Metro Exodus publisher Deep Silver has deactivated a batch of Metro Exodus Steam keys that it says were stolen from a factory and sold by an "unofficial key reseller".
The game could initially be pre-ordered on Steam, and physical copies were also being sold with a Steam key inside. Those orders were stopped when Deep Silver announced the game would only release on the Epic Games Store—but not before keys were stolen from a printing factory.
"We have been made aware of illegal stolen keys being sold by an unofficial key reseller," the publisher said in a Steam post this week. "These keys have been obtained illegally from the factory where physical key printing had taken place prior to the announcement of exclusivity with Epic Games, due to the criminal nature of these keys, all unlicensed keys have been deactivated and activation/download of Metro Exodus without the executable file is no longer possible," it said.
"In addition, the software will be removed from the Steam library of any players using an unauthorised code. The keys being sold on this platform are stolen goods, and are therefore illegal.
"If you have been affected we strongly recommend you contact the seller who sold you the unlicensed key and demand a refund." The only supported key sellers for Metro Exodus were Humble Bundle and the Razer store, Deep Silver said.
"We were not aware that [the stolen keys] had gotten into the wrong hands," it added. "The binaries were disabled on these keys from the beginning, the community brought it to our attention that the games they had from the reseller were not updating. After an investigation we have become aware that they were stolen."
In other Metro Exodus news, this week's Ranger Update added a new game plus mode and more.