Shenmue creator and director Yu Suzuki and publisher Deep Silver said the extra time was necessary to polish the game and make sure it meets the high standards fans anticipate. The new release window also means Shenmue 3 will arrive in the original game's 20th anniversary year -- though with no specific date, you might have to wait as long as the 2019 holiday season to get your mitts on it.
Game development is a deeply complex process and delays are common -- Rockstar Games, for instance, pushed back Red Dead Redemption 2 from fall last year to this spring, and again to this October. Kickstarter projects are also notorious for delayed fulfillments, so it seems crowdfunded game development is doubly difficult. The repeated Shenmue 3 delays, though frustrating for fans, do give them a little more time to revisit the first two games, which will be re-released on PS4, Xbox One and PC this year.