Shenmue 3 Confirmed as Epic Store Exclusive, Kickstarter Backers Not Happy
Update: Sources have told PC Gamer that "the developer is 'looking into it'" The publication was also told that while Deep Silver is publishing Shenmue 3, it "joined the project long after the KickStarter was set up and therefore isn't in a position to comment on the actions as we are not involved in that side of the project."
Currently, Shenmue 3 will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store for one year.
Original story: Since its launch last year, the Epic Games Store has steadily gobbled up timed exclusives, including Metro Exodus, The Outer Wilds, and The Division 2. Now it's time to add Shenmue 3 to the list.
Following the PC Gaming Show at E3 2019, where new Shenmue 3 gameplay was revealed, Ys Net, the game's developer, confirmed that the JRPG would be exclusive to the EGS. Both physical and digital PC copies of the game will now come with an Epic Games key instead of a Steam key.
Some watching the show, including myself and a colleague, noticed the absence of the Steam logo from the end of the trailer above, leading us to speculate that the game might be yet another timed exclusive on PC.
As short-lived as that speculation was, so too was the understanding of those who had backed the project on Kickstarter. The comments on both the official exclusivity announcement and Twitter have been less than amicable.
To rub salt into the wound, it appears that the "Shenmue III Team" is refusing to provide disgruntled backers refunds. Some of those unhappy with the move to the EGS have shared screenshots of their correspondence with the game's support team regarding refunds, confirming that refunds are not being issued at this time.
As pointed out on Twitter by Segalization, it seems the shift from Steam to the Epic Games Store was done relatively recently. Comparing the most recent update blog on the game's Kickstarter page (date June 10) to the update blog before it (dated June 4), changes can be clearly seen.
In the Additional Info section of the June 4 blog, it says that Shenmue 3 "requires Steam Client to activate." However, the same section in the June 10 blog post says that the game "requires Epic Games Store Client to activate."
While at this point it's impossible to know when negotiations between Deep Silver, the game's publisher, and Epic Games began or what ultimately drove the change outside of the official statement, we do know that it appears the final decision to move storefronts was made sometime over the last six days.
However, as with many other EGS exclusives, it appears that Shenmue 3 won't stay that way forever. Taking a look at the game's official FAQ, the developers say it will release on Steam "in the future." However, no specific date is provided.
Shenmue 3 was originally slated for release in August on PS4 and PC. However, it was recently delayed to provide what the developers said are "refinement." The game is not set to release on November 19. The standard version will cost $49.99, while the Deluxe version will cost $64.98.