After a decade of waiting, a delay of another three months for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is but a blink of the eye. Wait! Don't blink just ye- aw for. Now you've done it. You've blinked a fly into your eye and now its six legs are tickling your sclera and its wings buzzing against your eyelid. You'll be fine once it's out, I'm sure, but that's an irksome surprise to have while waiting for MechWarrior 5. A bit like how the delay announcement also came with word that developers Piranha Games have signed the game up to the Epic Games Store as another of those exclusives.
Piranha announced yesterday that they're pushing the launch of their mecha sim back from September 10th to December 10th, as well as making it an Epic exclusive. They say it "will most likely be available in other digital game stores" once this year of exclusivity expires.
"Partnering with Epic gave us the ability to delay our release to early December so that we could make the quality of game we desired as well as the financial footing to make sure MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries could be properly localised with a significant marketing effort," Piranha Games explained in an FAQ.
As well as offering devs a bigger cut of sales (88% versus the standard 70%), Epic do wang devs unconfirmed-but-presumably-huge sums of money up front to make games exclusive. Which, no doubt, is handy for a studio without the financial backing of a big publisher.
Piranha point out another reason Epic's subpar store might be more attractive to developers: it's kinda empty.
"We also feel very strongly about discoverability and believe that MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries has a greater chance of market success on the Epic Games Store," they say.
Epic's store may have no features aiding discoverability, or even wishlists for customers to track games, but it only stocks a few dozen games so everything inherently stands out more. That emptiness can be attractive to developers who feel at the mercy of Steam's ever-changing algorithms curating a vast catalogue. Devs on Steam do not know where their game might appear and for how long. It must be nice if you can get onto Epic early enough to stand out, I suppose. Not many games get that opportunity.
Piranha Games had sold pre-orders promising "a key to the Steam version." Not any more. All pre-orderers will now receive the game for Epic. If you don't want that, you can get a refund by e-mailing the Mercs support team. They say refunds should be fully processed within ten days.
When Shenmue 3 went Epic-exclusive after advertising Steam keys, Epic said they'd make sure future scloosie switches would either get Steam keys as originally promised or refunds straight away. Disappointing to see this is a case of the refunds.
As for what the Epic switch means for Mech 5's planned Steam Workshop support for sharing mods, Piranha say hey, look, you'll still be able to share mods manually at first. They say they'll later work in support for Epic's Workshop equivalent when it launches "in early 2020," bless their dear little innocent hearts. Given how many features planned on Epic's public Store roadmap are already behind schedule, I would be wary of those estimates.
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is coming to the Epic Games Store on December 10th.