Shenmue designer Yu Suzuki says the concept for Shenmue 3 "already exists".
He told 1UP in an interview: "The concept for Shenmue 3 already exists, so... The world of Shenmue 1 and 2 expanded outward. But Shenmue 3 doesn't expand outward, but inward.
"A lot of the dialogue is used for the main character and especially dialogue with Shenhua. They talk about a lot of different, deeper things. For example, and I can't say too much, but here's an example.
"This is not actually in the game, but as an example to give you an idea of what I mean by deeper dialogue, when Shenhua and Ryo are at home, Shenhua will ask Ryo if he would like to drink tea or coffee and the player will select one or the other.
"Or, Shenhua will ask Ryo a hypothetical question like: 'There are four animals; a monkey, cat, dog and bird. You are crossing the river but you need to leave one behind. Which one will you leave behind?' And the player has to choose one."
Suzuki also told the site that he'd wanted to make Shenmue 3 right after Shenmue 2, but that Sega management felt sales of the series weren't strong enough.
Last month, Sega West CEO Mike Hayes said of the possibility of a Shenmue 3 release: "Never say never."
Yu Suzuki's latest project is Shenmue City, a mobile and browser-based spin-off game that recently released in Japan.