Sega Europe revealed recently that Shenmue I & II were being considered for re-releases even before Shenmue III’s Kickstarter reveal. However, it was Shenmue III’s Kickstarter success that directly led to the green-lighting of the compilation. [Thanks, IGN!]
According to Sega Europe’s executive vice president of publishing John Clark, Sega Europe saw the talk surrounding the announcement of Shenmue III, and it gave Sega Europe the leverage to push the project forward. However, Clark also believes that re-releases were probably inevitable sooner or later, due to a general increase in desire for more Japanese content.
The trend in re-releases for Sega started with Valkyria Chronicles on PC, which was successful enough for console re-releases. That triggered renewed interest in Sega Japan’s titles with a bigger audience in the West than before, and this influenced Sega Japan to greenlight the re-release of Shenmue I & II.
Finally, the reason why the project took so long to come together was due to various contractual reasons, such as with voice actors, and other elements that had to be sorted out.
Shenmue I & II will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC worldwide in 2018.