Sumo Digital is currently sitting on a big, bubbling cauldron of vintage Sega. The Sheffield-based studio's latest project is Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed, a glorious mish-mash of boat, kart and plane racing which unfolds on tracks adapted from classic Sega franchises. Sumo's work on the All-Stars series has equipped it with a unique understanding of Sega's past and present direction, and executive producer Steve Lycett has a few words of wisdom for Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki in particular.
"I'm most interested in this crowd-funding idea at the moment," Lycett told OXM during a fascinating interview. "It's almost a shift away from publishers in a way, if fans are prepared to pay for something, you can basically fund just about anything.
"I'm going to say this now," he continued, "and feel free to print this because this'll be a hilarious one that Sega will have to worry about, but I don't know why Yu Suzuki doesn't put Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter. That would be a very interesting thing to watch."
"I'd put money on that!" chipped in fellow Sumo man Gareth Wilson, formerly of much-missed Bizarre Creations.
New to Kickstarter? It's a web service which lets you solicit donations for unfunded projects and enterprises. Double Fine caused a bit of a splash in January, receiving millions of dollars for work on an unannounced PC adventure game. Since then, new Kickstarter campaigns for game projects have become an all but daily occurrence.
New to Shenmue? It's one of gaming's greatest sandbox action series, debuting on the Dreamcast in 1999. The threequel has become all but synonymous with vapourware, announced twice and cancelled twice over the past 10 years. Now employed at YsNet studio, Suzuki has suggested he may be able to acquire the license from Sega.
But is Kickstarter a reliable resource, or was Double Fine's breakthrough a fluke? We asked Remedy Software's Oskari Häkkinen what he thought shortly before the launch of Alan Wake's American Nightmare. "It's pretty phenomenal," Häkkinen enthused. "We've been laughing about it at the office. It's a great move, great move for them, and such a cool idea."
He expressed doubts, however, as to whether other developers could repeat the trick. "I think that they were the pioneers with this, and everything afterwards is going to feel like a copycat, and yes, they have such a massive following for the types of games they make.
"Obviously a lot of that is coming through them, but seeing the power of that it's... I don't know. It's a very good question. Maybe some other industries could do it. This has got so much visibility now that I'm not sure another game company could do a similar stunt."
Ball's in your court, Sega.