With the successful Kickstarter for a Shenmue 3, a lot of people have been asking for the original games to be released on current systems. Sega Europe community manager Dan Sheridan recently, when asked about a Shenmue 1 and 2 HD, gave slight hope to those wanting these games re-released.
Dan Sheridan said :
With regards to Shenmue 1 and 2 HD, of course we would love to release these tomorrow. Sadly it's not as simple as ported the games to the current platforms as we would need to ensure that any HD remaster lived up to the quality of the original titles, and with games as immersive as Shenmue 1 and 2 there are further complications with licensed products that were included in the original games.
The Japanese version of the game included Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite branding which were changed to fake products like Jet Cola for the Western releases. He went on to say,
That said, we'd love to do it and are currently investigating how to make it a reality.
It seems SEGA are thinking about bringing an HD version of Shenmue 1 and 2 to current platforms, but are unsure if it will be worth it to do the extra work due to past branding deals. Even though it is only a sliver of hope, fans will at least be happy that SEGA is looking into a possible re-release.
Shenmue was originally released in 1999 for the SEGA Dreamcast. It sold 1.2 million copies and went on to be the fourth best-selling game on the system. Despite this, it was still a commercial failure due to its enormous development costs as it was the most expensive game to develop at that time. This contributed to SEGA's exit from the video game console market.
Last year it was announced at E3 that Shenmue 3 was in development and a Kickstarter was launched. With the 3rd installment expected to be released in 2017, you'd think it would be a prime time for SEGA to re-release the first two games in the franchise. It seems SEGA are currently weighing up if it would be worth the work needed.
The section where Dan Sheridan talks about Shenmue can be seen below.https://youtu.be/elvoX2kb2X0?t=1m54s