E3: “Shenmue III” backers demand refunds after Epic Game Store exclusivity announcement

During the E3 2019 PC Gaming Press Conference, publisher Deep Silver and developer Ys Net have confirmed Shenmue III is going to be exclusive to the Epic Games Store on Windows PC. That may come as a surprise to Valve, as the Shenmue III Steam page is still live at the time of this writing and backers of the original Kickstarter campaign were promised fulfillment through Steam in exchange for their support.

According to the most recent Kickstarter update:

“We are happy to announce that Shenmue III for PC will be will be an Epic Games Store exclusive. Development for Shenmue III has been moving forward using Unreal Engine and the support we have received from Epic has been excellent. But most importantly, in looking for the most enjoyable experience on PC, it was decided together with Deep Silver after much discussion that the Epic Games Store would be the best distribution platform option.”

The Shenmue III team also revealed a new trailer during the E3 PC Gaming conference, which you can watch below.

The decision to go Epic exclusive has already disappointed many Shenmue fans, particularly the backers of the original Kickstarter campaign. Not only did the Epic Game Store not exist back when Shenmue III was crowdfunded in 2015, but many PC gamers have criticized Epic’s exclusivity deals citing data security concerns, not wanting to split their gaming library, as well as Epic lacking many features found on other storefronts (including user reviews). Plus, they’ve been promised fulfillment on Steam for years now. Many Shenmue III backers are feeling betrayed due to this announcement, and hundreds have already demanded refunds for their PC copies.

Following a series of development delays, does it seem to anyone else that Ys Net might have needed an extra influx of cash from Epic to finish the game? Going over budget is a Shenmue tradition, after all. Still, it sucks for fans to throw so much financial support behind a project just to have the developer pull a bait-and-switch so late in the game.

Shenmue III is currently scheduled to release for PS4 and PC on 19 November.

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