To say that the development of Shenmue III has been problematic would be a drastic understatement. Now, there is one more issue to pile onto the rest, as backers have been informed that they will have only a narrow window to request refunds in a process that may take up to three months to complete.
Developer Ys Net published an update to their Shenmue III Kickstarter page outlining the steps that backers will need to take in order to either change their package or request a full refund. The page states that at some point in September, which is unspecified at this point, backers will receive emails from Fangamer confirming their current selected version of the game. From there, they will have two weeks to change their selection or request a refund. Here is where users are likely to become frustrated.
Following their cancellation and request for a refund, Ys Net states, “Refund processing timing may vary depending on payment service and transaction status. It may take up to 20 business days to 3 months from the time the refund request is made until the refund transaction is completed.” This long wait is due to what they describe as the complexity of transactions and payment after four years of the development of the game.
Hopefully, those who do request refunds have a smooth experience, since there have been enough problems throughout the campaign.
The first major issue came in June when Ys Net signed an exclusivity agreement with the Epic Games Store after being listed on Steam since 2015 following the successful Kickstarter. Some backers were left with a bad taste in their mouths following this news, as Epic Games was still in its early stages of snapping up properties in exclusive agreements.
Following this, there was confusion as Ys Net initially refused to offer its backers any manner of refund due to the switch from Steam over to Epic Games, and further escalated the issue by telling backers that they would receive keys for use on Steam, while non-backers would need to use the Epic Games Store. As it turned out, Ys Net would not be able to provide Steam keys, as Valve does not provide such a service for games that have chosen not to be sold on their platform.
Beyond that, backers found out that despite being backers of the project for a total of four years, they would not be receiving pre-order bonuses and would need to purchase those separately, and the list continued to grow. There are still backers who are going to be happy to play the long-awaited sequel to the game, but many have been turned off of the idea completely.
At this point, the game needs to launch as soon as possible without additional issues, as the game has taken enough of a beating through these disastrous moves by Ys Net.