A core component of In Ryo’s Footsteps 2 that I am endeavoring to show is how much the community surrounding Shenmue expresses itself to demonstrate how much the franchise meant, and still means to them.
I feel like I created an issue with inaccessibility by not addressing what Shenmue 2 actually was at the beginning of the first film. I just assumed people knew what Shenmue was and simply talked in a way that would imply that. The dialogue I wrote for the next film was carefully worded to foster an environment of learning that gives people who may not be immediately familiar with Shenmue a solid enough grounding in the source material to appreciate the subject matter more.
This was actually very difficult to achieve as I had to consider how to encapsulate the core thematic of Shenmue into a very short sequence so we could move on to the bulk of the film. It took us a while to reconfigure the opening of the film to accommodate this. In addition to this, the development of the film has been rather fluid. As we are not at the behest of a studio, we could wait for submissions. These submissions make up a very important component of the next film, however I don’t want to get into too much detail about them as to leave some mystery to proceedings.
One of the members of the community to submit an entry was actually a British comedian named Imran Yusuf. He is a huge fan of Shenmue, having fallen in love with the series when he was working at Midway Games in the late ’90s. It was incredibly exciting to have him show interest in the film and getting to sit down and talk to someone I used to watch on TV has been a very wonderful experience.
Returning to the nature of accessibility I wanted to instill in the next film, I wanted In Ryo’s Footsteps 2 to be far more dynamic and visually interesting than the last film. While I enjoyed making it, every time I watch it, I notice many, many deficiencies. One of these is that it just isn’t very visually interesting.
I am attempting to overcome this by employing more creativity in the editing process. For instance, the credits sequence for the film has become a passion project all of its own. I got the idea while in Japan to create an homage to classic credits sequences of the 1980s to create something more poignant and interesting than a black screen with text.
The reason I have been so insistent on meticulously recreating these credit sequences in the next film is that it was shot on the final day we were in Japan. I miss that country with all of my heart, and when looking back on that footage, it fills me with nostalgic wonder at what I experienced while I was there. I want this to be reflected in the dreamlike, playful sequence that plays out like my memories.
Actual progress on the editing comes in fits and starts. It’s not stalled, but Simon and I need to find time around our busy lives to actually dedicate an entire day to editing. It’s difficult when it isn’t your job to find time to do this, and also write articles and reviews and live your life. We make it a high priority though, don’t worry about that. We’re aiming for a February or March release for the next film, as we want it to be as polished as possible before we release it.
As we make more progress I will update you again.