A crowdfunded game has announced that it will now release as an Epic Games Store timed exclusive, and its backers are in an uproar.
Outer Wilds is an indie game that has been in development for quite some time. Initially announced on the crowdfunding site fig.co, it reached its funding goal of $125,000 in September of 2015 and aimed for a release date of around the second half of 2016.
It missed that window by a good three years, so backers are understandably a little on edge already.
But things have gotten much worse with the most recent announcement from developers Mobius Digital. On May 10th, an update on the game’s status revealed that it was getting extremely close to shipping and revealed a 10-minute gameplay trailer. It also announced that Outer Wilds would launch on Xbox One and the Epic Games Store as a timed Epic exclusive.
"Outer Wilds will first be released on XBox One and on PC via the Epic Games Store, with additional platforms coming later,” read the update. “Rest assured that we read all of your comments and our goal is to bring the game to your preferred platform as quickly as possible."
Initially, the game was slated to release on Mac, Linux, Steam. The sudden switch to Epic without prior warning has been internalized by many backers as a breach of trust, with many of the comments replying to the update expressing rage and frustration.
"Mobius Digital has betrayed my trust, which I have firmly held from 2015 to today,” reads one backer’s angry reply. “It blatantly betrayed my trust by complying with a predatory company hellbent on raping the consumer for their money. I have requested a refund and will refrain from purchasing any products that this company releases.”
Others mirrored this sentiment, saying they were “deeply disappointed,” “very disappointed,” or simply that “this isn’t okay.”
Already hostile to Epic’s policy of grabbing exclusives whether or not the game had already sold itself as being released on Steam, the PC gaming subreddit is also expressing outrage at this latest example of Epic’s predatory behavior. One thread suggests that all future crowdfunded PC games will need to answer the question of whether or not they’ll go to Epic if offered a big bag of cash so that backers can make an informed decision.
In the meantime, Outer Wilds backers are requesting refunds, although it's doubtful to change its Epic exclusivity deal.