Shenmue III Developers (Finally) Offer Refunds To Kickstarter Backers After Epic Store Debacle

Shenmue III Developers (Finally) Offer Refunds To Kickstarter Backers After Epic Store Debacle
Credit: YS Net via YouTube

A few weeks ago, word came out that the long-awaited Shenmue III would not be made available on Steam; developers said they had decided to partner with Epic Games instead. There was one problem with this announcement.

It pissed off loads of fans. Especially the ones who were responsible for the game’s return in the first place. The only reason Shenmue III was able to get off the ground was because generous fans donated to its Kickstarter campaign—and that campaign explicitly promised the game would be available on Steam.

This announcement by Yu Suzuki and the rest of the development team naturally threw fans into an uproar, many called for an immediate refund of their Kickstarter donation. But Suzuki and the rest of the team refused to budge. At least at first.

Now there’s good news. Not only will Shenmue III (eventually) be available for Kickstarter supporters on Steam, but they can also get a refund of their money if they don’t want to wait. And there are only two caveats to that news.

First, fans who decide to forego their refund will probably have to wait a while for the game’s Steam release; in a blog post, the team said it will probably take a year (after the Epic Games release) for the game to be available on Steam. Second, Kickstarter backers might not be able to get a full refund if they donated extra for additional in-game rewards. All of that notwithstanding, the announcement is better than no refund or no game at all.

Shenmue III is supposed to be the final installment in a cult-classic game series that stretches back to the Dreamcast. Yes, really. That far back.

The first Shenmue was one of the first games to capitalize on open-world dynamics and mixed a fascinating fighting RPG with loads of quick-time events in a captivating, cinematic story. (Seriously, you can watch Shenmue: The Movie on YouTube and it’s all generated in-game, and not just from cutscenes.) The last game, which came out for the original Xbox in 2001, left fans on a major cliffhanger for the story. For 18 years (!) fans have been waiting to find out what happens in the world of Shenmue.

Shenmue III will be released on the Epic Games Store on November 19th. Its current price is listed as $59.99 for those fans who didn’t back the campaign. For those Steam users that did, hey, if you waited this long for the final installment, what’s another year?