Shenmue 2’s first prototype lets players control Yu Suzuki

As video game consoles have become less dependent on physical media, the chances of finding an early version of a modern game have become somewhat rare. By the turn of the century, however, developers were regularly showcasing early or incomplete copies of their games at events and trade shows all over the world, and the discs they used to make sometimes made their way into the mainstream. nature.

These early versions are often highly sought after by fans, not only for their sentimental value, but also for some of the elements they feature, many of which don’t end up making it into the final version. This was exactly the case with a Shen Mue 2 Dreamcast prototype that was used in the Game Jam 2001 event, which has several unique features, including a rather unusual one related to the series’ legendary Japanese game creator, Yu Suzuki.


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By modifying a single line of code using software called Cheat Engine, the prototype allows players to swap out the game’s main protagonist, Ryo Hazuki, with a fully rigged model of Yu Suzuki. Players will then be able to play the entire game while controlling the veteran developer, which can lead to some incredibly fun results.

The prototype in question, which has since been dubbed the Yu Suzuki build, for obvious reasons, was purchased at Yahoo Auctions in March for ¥301,000, which equates to just over $2,300. The winning bidder was SkillJim, the co-owner of the popular Shen Mue fan site, Shenmue Dojo, which along with other members of the Shen Mue community, has spent the last few months exploring and unlocking the secrets hidden within the prototype’s four discs.

Along with being able to play as Yu Suzuki, the team also found a way to spawn in bikes using the game’s debug menu. This is somewhat significant, because even though both Shen Mue and Shen Mue 2 were to include usable bikes at some point, the feature was removed from both games prior to release. Whether there are any more secrets yet to be uncovered remains to be seen, but with GD-ROMs now available to the public, fans of the series shouldn’t wait too long to find out.

As to who owned the prototype before it fell into SkillJim’s hands, and why they waited over two decades to release it, fans will likely never know. This sort of thing is pretty common though, although the differences here are a bit more noticeable than in other examples. Just last week, a very early version of Duke Nukem forever leaked online, while the prototype of an unreleased N64 game called The Adventure of Carnivale Cenzo was made available to the public in March.

MORE: The Best Yu Suzuki Games, Ranked

Sources: Yahoo Auctions, Information about Sega Dreamcast

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