Mafia Wars cited as inspiration for new Shenmue social game

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As much as serious gamers like to brush off Facebook games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars -- usually dismissing them with a wave of the hand, saying 'they're not really games," -- the hard truth is that these so-called 'un-games' are having a major impact on the traditional video game space.

Aside from games like Madden, Assassin's Creed and Dragon Age making the jump to Facebook, Yu Suzuki, the creator of classic video games such as Space Harrier, Outrun, Virtua Fighter and the Shenmue series, says he decided to create a socialized version of Shenmue -- called Shenmue City -- after playing Zynga's text-based role-playing game Mafia Wars on Facebook.

Suzuki says he made the game because he wanted to revisit the world of Shenmue without the monumental investment required to make a full-fledged Shenmue game. Keeping in mind that Suzuki spent $70 million on the original Shenmue for Dreamcast (which was a disappointment sales-wise) it's understandable -- and enlightened even -- that this same guy was willing to create an extension of the franchise without the big budget. And, it's clear that many other developers have been toying with the same idea.

From a larger perspective, we're clearly seeing the beginning of what could be possible with big brands -- household names and otherwise -- on Facebook. And it all points toward what analysts and industry insiders have been saying for the past six months -- we're gearing up for a brand Blitzkrieg on Facebook in 2011. Stay tuned.

[Andriasang Via Kotaku]
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