Creative Assembly have announced a release date of August 13th for A Total War Saga: Troy, with a surprise: they'll give it away free to keep on the Epic Games Store at launch. It's becoming an Epic timed exclusive, see, and how! The giveaway is only for one day, mind. In the usual Epixclusive way, it'll be on Steam after one year - and Creative Assembly do say this exclusive is a one-off.
Troy is the second Total War Saga, following 2018's Thrones Of Britannia. They're smaller and cheaper side-games, focused on a more specific time and place. In this case, it's the mythic Trojan War. As Alice Bee explained when she took a look at Troy last year, it's trying to imagine a realistic-ish possible history for the epic events. So no, Achilles probably won't try to give a river a kicking.
When Troy launches on the Epic Games Store on August 13th, it will be free for keepsies if you grab it within the first 24 hours. That's quite the coup for Epic. Yeah, Sludge Life launched as an Epic freebie last week (and still is, and is deece) but even a Saga of Total War is a far bigger get.
Creative Assembly say Troy "will become available on other digital PC storefronts such as Steam from August 2021." Troy's Steam page had said it would be there in 2020. Creative Assembly had not yet sold pre-orders, mind, so this situation isn't the same as last year's Metro Exodus Epic switcheroo, which Valve declared "unfair to Steam customers".
Yesterday's Troy announcement explains that Epic approached them with the offer to pay for the freebie. Creative Assembly say "we're at a time when we're looking to invest more into the ongoing development of Total War this felt like an opportunity to really move the franchise forward by getting it in front of more people." This lets them take tentative steps onto new stores, do the foundation work for future adventures beyond Steam, and, y'know, get paid to have a squillion people nab their game.
"We currently have no plans for any future games to be Epic exclusives," they add in an FAQ. "We do want to be more platform agnostic moving forward (this decision is part of that), and we would like future games to be available on the Epic Games Store, but that's in addition to being available on other platforms such as Steam."
There are more downsides. As the devs note, the Epic Games Store doesn't have mod support, not like the Steam Workshop. While mod support is "on Epic's roadmap," intent doesn't mean much if your games worse for it. And no, Troy won't have cross-store multiplayer between Epic and the eventual Steam release. Oh and yup, they're using Denuvo for DRM again.