It seems that the development team for Shenmue I & II had something more ambitious in store, which was later dropped in favor of an approach that was more faithful to the original games. (Thanks, Digital Foundry!)
Bits of footage of Shenmue and Shenmue II remastered with new lighting effects have been revealed, that show off a version of the collection that was likely scrapped in 2017 thanks to budget constraints or concern over changes made. The team who made this version was also behind the Shenmue I & II collection that saw actual release.
The remasters would have had a higher resolution and geometry complexity, modeled textures for things such as roof tiles that were just flat in the original. There would also have been real-time shadows.
Meanwhile, Shenmue II got updated resolution textures, as well as new reflections and shadows. Things such as the Golden Shopping Mall sign have been modeled, and this version uses modern rendering techniques throughout.
It’s unknown how far the remaster of Shenmue and Shenmue II had gotten before the plug was pulled, but was likely a while in but nowhere near complete, as NPCs are seen to have debug features like a ‘Placeholder’ light ring around their head. It’s also unknown how much of this project was based off the original games’ source code.
Here’s a full look at the changes made in motion:
Shenmue I & II is immediately available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in North America and Europe. It will come to the PlayStation 4 in Japan on November 22, 2018.