Voice actors Eric Kelso and Paul Lucas worked with the Shenmue Dojo to make it happen.
It ᴛᴏok a ʟᴏɴɢ tiᴍᴇ ꜰᴏʀ Sʜᴇnmue 3 ᴛᴏ ʜᴀᴘᴘᴇɴ, ʙᴜᴛ ɪᴛ ᴛᴜʀɴed ᴏᴜᴛ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴍᴏsᴛly wᴏʀth tʜᴇ waɪᴛ. "A sᴇᴀmʟᴇss cᴏɴtɪɴuᴀᴛiᴏɴ ᴏꜰ tʜᴇ series thᴀᴛ ᴍᴀᴋᴇs ᴜᴘ ꜰᴏʀ ɪᴛs limɪᴛᴀᴛiᴏɴs wɪᴛh pure ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ" ɪs ʜᴏᴡ ᴡᴇ descriʙᴇd ɪᴛ ɪɴ ᴏᴜʀ 83% reᴠɪᴇᴡ. It wᴀsn't quɪᴛe perfectly sᴇᴀmʟᴇss, ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜ: Cᴏʀey Marshᴀʟʟ reᴛᴜʀɴed ᴛᴏ voɪᴄᴇ ʟᴇᴀᴅ charᴀᴄᴛer Ryo Hazuki, ʙᴜᴛ mᴀɴy otʜᴇr ᴀᴄᴛᴏʀs did ɴᴏt, ᴀɴd sᴏᴍᴇ fᴀɴs ɴᴏtɪᴄᴇd.
That issue has now been at least partially corrected thanks to a new mod that brings back voice actors Erik Kelso and Paul Lucas to reprise the roles they played in previous games: Kelso portrayed Ryo's friend Wuying Ren in Shenmue 2—he was replaced by Greg Chun—while Lucas voiced the villainous Lan Di in Shenmue 1 and 2, a role that went to Kyle McCarley in Shenmue 3.
Kelso confirmed in an email that it is actually his voice that players hear in the mod—and, interestingly, that he didn't get paid for the work.
"ShenmueDojo and I spent the last six months doing it and it was all voluntary, just for the love of Shenmue and the Shenmue family," he said. "Definitely fun to play Ren again!"
The Shenmue 3 Ren/Lan Di voice mod is available from the Shenmue Dojo. Get a closer look at Kelso's in-game performance below.