Earlier this week, Oddworld series developer Oddworld Inhabitants announced via Twitter that the PC version of the upcoming Oddworld: Soulstorm will be an Epic Games Store exclusive. As with any Epic exclusivity announcement, a wave of backlash from PC players was to be expected. But rather than sit and wait for the vitriol to come right to their inbox, however, Oddworld Inhabitants attempted to head it off at the pass.
A message from Lorne: pic.twitter.com/uAvS53i156
— Oddworld (@OddworldInc) August 19, 2019
In the statement, Oddworld creator and Oddworld Inhabitants co-founder Lorne Lanning elaborated on the decision because “you deserve to know”. He wrote,
We’ve been financing Soulstorm 100% ourselves. Soulstorm is our most ambitious game ever and we are committed to creating a great game that meets the highest level of quality. But to create the version of Soulstorm we want, and you deserve, we needed additional financial assistance. Ambition is important, and it pushes me to try to overachieve. What pushes me even more is my commitment to you: you deserve great games. As an indie publisher we must evaluate partnerships that will help us achieve our goals while protecting our vision for Soulstorm and the quintology. Epic supports our goal and commitment and is willing to help us achieve them by providing us with an advance on our PC sales, and we are incredibly grateful. Thank you for reading.
The preemptive explanation of the decision was almost certainly in response to the negative reaction to earlier Epic exclusivity deals, some of which included review bombs, death threats, and refunds. Lanning even temporarily locked his Twitter account, later explaining that he was expecting to receive a lot of hate after the announcement. Given the previous backlash, you’d expect the response to Oddworld: Soulstorm’s news to be pretty negative, and you’d be mostly right. The Twitter responses were filled with lots of anti-Epic sentiment, but also commendations for the developer’s transparency on the decision.
Oddworld: Soulstorm was announced back in 2016, with an original release window of 2017. As you can see by looking at your calendar, it is currently not 2017. But fans who’ve been waiting for the next entry in the decades-old franchise hopefully won’t have to wait much longer. The game is currently set to release on PC and consoles in 2020, and in its current build has won several E3 2019 Best of… and Editor’s Choice awards.