Sega’s trademark for the Shenmue franchise listed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office has been cancelled due to inactivity. The official reason is as follows: “Registration cancelled because registrant did not file an acceptable declaration under Section 8.”
So, since Sega has done nothing with the Shenmue franchise for over a decade, the trademark was dropped in the US. However, if Sega wants to use the Shenmue trademark in America in the future they can reapply for it. The chances of that happening seem to be getting slimmer and slimmer, though.
The Shenmue franchise hasn’t had a release since 2001’s Shenmue II on Sega Dreamcast and its 2002 Xbox port. There have been rumors for years now about a possible third game being made, but nothing has ever come to fruition. There was even talk that there were HD remasters of the first two games coming out that might have sparked some renewed interest in the series, but even that was years ago.
Condemn OR Condone: The Shenmue series is one I hold near and dear to my heart, so it really sucks to see the chances of a third game happen dwindle. The series was phenomenal and revolutionary, but it just didn’t catch on enough to account for its huge budget. I would love it if they rereleased the first two games, if only just to bring them back into the public eye. The Shenmue fan base is a very passionate group of people, and just having a rerelease of the first 2 games would make us thrilled at this point.