It isn't every day that you hear about a developer refusing Epic Games Store exclusivity, especially knowing the sort of financial benefits it brings, but Unfold Games, developer of atmospheric puzzle platformer DARQ did exactly that.
Unfold Games is actually a sole indie developer, whose development of DARQ lasted slightly less than 4 years, with occasional paid help from other talented individuals.
The dev explained in a lengthy post on Medium that he didn't even think the Epic Games Store (EGS) offer was newsworthy, but in light of numerous out-of-context quotes, he went into details.
"On July 30th (Tuesday) I was contacted by the Epic Store, proposing that I enter into an exclusivity agreement with them instead of releasing DARQ on Steam. They made it clear that releasing DARQ non-exclusively is not an option. I rejected their offer before we had a chance to talk about money", he wrote.
Distancing himself from the case of , whose switch was widely criticised, especially by those who seemed to have no knowledge of the game prior to their EGS switch, DARQ's dev stressed that his case in no way means other studios should do the same.
However, he pointed out that pulling the game just a few days after the release date was announced on Steam would in his words "forever ruin the credibility" of the studio, which goes against his plans to have a long and prosperous career in game development.
Unfold Games conceded that sticking with Steam likely means the studio will make less money, but that he hopes this move will cement an ongoing trust between him and his customers.
DARQ's dev stressed that his communication with Epic Games has been polite, respectful and professional and expressed hope that this will not result in Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney gunning to "completely destroy" him and his game.
I must interject with a personal opinion here, as I think this fear is a bit far fetched and certainly influenced by the wild narratives presenting Tim Sweeney as a game destroyer. Suggesting that the man who's been in gaming since Potomac Computer Systems, being a developer himself, would engage in hostile, destructive behaviour against an indie developer, is way past dishonest.
DARQ's developer concluded by saying, "I wish there wasn't a double standard and indie developers were given an equal opportunity to sell their games across multiple storefronts, so the players can enjoy what they seem to want the most: a choice."