The Case For: Ryo Hazuki


The following is an opinion article and should be treated as such.

Character Background:
Ryo Hazuki is the main protagonist of SEGA’s RPG Dreamcast hit: Shenmue, its sequel Shenmue 2, which was later ported to the original Xbox. He will be making his grand return in the upcoming Shenmue 3.

Beyond Shenmue, Ryo has gone on to appear in numerous SEGA cross-overs, these include: Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, where he distinguishes himself as the only character to feature two different vehicle options. As well as its sequel: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed as a DLC character using an arcade-machine for his vehicle.

In perhaps his most bizarre appearance, Ryo along with several other SEGA characters appears in  ESPN NFL Football as a free agent. Most recently Ryo appeared in Project X Zone 2 as a solo unit.

Reasons for Inclusion:

Shenmue’s influence can perhaps never be understated. Its lingering effects can still be felt on the gaming industry to this day. A game that was hugely advanced for its time, it integrated systems for day-and-night and varying weather conditions. It also featured a host of non-playable characters that adhered to schedules and were fully interactive. It is furthermore credited with having popularised the quick-time-action mechanic. It even pre-dated Grand Theft Auto 3 as the original open-world game.

Beyond the importance Shenmue has not only with SEGA, but gaming as a whole Ryo has a lot to offer any fighting game thanks to his unique character background and fighting abilitiy. Ryo’s story begins on his 18th birthday. When he embarks on a journey to confront Lan-Di, the man who killed his father in order to get to the Dragon Mirror.

Ryo is proficient in Martial Arts, having studied the art of Jujitsu under his father since the age of 7 years old. Ryo’s extensive Martial Arts training have made him very strong, both mentally and physically. He is often able to defeat several skilled fighters or dangerous assailants at a time.

SEGA’s relationship with Nintendo is significant also. Considering both Sonic The Hedgehog and SEGA-owned Bayonetta have already appeared as playable characters in Smash Bros, it means less difficulty in licensing and creating the character. At least compared with some other Third Party candidates.

Perhaps most key is Ryo’s resurgence and revival into the limelight. The long awaited Shenmue III was announced at E3 in 2015, with a Kickstarter campaign launching shortly thereafter. Shenmue III met its initial $2 million goal in less than 8 hours, and went on to receive over $6.3 million. It is now the most successful and highest funded video-game related Kickstarter of all time, thrashing even the likes of Shovel Knight and Yooka-Laylee.
Reasons for Exclusion:
Ryo’s biggest issue perhaps lies in the platforms his games have appeared on. None of the main-series Shenmue games have ever seen the light of day on a Nintendo system, or will any time soon. This means that Nintendo fans have only ever experienced this character through his spin-off appearances in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and Project X Zone 2.

Another issue is that despite Shenmue doing extremely well in terms of sales (1.2 million copies, and fourth best selling Dreamcast game overall), its extremely high budget for the time meant that the game lost a colossal amount of money. Every Dreamcast owner would have had to have bought the first game twice in order for SEGA to turn a profit.

Smash Bros. features some of the best music from each series that graces it. Shenmue would be no exception. Here is a track that would have to feature should Ryo ever find his way into the fray.

What do you think? Would you like to see Ryo Hazuki fight in Smash Bros.? Let us know in the comments!

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From jolly old England, TheAnvil has a passion for video games that dates so far back it precedes his memory. His passion lies particularly and devoutly with Rare and Nintendo. He also creates a lot of sprites.
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  1. “Ryo’s biggest issue perhaps lies in the platforms his games have appeared on. None of the main-series Shenmue games have ever seen the light of day on a Nintendo system, or will any time soon. This means that Nintendo fans have only ever experienced this character through his spin-off appearances in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and Project X Zone 2.”

    That doesn’t really seem like a big issue to me at all. I mean, Cloud is in the same boat, right? Final Fantasy 7 has of yet to be playable on Nintendo hardware and he’s only made appearances through cameos in games like Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and Theatrhythm.

    Sakurai’s already stated in the past that having appearances on Nintendo consoles isn’t a strict requirement, it’s just more of a “courtesy”.

  2. If nothing else, Ryo should totally have a Mii Costume. Then I could finally have him fight with Akira.

    I’m pretty doubtful of Shenmue holding the title for original open-world game, as plenty of earlier attempts at extremely large, simulated worlds exist. Though they often relied on things like computer generation and other nonsense. Earliest entirely HAND CRAFTED one for sure though.

  3. If u guys do the case of in the future, can u do it these three characters,
    Yuri Lowell- Tales of Vesperia
    Strider Hiryu- Strider series
    Segata Sanshiro- Sega’s commercial

    1. You could always write one yourself and submit it as a guest article. Just make sure you do the research and give valid reasons for why those characters should or shouldn’t be included.

  4. To be honest, I strongly doubt that Ryo even have his chance to join Smash. Not just because none of his main games weren’t released in a Nintendo platform, and that’s no longer a case anymore. Cloud was able to break that case, which possibly Sakurai can add another Non-Nintendo related third party in the future.

    However, the only reason that I could think of is his moveset difficulties. Sega’s fighting game is similar to Bandai Namco’s style. Unlike Capcom’s basic 2D-style command inputting fighting games, 3D-style fighting games are mostly focused on making combos than inputting commands, and thinking of a moveset for Smash from that system can be difficult to create one, as some of them may not be so iconic. Tekken’s Heihachi had that similar problem as he was declined due to his difficulties on movesets, and that’s what Sakurai has already explained about. Of course, that point can be changed if there was a way, but at this rate, I think its impossible.

  5. If the next Smash game is a full-on crossover in the vein of Project X Zone, then Ryo makes a ton of sense. Otherwise, he doesn’t have the prestige or popularity with Smash fans that are required for a guest character.

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