3/0274 = Scene on the roof of the Big Ox Building before confronting Dou Niu. Lan Di is suspended from a ladder from a helicopter.
Disc 3/0275 = Scene of Lan Di leaving after Ryo defeats Dou Niu.
Guixiang (AREA Disc2/KEW0)
Disc 3/0277 = Scene of Ryo saying goodbye to Joy and Wong before leaving for Guilin. The child offers him 2 coins.
Disc 3/TGLB = The fight in Free Battle against Dou Niu.
Disc 4/0514 = Scene in the cave with Ryo and Shenhua each holding a torch; she is looking for her father.
Disc 4/KWA1 = Deep Green Way (in game, Ryo appears there), explanation will be provided later.
Disc 4/KWA2 = Deep Green Way to the pond ( in game, Ryo appears there), explanation will be provided later.
Ryo and Shenhua (AREA Disc 4/514)
Disc 4/KWWQ = Scene of Ryo and Shenhua running (VIEW background). They arrive at Crag. The eagle scene begins before it takes shelter in the cave for the night.
Disc 4/0517 = This is a viewer of 5 different scenes when Shenhua and Ryo run through the forest before nightfall. Playing the game normally, these scenes are interspersed with QTEs in which Ryo must avoid obstacles in the forest.
Disc 0/0142 = This is a MOTN file that stores character animations for cutscenes. This file was created on Monday "Feb 19 09:46:16 2001". The game crashes.
Wong and Joy (AREA Disc 3/0277)
Disc 0/0539 = This is a MOTN file that stores character animations for cutscenes. This file was created on Wednesday "Tue 21 22:31:08 2001". The game crashes.
Disc 3/253E = This is a MOTN file that stores character animations for cutscenes. This file was created on Friday " Jan 26 13:57:18 2001". The game crashes.
Disc 2/UPLOAD 2 : The developers probably forgot to delete this file. The game crashes.
Miao Village Loading
MOTN files are character animations only, they do not contain scene or camera data.
Off topic : There are still some traces, on all versions of Shenmue 2, of the content of a village having been removed by the developers of AM2. It is not present on this prototype. To access the famous loading of the "Miao Village" which has made us dream for 20 years, enter the code "SM00" as AREA of disc 2, 3 or 4.
The cutscene viewer (Disc 4/0517):
By entering this AREA of disc 4 in the Debug Menu 1, you will access a window with information listed at the top left. These figures correspond to 5 different scenes viewable from this screen. With the left and right triggers, we select the cut-scene to watch then by pressing A or START, it starts. After the scene is finished, the game will return to the main viewer window with the theme music that will continue.
0517A000.c/seqdata0.avb = Scene of Ryo walking with Shenhua, the wind picks up, they start running.
0517A011.c/seqdata1.avb = Scene of Ryo and Shenhua arriving in front of a landslide. They climb it and continue on their way.
0517A014.c/seqdata3.avb = Scene of Ryo and Shenhua arriving at a pond. He crosses it by crossing a small wooden bridge. The pond can be explored with the AREA KWA2.
0517A012.c/seqdata2.avb = Scene of Ryo and Shenhua arriving in front of a tree blocking their way.
0517A015.c/seqdata4.avb = Scene in which it is raining, Ryo and Shenhua are lost.
The new explorable areas of the prototype:
The Debug Menu 1 of the American version already allowed exploring certain areas was used only for cinematics. The player could freely move the character in places like "Crag, its cave and surroundings (Disc 4/KRC 1)", "Kai's Room (Disc 3/QEEC ENTRY 1)" or the entire map of "Cloud Bird Trail (Disc 4/KWW4)". This prototype makes it possible to discover, again, new playable environments.
Disc 4/KWA1 : This is a part of Deep Green Way in the forest. This minimap does not have collision. The character will be able to cross the environments.
Disc 4/KWA2 : It is possible to explore the part of Deep Green Way with the pond. This minimap does not have collision. The character will be able to cross the environments.
Disc 3/QF39 (Big Ox Bldg. 40 F): The stairs are not barred by a gate. It is possible to go down to the 19th floor. Each floor is similar. The only piece present at each floor is empty. The loading time denotes "Kowloon"..
Disc 3/QFRR (ENTRY 1) : Normally, this debug menu entry should launch the final disc 3 sequence on the roof of the building. This prototype allows you to play on the roof of the building. An NPC stands where Ryo appears. This non-playable character tells young Hazuki where to find work. Upon wishing to return to the building, Ryo will walk through the door to land in a black background with a loading window designating "Kownloon 5F".
Disc 3/QSFA : The AREA in Debug Menu 1 of the US and Game Jam prototype loads outside of the intended area. In the US version, once you reach the selected location, the game loads again another environment (the AREA next to this area). In the Game Jam prototype, double loading does not exist. It is possible to walk in "Thousand White Qr." without collision (crossing walls) and without NPC. Once in the correct area, "Former Barracks", the game will proceed normally again.
New playable areas
Comparisons were made with the prototype of Shenmue II US. This may not necessarily be absolute; differences may be due to location.
The differences in the video scenes:
The developers of AM2 were never satisfied with the final rendering of the scenes during the development of Shenmue 2, regularly changing the shots of the animations. They were looking for perfection, something they got in the end. Some camera shots are missing, often the close-ups. Sequences are shorter. You have to have the eye to see it. Here are some comparative examples:
Comparative video (DISC 1/0004
Disc 1/0004 (Opening scene of Ryo arriving by ship in Hong Kong) : The color of the water is gray, not blue. The animation of the plane flying in the sky is not set up like the smoke billowing from the ship's smokestack or the wake the ship is expected to leave behind (same for the scene at the start of disc 4). The model used for small boats is the wrong one, it's the same boat that we find at the beginning of disc 4, when Ryo arrives in Guilin. There are less, as well. Ryo is placed in another place on the Titanic. In the prototype, we can see small rudimentary sailboats; they were removed in the final version. The credits do not scroll during this scene.
Comparative video (DISC 2/WBKK)
Disc 2/WBBK (Opening scene of Disc 2 when Ryo has to put away the piles of books in the yard : The camera does not zoom in and does not show the whole room with the shelves of books. The book above the stack of books is a different color. The prototype scene is shorter. During the QTE phase, when Ryo is transporting the books, the doors of the bookstore are not there.
Disc 2/BKW0 (Scene in front of the martial arts school) : The camera is fixed and distant. It does not zoom into the NPC's face.
Disc 2/ABLB (Beverly Hills entrance scene with guards. A showdown with the radio punk will ensue) . Before you can enter Beverly Hills, you must present a lighter to the guard. In this scene, the non-player character is holding the lighter in a different way than usual.
Comparative video (DISC 2/WBWo)
Unfinished Helicopter (DISC 3/0275)
Prototype Game Jam
Unfinished piece (DISC 3/0277)
Disc 3/QBAA (Scene of Ryo and Ren entering the herb store, Great View Herbs) : The door to this room should be wood, not metal like in the Game Jam prototype. Once inside the room, however, it is made of wood. The name of the herbal medicine store has changed between the 2 versions. The establishment is called "Great View Herd Medicine", changed to "Great View Herbs" on the US version.
Disc 3/0278 (Final scene of Disc 3 when Ryo says goodbye to Lishao : Ryo puts his backpack down at the temple entrance (at 17 seconds). He removes his backpack normally later (at 1:49 ). On the other hand, he picks up his backpack at the same time and in the same place between the 2 versions. On this prototype of Shenmue 2, the sky is slightly cloudy. Once the cutscene is over, the game warns that we have finished the disc 1 whereas it is disc 3. The message asking to change GD-ROM is on a basic black background and not with an artwork.
Comparative video (DISC 3/0278)
Disc 3/0308 (Scene in Ren's Hideout with Wong, Ryo, Joy and Ren looking at a plan to break into Yellow Head Bldg.) : Camera freezes and doesn't know what to do at the end from the scene.
Disc 3/0276 (Scene of Yuanda Zhu sitting at the table in Ren's Hideout. Everyone is there. There is a flashback of Lan Di) : When Yuanda Zhu pulls out his pipe to smoke, it is already lit. In principle, he lights it a few seconds later with a match. The map of China showing Guilin is incorrect: the kanji in the circle at the bottom right means "Provisional".
Comparative video (DISC 3/0362)