Shenmue III fans who had backed Ys Net’s $6 million Kickstarter are once again hitting back at the developer following confirmation that the Kickstarter edition of Shenmue III will not contain the season pass. Instead, that content will either be available to purchase separately or included in the game’s deluxe edition.
In a recent update on its Kickstarter page, a backer reported they had received an email from the studio saying that despite contributing to the crowdfunded project, the special Kickstarter edition of the game will have “unique content respective to their versions”. Whilst it’s clear none of the backer support tiers ever promised a season pass, some backers insist this content should be included in the KS version, and by not doing so, “[Ys Net] are creating a situation where it is more worthwhile for the customer to ask for a refund. It is absurd that they do not give at least the Season Pass to those that pledged $100+“.
“Standard and deluxe versions released through retail sales are not affiliated with the crowdfunding campaign, so will not be included with backer pledges, however, they will be available for sale separately,” the email reportedly said. “Kickstarter Backers will receive the Kickstarter version, Slacker Backers will receive the Slacker Backer version. Both have unique content respective to their versions not available in the retail versions. A season pass is not included.”
The email also confirmed that a trial version is yet to be finalised, even though “people at E3 already played a demo, but backers do not have access to any”.
“Trial version release date info has yet to be confirmed and will be announced in the updates when details are available. You will be receiving your trial version, but we must ask for your patience for a little longer. There will be more information following in the days ahead concerning updates.”
Shenmue III is the latest game to become a timed PC exclusive on Epic Game Store. Despite fan disappointment, Shenmue III developer Ys Net said at the time that “refunds will not be granted”. After an angry backlash, Ys Net then promised its Kickstarter backers that it was “listening to their concerns” and eventually u-turned on its decision not to refund unhappy Steam users that had backed the game expecting it to come to Valve’s client.
In a statement on the developer’s Kickstarter page, the studio explained in detail why it had decided to partner with Epic, and promised that despite earlier claims, the studio would honour backer refunds. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney then jumped on Twitter to clarify that to ensure “refunds won’t reduce Ys Net’s development funding”, Epic would cover the cost of Shenmue III refunds, and intimated that for any further unexpected EGS exclusives, Epic would “coordinate with colleagues at the other stores” or “guarantee refunds”.
Shenmue III was first announced at PlayStation’s E3 press conference in 2015, the same year it was successfully Kickstarted to the tune of $6,333,295 – breaking world records in the process. Since then the original 2017 release has been pushed back several times, moving from 2017 to early 2018, then August 2019, and – most recently – now November 2019.