Leaving the Cave? | Analysis of a New Shenmue III Image
Today we analyze an image from Shenmue III that was displayed on a monitor in a photo posted recently by Haruka Terui to her personal blog. Haruka will be voicing Shenhua in Shenmue III, as announced earlier this month in a Kickstarter Update:

The image in question appears on the monitor screen in the photo below, which shows Haruka together with Masaya Matsukaze, who continues in his role as Ryo Hazuki in the third game. (Based on a comparison with the photos contained in the earlier Kickstarter Update, this photo was taken at the same recording session).

Masaya Matuskaze (left) and Haruka Terui (right), the voices for Ryo Hazuki and Shenhua Ling in Shenmue III.

Let's take a closer look at what's shown on the monitor and some of the main points of interest that can be identified:

Close-up of the image shown on the monitor at the studio.

  • Most obviously, the distinct jeans & white sneakers identify Ryo as he stands facing away from the camera, and it is a safe assumption that the figure behind him is Shenhua. Regarding what can be seen of Shenhua's clothing, it looks to be part of the outfit seen in the Gamescom 2017 teaser video. (Although seemingly inconsistent with the long dress seen in Shenmue II, these images are work-in-progress, and so it is entirely possible that her costume will undergo further changes before the game's release).

A comparison of Shenhua's outfit in Shenmue II (left) vs the teaser shown at Gamescom 2017.

  • The setting can be recognized as somewhere in the underground caves at the Stone Pit. We see various wooden pillars and struts supporting the roof, cables or ropes, and a burning torch on the wall ahead of where Ryo is standing; paving the ground are stone slabs. These same elements were also seen in the Gamescom teaser, in the clip that recreates Ryo and Shenhua's discovery of the mirror carvings on the wall of the large cavern.
  • Based on these similarities, I believe the image shows Ryo about to lead Shenhua out of the large cavern, and along the torch-illuminated tunnel towards the exit.

The monitor image (left) shares a close resemblance to part of a scene from the Gamescom teaser video (right).

Index Numbers

Another small detail in the image is the presence of an identifier of some sort ("M02_s0001") in the top-right corner for the cut scene being recorded. Similar numbers were present in a couple of other photos from the same recording session in Kickstarter Update #82, as circled below:

Index numbers can also be seen in some of the other photos.

The image on the left appears to be part of the Dragon mirror carved into the wall of the cave, and matches the number shown on the previous image i.e. "M02_s0001", placing it as part of the same section of cut scene.

The image on the right, which shows the scene from the Gamescom trailer where Ryo and Shenhua are outside near a river and looking toward Bailu village, has a larger number: "M03_S0001".

The numbering sequence suggests the existence of an earlier "M01" cut scene - perhaps in this one Ryo and Shenhua are shown entering the Stone Pit?

Also of interest is the timestamp reading on the last image (4 minutes and 8 seconds). Could this represent the length of time for an introductory cut scene showing Ryo and Shenhua leaving the cave?

On these last points we may have to wait for the game to find out.  How do you interpret them? 

Photo source: Haruka Terui's blog post (Japanese)

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