Saturday, February 2nd 2019

Metro Exodus Developer Discusses Boycott of the PC Platform for Sequels over Steam Review Bombing

Update 2: February 5th, 2019: A post on TwitLonger from the official @MetroVideoGame handle has looked to bring a more positive outlook to this whole scenario, in an attempt to bridge the gap between a lone developer's sentiment and the entire 4A Games studio. The post follows:
The recent decision to move Metro Exodus from Steam to the Epic Game Store was made by Koch Media / Deep Silver alone.

The recent comments made by a member of the 4A Games development team do not reflect Deep Silver's or 4A Games' view on the future of the franchise. They do reflect the hurt and disappointment of a passionate individual who has seen what was previously nothing but positive goodwill towards his work turn to controversy due to a business decision he had no control over. We respectfully ask that any and all valid feedback over this decision is directed at Koch Media / Deep Silver, and not the developers at 4A Games.

The future release strategy of the Metro series lies with Koch Media / Deep Silver. Our decision to partner with Epic Games was based on the goal of investing in the future of the series and our development partner at 4A Games. We have every intention of continuing this franchise, and a PC version will always be at the heart of our plans.
The entire handling of this issue has seen wrong turns of hand on all parts involved, the way this particular editor sees it (my, Ravenlord's, sole opinion and not TPU's, so as to avoid a Metro-style situation here), whether it be Valve, 4A Games, the lone developer who made the initial comments, and yes, the particular users in the Metro community that reacted too passionately, inflamming what was already a sticky situation. I, for one, will never see the justice in extrapolating one "wrong" move as a reason for bringing down either the trust or confidence in a whole team of people working hard to bring their creative vision to life. But I suppose gaming is like a relationship, in a way. You can read the original story below.

The whole Metro Exodus saga has been getting uglier as we get closer to launch date. We had reported earlier this very week how Metro Exodus had jumped over to the Epic Games Store for a timed exclusive through February 2020, with Valve and THQ Nordic putting out statements on this move. The move was clearly an unpopular one, and arguably for valid reasons too, but this then led to the mob turning against Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light by leaving an extreme number of negative reviews on the respective Steam store pages.
We do not agree with this behavior, but neither do we condone what happened next. A user by the handle scynet on the Russian Gameinator forums claimed to be one of the developers on the Metro game franchise, and expressed disappointment, and even anger at the review bombing ongoing. Perhaps emotions took over, when he then effectively threatened that the Metro series would not come to the PC platform again, and be a console exclusive, should this behavior continue and also if PC gamers in turn decide to not buy Metro Exodus as a result of the move from Steam to the Epic Games Store. We will note here that (a) the identity of said person has not been confirmed to be an actual developer for the game, and (b) such decisions are usually in the publisher hands. Regardless, both parties are not showing their best here, and hopefully cooler heads will prevail soon.

[Update: Feb 3, 2019: TechPowerUp user birdie has provided what appears to be the most accurate translation at this time, which can be seen past the break.]

An English translation by a native Russian (TechPowerUp user birdie) is seen below.
I've watched the shit storm that gave me contradicting impressions. On the one hand, Steam withdrawal was dubious, no one before us has done this so abruptly (as far as I know). This is new and and it could have caused resentment. And also this move makes it necessary to install the Epic launcher, so it could have inconvenienced certain gamers, and caused resentment.

On the other hand a reaction of the certain category of players ("torrents" only and likewise [he meant those who pirate games]) is hardly adequate. I've got the impression that people didn't really want to play and they have been waiting for a reason to pour out bile. It turns out that we (the developers) have toiled over for years trying to create something extraordinary but a certain category of players believes that our work isn't worth two minutes of installing a new game launcher. Naturally, it's their life and right, but why do they care about Metro at all? Obviously, they are not interested. I can only say that they've never been our players, they are not interested in our work, and as a result, for example, I'm not interested in their opinion. What's the point of me (and not only me) listening to their opinion?

But! Let's take a deeper look at the situation. Someone says that having shit on Metro Exodus and other games of the series has made the world a better place and put the greedy developers in their place. For that, I can only say that, at the worst scenario if all [PC] players boycott the game, then future games, if they get released at all, certainly won't be for PC. Will it be for the better or worse, is up to you. Personally, I will be sorry for devoted fans. But it won't change my appreciation of the work done by me, my friends and co-workers. I'm absolutely certain that almost everyone who is smearing us on the internet is not capable of the tiniest part of the work already done, and I hope, is yet to be done. Which means they are totally unaware of what they are talking about.

One extra thing. Despite the fact that during development I've finished every level of the game countless times, I still love playing Metro. I've completely finished previous games of the series several times and right now when we are putting the finishing touches to the game I'm going to finish it once more. For me it's already a tradition when I finish the game right before its release. It allows to evaluate the work we've done. What am I talking about? I remember the words of Prof [some nickname presumably - no idea who this person is] which I've heard straight from him several times and also on the Internet: you must create a game for yourself, so that first and most you like it yourself. And only now I'm starting to fully understand that - no smartass will make me doubt the work we've done. And there always will be the dissatisfied.
This does not seem as feverous as initial translations make it out to be, however the underlying tones are still applicable to the same bottom line. We also are more confident now that the original poster is a verified employee of 4A Games, and likely a developer on Metro Exodus as well. He/she is no doubt passionate about the work put in to the game, and ideally recognizes that the deeds (however undeserving the review bombing of past games may be) of some members of the PC gaming community does not speak for everyone. At the same time, this does not mean that 4A Games/Koch Media/THQ Nordic/Epic Games Store are all blameless in this debacle either, just that here too the work of few is affecting the rest adversely. Sources: User 'scynet' on Gameinator Forums, TwitLonger
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288 Comments on Metro Exodus Developer Discusses Boycott of the PC Platform for Sequels over Steam Review Bombing

#151
Minus Infinity
I'd be more sympathetic if EA were actually trying to give STEAM real competition and thus helping improve STEAM as well. Competition is good for consumers and businesses. This is just EA trying to undercut STEAM but in no way improve the model. Consumers will lose out in the end. Metro should have been on both services and let the market decide where they want to purchase the game. You can't say it's coming to STEAM and take pre-orders and then screw people over because you found a better deal. If they had never announced it was coming to STEAM in the first place they wouldn't be in this shit storm. I won't be using EA's store ever.
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#152
Nkd
Minus Infinity, post: 3987015, member: 178790"
I'd be more sympathetic if EA were actually trying to give STEAM real competition and thus helping improve STEAM as well. Competition is good for consumers and businesses. This is just EA trying to undercut STEAM but in no way improve the model. Consumers will lose out in the end. Metro should have been on both services and let the market decide where they want to purchase the game. You can't say it's coming to STEAM and take pre-orders and then screw people over because you found a better deal. If they had never announced it was coming to STEAM in the first place they wouldn't be in this shit storm. I won't be using EA's store ever.
But those people with preorder get to keep their game on steam so how did they get screwed over though? Also, the game will be $10 cheaper on EPIC store as a result of 88/12 split. So they are passing on the savings to consumers. As always people will bitch and steam is crying because they lost their margins. Maybe steam should lower their fees as well. I will never blame the developer for wanting more money back, so they can invest more in the future. Steam has a monopoly and lets be real about it. If you play a game because of the game no one should be boycotting shit. If you preordered on steam you get to keep the game on steam and you will get all updates through steam.

I'll take the dollar 10 discount over my love for steam. lol.
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#153
CrAsHnBuRnXp
The reason ppl don't want to take 2 minutes to install another game launcher is because IT'S ANOTHER GAME INSTALLER that none of us want.

We already have steam, Uplay, origin and now epics'? No thanks.
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#154
TheinsanegamerN
Good. Let them leave. If their response to customers calling them out on anti-consumer actions is to whine like entitled babies, then they deserve to stay on consoles. Metro is primarily a PC franchise, much like crysis was. Forcing your customer to go through a single storefront to consume your product is inherently anti consumer and anti-competition. I dont give EA or ubisoft a break for forcing uplay and origin on us, 4A doesnt get a break either. And if they want to act like us gamers should be GRATEFUL that they bother to publish their games on PC at all, and tell people "support us or we will leave", then screw them. They can keep that kind of abusive, entitled corporate attitude.

I say let them leave, and let the door hit them on the way out. Other developers can fill in the gap they provide, and when their sales take a massive hit and they come crawling back, we can laugh in their faces for being complete dunderheads.
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#155
Capitan Harlock
Nkd, post: 3987019, member: 42675"
'll take the dollar 10 discount over my love for steam. lol.
The 10$ discount is only for US not Europe so nope is dickery .
All this situation don't make any sense and is all Koch Media fault in the first place.
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#156
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
CrAsHnBuRnXp, post: 3987029, member: 44048"
The reason ppl don't want to take 2 minutes to install another game launcher is because IT'S ANOTHER GAME INSTALLER that none of us want.
Remember when games were shipped on disks? Virtually every game had its own dedicated installer and launcher. There was no management other than shortcuts spammed in the Start Menu and on the Desktop. Microsoft tried to rectify that with the Game Explorer introduced in Vista. The ecosystem today, even with more competitors launching their own storefronts, is mild compared to what it was.

Monopolies are terrible.
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#157
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
Capitan Harlock, post: 3987037, member: 102103"
All this situation don't make any sense and is all Koch Media fault in the first place.
Exactly, Koch and THQ Nordic. These decisions are made by publishers. Everybody blaming 4A needs to just stop.
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#158
TheinsanegamerN
rtwjunkie, post: 3987045, member: 56774"
Exactly, Koch and THQ Nordic. These decisions are made by publishers. Everybody blaming 4A needs to just stop.
4A studios chose to partner with THQ nordic. They chose to enlist themselves with greedy publishers. They deserve just as much blame for joining with publishers as publishers deserve for pushing these ideas.

In this era of digital distribution, there is 0 reason to partner with publishers unless you want a physical release, and then it should ONLY be for the physical release. Digital releases have 0 reason to use a publisher.

If you join a gang then get shot by a rival gang, you are just as much at fault for joining the gang in the first place as the the other gang is at fault for shooting you. Same thing applies here. 4A made their bed, one of 4As DEVELOPERS is talking about this boycott, not THQ or Koch, they absolutely deserve this backlash. There is 0 reason to use publishers in the digital age other then greed/laziness.

FordGT90Concept, post: 3987041, member: 60463"
Remember when games were shipped on disks? Virtually every game had its own dedicated installer and launcher. There was no management other than shortcuts spammed in the Start Menu and on the Desktop. Microsoft tried to rectify that with the Game Explorer introduced in Vista. The ecosystem today, even with more competitors launching their own storefronts, is mild compared to what it was.

Monopolies are terrible.
Remember when Steam became popular because you didnt need to create logons for tons of other developers and deal with different launchers?
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#159
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
TheinsanegamerN, post: 3987053, member: 127292"
4A studios chose to partner with THQ nordic. They chose to enlist themselves with greedy publishers. They deserve just as much blame for joining with publishers as publishers deserve for pushing these ideas.
You really are clueless. It wasn’t just yesterday they “joined up” with THQ and Koch. They have been with them for awhile. Developers have almost no voice in anything. Most of them work like slaves. You blaming 4A for joining THQ is like me blaming you if one day your employer suddenly turns into this evil agency intent on causing world chaos. It makes no sense.

I know it is tough for you to process, but the 4A employee is merely laying out the facts of what will happen. Their publisher who they are under contract with will not give them money for a future PC game. That’s all he is saying.
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#160
Naito
I've already got Steam, Origin, UPlay, Galaxy, Rockstar Social, Windows Store/Xbox Live and battle.net, so what's one more eh?
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#161
timta2
Before I got to the last paragraph I was thinking "this isn't the developer", starting with the weird rant about pirates, considering it's not out yet, and then he goes on about how much he's played those games? That's really odd and he sounds like a fan masquerading as a developer.
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#162
DeathtoGnomes
CrAsHnBuRnXp, post: 3987029, member: 44048"
The reason ppl don't want to take 2 minutes to install another game launcher is because IT'S ANOTHER GAME INSTALLER that none of us want.

We already have steam, Uplay, origin and now epics'? No thanks.
us? you got a frogger in your pocket? Speak for yourself. I dont mind, but I'm a Gamer at Heart. I buy a game not a launcher.

FordGT90Concept, post: 3987041, member: 60463"
Remember when games were shipped on disks? Virtually every game had its own dedicated installer and launcher. There was no management other than shortcuts spammed in the Start Menu and on the Desktop. Microsoft tried to rectify that with the Game Explorer introduced in Vista. The ecosystem today, even with more competitors launching their own storefronts, is mild compared to what it was.

Monopolies are terrible.
Omg, each game installed an installer when there was no "standard" from MS, think win95/8.

timta2, post: 3987079, member: 47844"
Before I got to the last paragraph I was thinking "this isn't the developer", starting with the weird rant about pirates, considering it's not out yet, and then he goes on about how much he's played those games? That's really odd and he sounds like a fan masquerading as a developer.
a lot of developers are avid gamers.
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#163
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
TheinsanegamerN, post: 3987053, member: 127292"
Remember when Steam became popular because you didnt need to create logons for tons of other developers and deal with different launchers?
Steam became popular because of the sales. Coincidentally, fantastic sales ended circa 2014 too. Mind you, that's not Valve's fault. It was publishers themselves getting a little too carried away with big Steam Sale events. They cut prices on products more than they should have because they got swept away in the hype. Once they learned that Steam Sale events actually wipe out most of their potential sales, they now take it slow (10% -> 33% -> 50% -> drop MSRP $10 -> 50% -> drop MSRP $10 -> 50% -> etc.). Games usually take years to reach $15 now unless they bombed (like MEA) where during the hype time it happened in 6-12 months.

Because publishers are wise to how digital sales work now, no competitor can gain the edge that Steam did in those few years when publishers were trying to figure the market out.


And remember, Steam has a thousands of thousands of exclusives. The fact there is so much stink over a publisher doing a time exclusive on Epic Games Store shows how much mindshare Steam has. Just keep in mind that developers and publishers aren't very happy with Valve and haven't been for a long time because Steam is crowded now. It's hard to stand out without spending millions in mainstream marketing. Origin exists because EA doesn't want to give 30% of their revenue to Valve. For what? Running a few servers? AAA games cost millions to make, millions to market, and are pennies to digital distribute. Valve should have seen the defections coming from mile away. Ubisoft didn't abandon Steam completely because they feel the exposure outweighs the cost.
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#164
R-T-B
SystemMechanic, post: 3986472, member: 184970"
I will be staying away from this Dev and Publisher. No way to treat your fans. MAy be put it back on Steam store if you dont want ppl protesting, which is only be done by not buying it or review bombing.
Review bombing is never justified. You are being asked to review the content of the game, not the publisher.

Bleh, that's utopian thinking and I know it, but it's still true.

rtwjunkie, post: 3986539, member: 56774"
Let’s everyone take a step back and realize nothing has advanced beyond what we already knew prior to today. We know after last week’s announcement that no more Steam preorders would be available, and the sales from that point forward are on Epic. We know that THQ and Steam both said that all Steam preorders would be honored and totally supported in the Steam community and platform.

What we don’t know for sure is if this statement was by the dev company, or by a loose cannon employee, or just someone spouting off. We also don’t know, as one of our members asserted here, that any Steam keys sold must go through the Epic launcher.

So let’s relax until we know facts.
Thank god someone's marbles ain't loose in this whole fiasco.

btarunr, post: 3986515, member: 43587"
A console-exclusive AAA FPS?
You say that like it's a new idea or something...
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#165
moproblems99
FordGT90Concept, post: 3987009, member: 60463"
If you don't like it, wait until the contract expires and buy it where you want.
What, you mean this game will be available elsewhere? And I don't have to install the Epic Launcher?

*POOF* Mind blown.....
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#167
Tsukiyomi91
All I have to say is 4A Games/Deep Silver has lost a ton of current customers on top of new, potential customers who has yet to play the previous Metro games. Pulling a last minute changes shows how much of a dick they are.
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#168
lexluthermiester
FordGT90Concept, post: 3987111, member: 60463"
Wouldn't be surprised if it is on GOG too at that point seeing how the other Metro games are.
And a bunch of people will be waiting for that.
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#169
Arumio
meanwhile bad promotion is still promotion
the more we talk, the more audience gat to know about "metro"
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#170
lexluthermiester
Arumio, post: 3987164, member: 166350"
meanwhile bad promotion is still promotion
the more we talk, the more audience gat to know about "metro"
You'd think that, but people are tired of drama and BS. In this case "bad promotion" is still bad, just like Fallout '76. Sales tanked once the news about how bad it was started making the rounds.
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#171
bajs11
well people here in the West should be boycotting Russian products after their attempts to manipulate elections in several western countries
so yeah no more Metro games for me at least
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#172
sepheronx
bajs11, post: 3987188, member: 171095"
well people here in the West should be boycotting Russian products after their attempts to manipulate elections in several western countries
so yeah no more Metro games for me at least
This must be a joke.

The whole Russiagate thing is a huge joke to begin with.

And let me remind you how US attempts, attempted and even worked on Russian elections back in 1996. Or how about Venezuela now?

So that is the most stupid excuse I have heard.

Maybe it hasn't also occurred to you yet that A4 games isn't in Russia, eh?
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#173
Vayra86
lexluthermiester, post: 3986783, member: 134537"
You're going out of context again. Comparing apples to oranges mean anything to you?
No not really. There are lots of commercial things you dont control and have to live with, and yet, you dont see this kind if outrage over essentially minor things elsewhere. What you see is people vote with their wallet. I have yet to see that here. I think its much ado about nothing.

OneMoar, post: 3986832, member: 83420"
except epic is playing dirty there not interested in giving developers a piece of the pie

here is how this is gonna go for the people that don't get it

epic is gonna offer a tasty agreement to get devs signed on, then once they have signed away there rights there gonna ratchet the percent they take right up to the limit

epic is not the good guy here there the bad guys there playing dirty because they want a piece of the digital distribution pie and if you think for a nano second they give two fucks about the developers you obviously understand very little
And lord Gaben is any different? Where's that HL3 at, by the way? Oh yeah... Steam was enough of a cash cow, it was too much effort for him as he was swimming in money from a 30% cut.

....
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#174
lexluthermiester
bajs11, post: 3987188, member: 171095"
well people here in the West should be boycotting Russian products after their attempts to manipulate elections in several western countries
Let's keep unproven politics out of this.
bajs11, post: 3987188, member: 171095"
so yeah no more Metro games for me at least
And there's a choice. It has nothing to do with the topic, but it does show someone voting with their wallet.
Vayra86, post: 3987202, member: 152404"
No not really.
Yes, really.
Vayra86, post: 3987202, member: 152404"
What you see is people vote with their wallet.
Then you're not paying attention.
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#175
Vayra86
lexluthermiester, post: 3987205, member: 134537"
Let's keep unproven politics out of this.

And there's a choice. It has nothing to do with the topic, but it does show someone voting with their wallet.

Yes, really.

Then you're not paying attention.
Got numbers? All I see is noise. We know from experience its not going to go that fast after all. Otherwise a lot of other items would have turned out quite differently as well.
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