The original Shenmue 3 Kickstarter campaign stated that the game would be released on Steam, a plan that went out the window last month when Deep Silver and Ys Net announced that would be an Epic Games Store exclusive for one year. Upsetting unhappy backers even more was an apparent reluctance to offer refunds: Ys Net and Epic said they would "assess the situation" but didn't commit to giving unhappy backers their money back until today.
Shortly after today's refund announcement was made, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to say that this kind of situation won't happen again—not because Epic isn't going to continue pursuing exclusives (it is), but because it will cover any existing commitments to other storefronts, or guarantee refunds in lieu of that.
"When future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores, we’ll either coordinate with colleagues at the other stores to ensure key availability in advance, or guarantee refunds at announcement time," Sweeney wrote.
Sweeney also confirmed that Epic is covering the cost of Shenmue 3 refunds, "so that refunds won't reduce Ys Net's development funding."
Epic will not be providing Steam keys in this instance, however, so aggrieved backers will have to take the refund, switch to the PS4 version, or live with the Epic Store. Ys Net also clarified in a Kickstarter update that the physical release of the PC version will not be DRM-free, and in fact won't have the game on it at all. Instead, the disc will include the Epic Games Store installer.