After the announcement that Shenmue 3 is launching as an Epic Games Store exclusive, many of the game’s Kickstarter backers are asking for refunds on the grounds that the circumstances under which they pledged money have now changed.
Shenmue 3 was revealed to have become an Epic exclusive at E3’s PC Gaming Show, after which an update was posted by developer Ys Net on its Kickstarter page. Despite the fact it still has a store page on Steam – you can even wishlist it – the update confirms and explains the decision to become an Epic Store exclusive.
“Development for Shenmue 3 has been moving forward using Unreal Engine and the support we have received from Epic has been excellent,” the post reads. “But most importantly, in looking for the most enjoyable experience on PC, it was decided together with [publisher] Deep Silver after much discussion that the Epic Games Store would be the best distribution platform option.”
Many backers have commented on the post expressing anger at this decision, explaining that they backed the campaign on the promise of receiving a Steam key.
Ys Net and Kickstarter support have both commented on this backlash, with Reddit user mirta000 posting their replies. The devs say: “We apologise for the sudden change in platform, however, refunds will not be granted for this change.” You can read the whole message over on Imgur.
Kickstarter’s response effectively throws the blame back on Ys Net and Deep Silver: “we expect creators to fulfill rewards as promised, or issue refunds to backers whose rewards they cannot or do not wish to fulfill. In these situations, we hope that backers and creators can work together to find the best possible solution.” You can read Kickstarter’s full response here.
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Shenmue 3 is the long-awaited third story in a trilogy of open-world action-adventure games. The first Shenmue was released in 1999, making it one of the first open-world games ever. A sequel followed two years later, meaning fans have been waiting over a decade for the final act in the trilogy. When Shenmue 3’s Kickstarter was announced, backers raised over $7 million, smashing the game’s initial target of $2 million. Shenmue 1 and 2 are both still on Steam and available to purchase.