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Sega's  Shenmue  social mobile experiment closes

Sega's Shenmue social mobile experiment closes

January 3, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Sunsoft and Ys Net have shuttered Shenmue Town, the Japanese free-to-play mobile social game based on Sega and Yu Suzuki's cult series, just a year after its launch.

Released on the Japan-only Yahoo! Mobage service, the game was a spin-off of Sega AM2's divisive Shenmue series on Dreamcast and the original Xbox, which developed a devoted following but was considered a commercial failure.

The game's termination so soon after its debut may jeopardize the chances of future entries for the troubled franchise -- which has already seen two projects, Shenmue III and PC MMORPG Shenmue Online, suspended indefinitely.

Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki served as the producer and director for the Ys Net-developed social game, and Sega also supervised the Sunsoft-published title. It was the first new release for the open world adventure franchise since 2001.

Suzuki previously described Shenmue's storyline as "an incomplete work," and said there is more to the saga that occurs after Shenmue II that he hoped to one day explore if Shenmue Town was successful.

"While I can't make any promises at present, if Shenmue Town is loved by users, and if service for the game continues, I believe we'll be able to deliver those through version ups and so forth," he said, according to a report from Andriasang.

"The feeling of incompleteness is something that I feel strongest. If I have a chance to do it, I'd like to realize this for fans, regardless of what form it takes. If service continues, I believe we'll be able to share [the rest of the story] at some point in some form."

Ys Net posted a brief note on Shenmue Town's site announcing the game's closure and thanking players for their loyalty, but it did not cite any reasons for the cancellation.

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