“Metro Exodus” will be available on the newcomer Epic Games Store exclusively upon release next month until 2020, a choice that video game publisher THQ Nordic claims was made by Koch Media, which owns the intellectual property (IP) of the game. THQ Nordic is the owner of Deep Silver, which is the publisher behind “Metro Exodus,” developed by 4A Games.
“The decision to publish ‘Metro Exodus’ as a timed Epic Store exclusive was made entirely on Koch Media’s side as ‘Metro’ is their intellectual property,” the tweet from THQ Nordic stated. “They are a sister company of THQ Nordic (Vienna), which is the reason why we can [sic] and will not comment on this matter.”
However, THQ Nordic added a follow-up tweet that suggests it wants to offer customers more options than an exclusive distribution choice allows.
“We do not want to categorically exclude the possibility of timed exclusives for any of our games in the future,” THQ wrote. “But speaking in the here and now, we definitely want to have the players choose the platform of their liking and make our portfolio available to as many outlets as possible.”
On Wednesday, a representative reached out on behalf of THQ Nordic to Variety, regarding an apparent change of heart as co-founder and group CEO Lars Wingefors expressed “full support” of the decision:
“I fully support our sub-groups’ autonomy to run their respective businesses,” Wingefors stated. “I believe it’s in the group’s, and ultimately the consumers’, best interest that business decisions are made close to the market and this is the group’s consistent business model.”
“I firmly believe that Deep Silver and Koch Media have carefully considered the advantages and disadvantages, opportunities and risks in their decision to go solely with Epic Games Store. The decision has my full support.”
“I have noted that there is some confusion about the two different THQ Nordic entities, the parent company and the operating entity in Vienna. As already communicated to shareholders last year, the parent company will change its name to better reflect its status.”
THQ Nordic AB is the parent company which owns Koch Media, THQ Nordic GmbH (which is a source of confusion for some consumers), and Coffee Stain.
The exclusive release does not apply to customers who pre-ordered “Metro Exodus” on Steam or on other platforms, according to an FAQ released by Deep Silver. Meaning, customers who pre-ordered the game, regardless of platform, will still be able to play on release day, which is Feb. 15. It was also noted that, regardless of which platform customers purchase “Metro Exodus” through, the games will be the same, offering the same content and pre-order bonuses. In addition, upcoming “updates, patches, and free and premium DLC will be released simultaneously across both versions.”
The upcoming Expansion Pass, which comes with the Gold Edition of “Metro Exodus,” will still come to Steam. A release date has not yet been revealed for the Expansion Pass, but the FAQ advised customers to “expect an update after the full game release on February 15th 2019.” In addition, those who pre-ordered the standard edition via Steam will still be able to purchase the Expansion Pass and standalone DLC, according to the FAQ.
Valve responded to the decision by posting a notice on the “Metro Exodus” page.
“We think the decision to remove the game is unfair to Steam customers, especially after a long pre-sale period,” Valve wrote. “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.”
Some customers are crying foul over the decision, despite the honored pre-orders. For those who didn’t pre-order and want a digital copy, the choice is either waiting one year or ordering via the Epic Games Store. The new storefront has had its share of bad press. Most recently, it was attempting to make amends by revising its refund policy, and Epic Games itself recently received an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
“Metro Exodus” will return to the Steam storefront and other PC game digital distribution platforms after Feb. 14, 2020, when the exclusivity agreement with Epic Games Store expires.