The process of making Metro Exodus an Epic Games Store exclusive did not go especially smoothly. The big issue is that the game had been up for pre-purchase on Steam for quite awhile up to that point, and the move to the Epic Games Store seemed to leave those who had put their money down on it—and those who wanted to—out in the cold.
A compromise was eventually reached where people who had already purchased the game on Steam would still get it there but it was a mess, and the reaction among some disappointed fans was predictably ugly. A message posted on the Metro Exodus Steam page seemed to exacerbate the upset by emphasizing that Valve—unlike "another PC store"—was on the side of gamers.
"We think the decision to remove the game is unfair to Steam customers, especially after a long pre-sale period," it says. "We apologize to Steam customers that were expecting it to be available for sale through the February 15th release date, but we were only recently informed of the decision and given limited time to let everyone know."
But Valve business developer Nathaniel Blue recently told Kotaku that fanning the flames wasn't the intent of the message at all, and that it hasn't put up similar messages on the Steam pages of other games that have decided to go Epic exclusive because it didn't want to contribute to that kind of backlash again.
"In the future we didn’t continue to do that because our goal is not to upset the community or light anyone’s hair on fire," Blue said. "Our goal is to get developers close to customers, have a really valuable place for people to play games, and stay focused on that."
Regardless of the messaging, review bombs on Steam remain a problem. Valve had some success with anti-bombing measures rolled out earlier this year, and while Blue didn't say specifically that more changes are coming, he described Steam user reviews as "a work in progress."
"We’re going to constantly work on reviews, because we want them to represent where games are at and the status of games as best as possible," he said. "If it doesn’t, then we’re like, 'There’s something wrong we can work on'."
Despite the apparent change of heart, Blue also said he wasn't sure that Valve would go back and change how it handled the Metro Exodus situation, even if it somehow could. It definitely doesn't appear inclined to: The message is still posted on the Exodus Steam page.