Indie developer Unfold Games has just released their first title – the ambitious and dreamy horror-adventure game Darq. Just prior to its release, the developer was approached by Epic Games, who offered them an exclusivity deal. Unfold turned the offer down, and cited several reasons why.
The developer noted the timeline on their turning down the Epic Games Store exclusivity deal over on this Medium post, confirming the publisher approached the tiny indie studio just days after they announced their release date, for both Steam and GOG.
Three days later, the indie dev (which is almost entirely developed by Wlad Marhulets) was approached for an exclusivity deal. Before Wlad even talked numbers with Epic, he turned the deal down.
Marhulets said that while he likes “money, and getting some upfront payment on top of guaranteed revenue,” he had just announced the game’s release date for Steam and GOG. As this is his first game, pulling the game off Steam would “forever ruin the credibility” of his studio.
“I’m very serious about working in this industry for a very long time” Marhulets said. “I had just announced [the] Darq release date on Steam – pulling the game off Steam a few days after [making a] release date announcement would forever ruin the credibility of my studio.”
He added, “I would like for my customers to have confidence that my word means something, especially when making [an] announcement as crucial as [a] release date/platform. Turning down the Epic exclusivity offer might have been a foolish decision in the short term, considering the amount of money that might have been involved. When thinking long term, however, this was an easy & obvious decision to make (in my case).”
Darq has been listed on Steam since late 2018, and eventually got approved for a GOG release as well.
“It was important to me to give players what they wanted: options,” Mahulets said. “A lot of people requested that DARQ [be] made available on GOG. I was happy to work with GOG to bring the game to their platform. I wish the Epic Store would allow indie games to be sold there non-exclusively, as they do with larger, still unreleased games (Cyberpunk 2077), so players can enjoy what they want: a choice.”
There have been several games that have quickly dropped a Steam release for Epic Store exclusivity, while others have been listed for Steam for quite some time, and later went Epic exclusive.
How do you feel about the entire issue? Should consumers have as many options as possible? Sound off in the comments below!