Shenmue III Unused Dialogue – Ren playable in Bailu?

DISCLAIMER: This screenshot is from a mod of the game which swaps Ryo’s model for Ren’s, not a true depiction of this unused content! But gives you an idea of what it may have looked like. Credit to Dojo member Kaede for the mod and the shot!

NB: I recently posted about this discovery as a thread in the Shenmue Dojo forums, but thought I’d share as a blog post here too!

While recently digging through Shenmue III’s files, I stumbled upon what appears to be dialogue text intended for a scenario where you play as Ren in Bailu Village! Its within the files for the Battle Rally DLC – suggesting that originally there was even more to it besides the Bailu-chan hunt and the rally itself.

You can download the raw .txt file here (its in the game’s folders as a UEXP file but you can open it with Notepad, so I’ve saved it as .txt for easy access), but below you can find my transcription of it, denoting the characters that I believe the dialogue belongs to.
It can be found in the game’s files within the ‘pakchunk2’ PAK file – when unpacked, the path to this file is:

As you’ll see, the dialogue suggests this was a sidequest where Ren is charged with completing various tasks by Mao Meimei, who runs the Prize Exchange in Panda Market, who will then agree to go on a date with Ren if he manages to complete them all. However, things don’t quite go the way Ren would have hoped…

NOTE: Anything in red text are my comments, and I’ve also denoted who I believe is saying each line of dialogue:

Continue reading “Shenmue III Unused Dialogue – Ren playable in Bailu?”

Shenmue III Character Database – Release and making of!

Over the past few months I have been working on a project previously alluded to in other posts – a database providing a definitive list and guide for all of Shenmue III’s characters. Today I am finally ready to release the completed database – you can download it via the link below:

Below, you can read about how I obtained the necessary images/information to complete this project, and some of the challenges along the way – in short, I wouldn’t have been able to if not for the efforts of the fan community in general – as always, our crazed obsessiveness and persistence pays off! As ever I am proud to contribute something to the community and hope you find the database itself and the ‘making of’ I’ve documented of interest! Enjoy…

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Naming Red Snakes

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am currently working on a Shenmue III Character Database project, much like the one I previously released for Shenmue II.

However, a slight issue arose with the names of the Blue Spiders and Red Snakes members, as the game mentions their names but doesn’t make it explicitly clear which is which. Both gangs have a leader whose name is divulged in-game, but both have two henchman who aren’t fully identified by name.

In the previous post I attempted to clear up the confusion around the two Blue Spiders members, Gao and Li, and which one was which – and came to a fairly logical and sound conclusion regarding this.

So now we come to the Red Snakes – the gang that terrorises Niaowu, and responsible for assisting the Chi You Men by transporting Shenhua’s stepfather to them.

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A Tangled Web of (Blue) Spiders

I have written this post, and researched around it, as part of my efforts to create a ‘Shenmue III Character Database’much like the one I previously created for Shenmue II.

Of course, this project has proven far easier to develop in many ways than the one for S2, as in S3 the majority of NPC names are displayed right there on the screen! This means there is no need to chase down guidebooks or translations, as I had to with S2 (which is just as well, as given the game was released in 2019, no official guidebooks for S3 exist – in the 21 year gap between games, it has become the norm just to look it up on the internet if you get stuck)

However, the lack of official materials in regard to character profiles also makes this task harder in some respects. Specifically, in determining the names of characters who only appear in S3’s cutscenes-therefore meaning you are unable to see their names appear on-screen in normal gameplay.

This became problematic when I was trying to determine the names of the members of the Blue Spiders and the Red Snakes – the two gangs that serve as antagonists of the game.

In this post I will cover the naming of the Blue Spiders members – the Red Snakes confusion will come in a future post!

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Mundane Over Magic? (Shenmue III Ending Analysis)


Hey all, sorry it’s been a while! Of course, since I last posted, the release of the long, long-awaited Shenmue III has now been and gone. I have completed the game once, and am now in the midst of my second playthrough on a New Game + save, attempting to mop up the trophies I didn’t get the first time round and achieve that elusive Platinum, as I have already done with the Shenmue I & II re-releases. (Very nearly driving myself insane trying to find all of the herbs in Bailu Village, to which I was very grateful when the trophy finally popped!) . It says a lot about the series, that as with the first two games, it is really the only game in modern times that I have felt compelled to play through again almost immediately after completing it.
Having said that, I am of course aware that feelings are mixed within the Shenmue fan community about the game in general – as there are for myself. I will post an article serving as an in-depth review and my overall thoughts in due course, but for the meantime I wanted to specifically analyse the ending of the game, as in what new information we learn plot-wise, and whether what occurs truly matches with what was hinted at at the end of Shenmue II (AKA the cliffhanger we fans were all left hopelessly dangling from for nearly 20 years).

WARNING: Obviously, as I go on now to discuss the ending of the game, there will be SPOILERS – please do not read any further if you have not yet completed Shenmue III!

Continue reading “Mundane Over Magic? (Shenmue III Ending Analysis)”

The Phantom Teahouse Lady (+other guidebook oddities) – UPDATED 6/11/18 – She’s in the game after all!!

Has Thanos’s wrath reached the Shenmue universe as well…?

UPDATE 6/11/18 – She’s in the game after all!

Well now, don’t I feel a little silly after initially making this post…

So as it turns out, this character is in fact in the final version of Shenmue II after all – however you’d be forgiven for missing her as she only appears at one, very specific point in the game, where you aren’t supposed to be wasting time walking to her shop to talk to her.

But first; to recap – and the TL:DR version of the original post (but please do read the original post below as well – there are other interesting tidbits about the official strategy guides for SII)-

  • In both the Shenmue II Perfect Guidebook and the Shenmue II Complete Guide, there is a profile for a character named ‘Wen Hua Chun’, both books claiming she can be found at the Luck and Virtue Teahouse (in the Tea Break Bldg. in Kowloon)
  • However, if you go to this shop in any version of the game (that is, the JP Dreamcast version, the EU Dreamcast version, the US Xbox version, the EU Xbox version, as well as the recent re-released version for PS4, Xbox One and PC), she is simply not there – there is no shopkeeper to be found at the teahouse at all, in fact.
  • Therefore, this led me to determine her as an ‘unused character’, and I therefore did not include her while working on my ‘Shenmue II Character Database’ project. I also made the below post to talk about this, as well as other outdated/inaccurate information found in the guidebooks.

However – after my recent playthrough through the PS4 update/re-release, I discovered something strange while playing through the ‘Following Yuan’ scenario -(that is, when Ryo and Ren are following the flamboyant Yellow Head member home to rescue Zhu Yuan Da’s man that has been kidnapped)- Hua Chun was at the shop!!

Confused and slightly bewildered, I quickly captured video from the PS4 – and you can see the (admittedly quick and dirty) video below: (the preceding cutscene is to set context and show the exact point in the game where you can find her – you can skip to 1:13 to see Hua Chun)

She doesn’t have too much to say when you talk to her – she’s disappointed that Ryo isn’t stopping to eat, as apparently he would have been ‘the first customer for a while’ (but you can clearly see people sitting at the tables, so perhaps she’s becoming confused in her old age…). She also says it’s one of the oldest shops in the building – an interesting little tidbit.

Maybe you’d get more customers if you were at the shop more often, Hua Chun…

You can’t ask her any of the ‘Money’ related questions, as it is impossible to do so during the ‘Following Yuan’ scenario. However, as you’ll see from reading the original post below, one of the guidebooks claims she can direct you to the pawnshops in Kowloon – but obviously this is not possible here.

So while she technically is still in the game, it would appear to be an error/oversight that she only appears during this part of the game – you can not see her here before or after this point in the game.

So why is this the case? Is it an error in the game’s coding, or something that’s gone wrong with the way NPC’s are generated? I can’t claim to understand the technical side and inner workings of these games, but if anyone familiar with the game’s files etc was able to find a reason and possibly restore her in normal gameplay…

In any case, its an interesting find – something I stumbled upon nearly by accident, as I thought I’d just check the shop during that point in my playthrough as I’d never done so before – and there she was! Proving once again there are still new things to discover in these games, even after playing for the umpteenth time.

Also to clarify – I’ve only witnessed this on the remastered PS4 version so far – but I assume her appearing at this specific point occurs in the Dreamcast and Xbox versions as well (I also switched to English voices to check that she has a dubbed voice, and she does – suggesting she’d be there on the Xbox version too). When I get the chance I will confirm this for sure, unless someone else wants to beat me to it, of course 🙂

I’ve also updated the Shenmue II Character Database with her profile – the download link can be found within this post.

SEE BELOW FOR THE ORIGINAL POST – which also contains some interesting details about Baihu, the lost Tiger Gate Building and another character I initially thought was unused.


So today we will be looking into an unused/seemingly removed character from Shenmue II. This is a particularly strange case, as there doesn’t seem to be any apparent reason for the character’s removal, and her existence is only known due to her inclusion in Japanese guidebooks for the game…

Continue reading “The Phantom Teahouse Lady (+other guidebook oddities) – UPDATED 6/11/18 – She’s in the game after all!!”

Men in Black Mix Up

mib-b and zhou yue
Left: Man in Black Suit B from Shenmue I, Right: Yue Zhou from Shenmue II. But are they the same person?

Apologies it being so long since the last post! Real life has gotten in the way as of late, but be assured there are many ideas for posts in the pipeline. Of course, since my last post, the announcement of Shenmue HD came, at long last – truly a cause for celebration. These are very good times for Shenmue fans, what with the imminent Shenmue IIIand, now, finally, the re-release of the first two games after fans pleading Sega for so long. The third game has now been delayed (again) to 2019, but this should certainly tide us over until then.

Anyway – this post concerns a somewhat confusing situation regarding a certain black-suited member of the Chi You Men. This post is my effort to try and make sense of it, and figure out if two seemingly-identical looking characters featuring in the first two games really are the same person or not…

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Antiquity Trees and Flower Girls: Symbolism in Shenmue (Part 2 of 2)


In Part 1, we discussed the meaning of the name, ‘Shenmue’, the various examples of the meaning being foreshadowed before it’s reveal, as well as how flowers are often used as a symbol within the series. In Part 2, we will be exploring the other trees besides the titular tree of the series, (as well as nature in general) and how they represent Ryo’s character development and growth across the two games.

NOTE: This post will contain plot SPOILERS for both games in the series, so it is highly recommended you only read if you have completed both games. It also assumes you have basic knowledge of the two games and the series in general.

So, trees in Shenmue then. Given what we have learned about the meaning behind the name of the series, it only makes sense there would be other trees besides the all-important titular one outside Shenhua’s house. And we see this almost immediately in the very opening moments of Shenmue I – I refer to of course, the cherry tree outside the Hazuki Dojo; where the Dragon Mirror is buried (before Lan Di takes it, of course).


Now, I’m not sure if there is meant to be any deeper meaning to the Dragon Mirror being hidden under a tree, and the Phoenix Mirror being hidden behind a far more labyrinthine series of secret doors and passageways that lead to the Hazuki Dojo’s basement – but the tree’s narrative importance itself cannot be denied. If the player focuses on the tree the first time they approach the Dojo when first gaining control of Ryo, it triggers a flashback of him as a young boy being trained by his father – at a time the cherry blossoms have bloomed and are falling serenely to the ground. Iwao tells him to ‘find his centre of balance’ – an early indicator of something that becomes a recurring theme throughout the series – Ryo being encouraged to concentrate first instead of acting rashly or wasting his energy. While something merely hinted at here in the first game, this theme becomes far more prevalent in the second game, which we will come to…

Continue reading “Antiquity Trees and Flower Girls: Symbolism in Shenmue (Part 2 of 2)”

Antiquity Trees and Flower Girls: Symbolism in Shenmue (Part 1 of 2)

shenmue tree

NOTE: This post will contain plot SPOILERS for both games in the series, so it is highly recommended you only read if you have completed both games. It also assumes you have basic knowledge of the two games and the series in general.

As all fans of the series will know, towards the end of Shenmue II’s Guilin scenario (Disc 4 of the Dreamcast version), there is a pretty significant plot reveal – namely, that ‘Shenmue’ is actually the tree outside Shenhua’s house in Bailu Village, and that she herself is named after the flower of the tree. I remember being surprised by this reveal on my first playthrough of the game – it works so well because I had never really thought to question what ‘Shenmue’ meant before that point, or even if it was relevant within the series’ own story and mythology. And obviously for any players who had been eagerly awaiting an explanation, I expect it would have been satisfying for them as well. The other really great and clever thing about it is that there are actually several hints and foreshadowing to this reveal before this point – some admittedly not within the main narrative, but they are there nonetheless – and there are many examples of trees and nature being used as symbolism before Ryo even sets foot in Guilin – which I will be exploring in this post.

Continue reading “Antiquity Trees and Flower Girls: Symbolism in Shenmue (Part 1 of 2)”

The Shenmue II Character Database


More substantial content will be coming, I can assure you; but I just wanted to share on here a project I completed in 2012 (but had been working on since about 2003!) – the Shenmue II Character Database , which compiles profiles on every single character in Shenmue II – a lot of this information was previously only available in Japanese guidebooks, and it took a lot of effort and collaboration with others in the fan community to translate and put all of this information together. I hope you’ll agree the end result was worth it! I’ll likely be referring back to this database as I dig into the trivia and little known facts about Shenmue II’s characters in future posts on the blog 😉

You can download the database here (also includes scans from the Shenmue II Perfect Guidebook)

It is also available to view online, many thanks to Giorgio of the Shenmue Dojo for providing this:

Below you can read a little history and background on the project and how it came about (originally written in 2012 – before the shock announcement of Shenmue III). I’m sure you’ll agree it is a testament to just how dedicated and persistent this crazy ol’ fanbase is! Enjoy…

Continue reading “The Shenmue II Character Database”