Shenmue 3 official but early artwork for Shenhua

Back in 2015, long before the Epic Games Store was even a thing, Shenmue 3 was Kickstarted with the promise that backers would either receive a PlayStation 4 copy or a PC key. While a Steam key was not mentioned during the campaign itself, a follow-up email (including one that arrived relatively recently) explicitly stated that the PC version will be coming via Steam. As it turns out, that is now no longer true as Shenmue 3 has officially become an Epic Games Store exclusive on PC.

"Development for Shenmue III has been moving forward using Unreal Engine and the support we have received from Epic has been excellent," reads the official update. "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."

As you might imagine given the sudden shift, the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter page has ended up getting flooded with negative feedback. Things escalated even further once it was discovered that Ys Net is not offering refunds, and that Kickstarter is unable to do anything about it. Long story short, it's a bit of a mess!

While I personally don't hate the Epic Games Store with a burning passion like some of the comments, I do have to side with the backers here. They were promised one thing while the project was small and uncertain, but now that it has grown large and received a big influx of money, the original plans have suddenly changed and the backers are being ignored. 

So while I can understand the backers being angry about being lied to, I must admit I don't quite get Ys Net's actions here. Surely they could just give out a few hundred refunds and avoid this entire PR mess? Or better yet, just give out Steam keys to those that have 'pre-ordered' like the Metro devs did a while back and avoid any sort of commotion? Sure, some people would still complain about the Epic Games Store exclusivity, but it would certainly be a lot fewer angry people if everything was done 'by the book'.

I can only hope this whole situation will end up getting resolved in a way that leaves everyone happy. After all, we're actually getting a new Shenmue game! That should be what everyone's talking about, not any sort of behind-the-scenes nonsense.

Whatever the future may bring, I'll leave you for now with the recently posted E3 trailer. Enjoy!