MechWarrior 5 Confirmed As Epic Games Store Exclusive

Enforcer

Courtesy of PGI

So. MechWarrior 5 is going to be an Epic Games Store exclusive title after all. It’s also been slightly delayed, now releasing on December 10th instead of September 10th as previously hoped.

I can’t say I’m all that surprised. The writing was on the wall, which you can read all about in Sarna’s previous coverage on the matter. Suffice to say, what was once mere rumor has now become reality, with PGI making the official announcement on the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries website on July 25th.

What does being an Epic Games Store exclusive mean? Well, it means that MechWarrior 5 will be available only to those willing to download the Epic Games Store launcher. It will remain there as an exclusive title for one year, and then hopefully release on Steam, GOG, and other game stores on December 10th, 2020.

As for the delay, that’s covered in the updated FAQ page on the MechWarrior 5 website. The extra few months will give PGI more time to complete localization for a few different languages and also provide time for some additional marketing before release—both of which are Very Good Things™.

An AMA held on July 25th with PGI President Russ Bullock also mentioned not wanting to compete with the release of Borderlands 3, which is set to release September 13th on the Epic Games Store. No surprise there–Borderlands is expected to be a pretty big deal. 

“Our partnership with Epic Games store allows us the opportunity to make sure MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries meets our internal goal of creating the best MechWarrior game possible,” PGI wrote on their FAQ page. And while few would have been upset with a 3-month delay in MechWarrior 5’s release, there are quite a few more MechWarriors absolutely livid at the fact that MechWarrior 5 will now be releasing on the EGS after promising since the game was first announced that it would release on Steam.

And it’s resulted in many pre-order holders demanding a refund. To PGI’s credit, they’re offering a no-hassle, no-questions-asked refund to anyone who wants one, even if those pre-order buyers already used their community bonuses that were tied to MechWarrior Online. PGI also pointed out in their development update that those Community Pre-Order bonuses represent $100, $180, or $300-worth of MechWarrior Online goodies (depending on the level you pre-ordered MechWarrior 5) which they are now giving away essentially for free.

That said, many view the sudden swap to Epic as a betrayal even with the refund policy. There are also some open questions on just when PGI decided to sign a deal with Epic. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was still selling pre-orders up until May, and Bullock was even fielding concerns of Epic exclusivity in AMAs as late as April 10th, saying that the game would release on Steam and GOG as planned and they had no intent to release on Epic.

Catapult

In the July 25th AMA, Bullock stated there may have even been “a couple of days crossover” between when PGI signed their Epic exclusive deal but were still selling community pre-orders promising a Steam release.

PGi didn’t exactly have the greatest reputation to begin with, but this bait-and-switch with Epic has truly pissed-off a lot of folks. The various MechWarrior and BattleTech-related subreddits are abuzz with people expressing their outrage and that they will make full use of PGI’s offer of a full refund. 

I don’t have numbers, but we know from the previous MW5 AMA that the game received roughly 20,000 pre-orders. You gotta think that a significant quantity of those pre-orders has been refunded by now.

To get your refund, email support@mw5mercs.com. All refund requests have to be in by Septembers 1st, and please give PGI 10 business days to process your refund. They’re probably dealing with a lot of angry people, so patience will be a virtue.

Battlemaster

What will this mean for MechWarrior 5 and the future of the MechWarrior franchise? It’s hard to say. Whatever deal they’ve signed with Epic has almost certainly secured PGI’s financials for the time being, and Bullock said in the July 25th AMA that Epic provided enough data to convince him that MechWarrior 5 will still sell as well—if not better—on the Epic Games Store than on Steam.

Maybe that’s true. Maybe Epic’s smaller, more carefully curated game store will give MechWarrior 5 the sort of visibility that would have been impossible on Steam. Maybe this will result in that injection of fresh fans that an old franchise like MechWarrior desperately needs. There are certainly more than a few people that think MW5 going Epic is the right call.

It’s just a shame it had to come at the expense of so many old-school MechWarrior fans who are now angrily demanding refunds. 

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

29 thoughts on “MechWarrior 5 Confirmed As Epic Games Store Exclusive

  1. Elvis Rowe

    Now I’m glad that I didn’t pre-order. Not a huge gamer, but I don’t want to have to setup and maintain another store account.

    Then again PGI really did a poor job with their pre-orders anyway. What incentive do I, an individual who has no interest in MechWarrior Online, have in $xxx work MechWarrior Online perks? Total miss on their part.

    Reply
  2. UmberWall

    Hi Sean,

    I think it would be cool if you mentioned the positive aspects in list form of why this deal was a no-brainer. Here are the positives in short-form:

    1. More money for development
    2. Delay the game away from Gears of war 5 and Borderlands 3
    3. Hire more devs to help polish it like a narrative designer, a lighting artist, etc.
    4. Pay for the 3 months extra delay
    5. French, Russian and German localization at launch
    6. A much bigger marketing push
    7. A 12% cut on EGS versus 35 % cut on steam
    8. More visibility on EGS than Steam (less crowded)
    9. The game still ends up on Steam and GOG in 2020

    I also think you should mention and at least take a stand against the toxic behavior of the Mechwarrior community. PGI and especially Russ Bullock have faced a lot of harassment from this decision, including personal insults, wishes for the company to go bankrupts, threats of violence, and of course death threats. This behavior has been completely beyond the pale and out of proportion to a simple decision about which software launcher the game will be launched or downloaded from. Misinformation and deceit by Youtube Grifters like SidAlpha have only worsened the situation and created a false narrative about being lied to. This has resulted in further and more intense harassment by angry Mechwarrior fans who are misled by Youtubers whose only interest is amassing clicks and not understanding a complex decision like the one PGI took.

    It would mean a lot if people with platform and power took a stand against the toxicity and tried to explain why it was the only sensible choice to make and why no one was lied to and why harassment and death threats are not okay. If you manage to edit your article to include these perspectives, it would positively strengthen and cure some of the ills that have befallen the Mechwarrior community.

    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    1. William Avon

      A respectful counterpoint to UmberWall’s post.
      1. They built this game off the back of MWO (even considering game engine adjustments), did a pre-order, and had several other advantages during development. If they needed more money, they either a) didn’t budget enough, which is not a sign of a good game company, or b) poorly managed their money, which is not a sign of a good game company.
      2. Is MW5 really in competition with Gears of War 5 and Borderlands 3?
      3. These devs should have been part of the process the entire time.
      4. Not sure why this is a good thing.
      5. French, Russian and German localization at launch actually is a plus, good call.
      6. A much bigger marketing push, also a good call.
      7. This better cut benefits the game company, but doesn’t necessarily benefit the consumer.
      8. This is actually the opposite. Steam has a much larger player pool.
      9. The game still ends up on Steam and GOG, but this is well AFTER the all-important first year of a game’s life.

      While I think that becoming an Epic Store Exclusive at this point may have been a NECESSARY decision at this point, I think it was a result of bad management, rather than outright greed.

      Also, as for the “toxic community” thing, this is false narrative. While it’s true that many players have a low opinion PGI, that is because of the way they have been treated by PGI. Russ Bullock, et. al., haven’t faced “a lot of harassment”; they’ve faced tons of legitimate (if angry) criticism for bad decisions and the occasionally hostile treatment of players by Bullock himself. Look up the early history of MWO, if you don’t believe me. It’s true that that some people have taken this criticism too far; in any group of people of sufficient size, you’re going to have a few idiots.

      BTW, I certainly hope this platform DOESN’T “take a stand”. Sarna has been a fun, neutral place for everyone who like this franchise; they should simply report the facts as they are, without spin. People can make up their own mind.

      Reply
    2. William Avon

      A respectful counterpoint to UmberWall’s post.
      1. They built this game off the back of MWO (even considering game engine adjustments), did a pre-order, and had several other advantages during development. If they needed more money, they either a) didn’t budget enough, which is not a sign of a good game company, or b) poorly managed their money, which is not a sign of a good game company.
      2. Is MW5 really in competition with Gears of War 5 and Borderlands 3?
      3. These devs should have been part of the process the entire time.
      4. Not sure why this is a good thing.
      5. French, Russian and German localization at launch actually is a plus, good call.
      6. A much bigger marketing push, also a good call.
      7. This better cut benefits the game company, but doesn’t necessarily benefit the consumer.
      8. This is actually the opposite. Steam has a much larger player pool.
      9. The game still ends up on Steam and GOG, but this is well AFTER the all-important first year of a game’s life.

      While I think that becoming an Epic Store Exclusive at this point may have been a NECESSARY decision at this point, I think it was a result of bad management, rather than outright greed.

      Also, as for the “toxic community” thing, this is false narrative. While it’s true that many players have a low opinion of PGI, that is because of the way they have been treated by PGI. Russ Bullock, et. al., haven’t faced “a lot of harassment”; they’ve faced tons of legitimate (if angry) criticism for bad decisions and the occasionally hostile treatment of players by Bullock himself. Look up the early history of MWO, if you don’t believe me. It’s true that that some people have taken this criticism too far; in any group of people of sufficient size, you’re going to have a few idiots.

      BTW, I certainly hope this platform DOESN’T “take a stand”. Sarna has been a fun, neutral place for everyone who like this franchise; they should simply report the facts as they are, without spin. People can make up their own mind.

      Reply
    3. Notso

      Here’s the thing about you’re positives:
      1. More money for dev:
      There were other ways to get that money, that didn’t include hiding the change from the customer base.
      2. Delay of Game:
      This would make since if there hadn’t been a huge pre-order system, but there was.
      3. Hire more devs to help polish it like a narrative designer, a lighting artist, etc.
      Sure if they were going to do that, but they’re not.
      4. Pay for the 3 months extra delay
      Which, added to the huge hit from refunds now, is why they won’t do 3
      5. French, Russian and German localization at launch
      This makes since, except that again, epic exclusivity and lying to the player base wasn’t needed to do so.
      6. Bigger marketing push
      In totally the wrong direction. The public outcry will drive it back. Epic is the smaller and failing store, and so many other things unrelated to this particular deal are going wrong with Epic.
      7. A 12% cut on EGS versus 35% cut on steam
      This one looks like a win, but your loosing a lot of tools in the process, and again too many people don’t trust Epic. The truth is the sales will be too low compared to a simultaneous steam, gog, and direct release (which btw is a 0% cut, that would still have allowed a steam key, see almost every beamdog release).
      8. More visibility on EGS than Steam (less crowded)
      More visibility in the platform’s silo isn’t equal to more visibility overall. Epic has one less compatible platform, and steam wouldn’t have prevented use of other stores.
      9. We have no confirmation of that. All we know is that the exclusive contract is for a year, Epic and PGI could extend that, (which if PGI survives this year would be really suicidal). There’s also an honest chance that PGI and Epic will be in legal trouble by then.

      Reply
    4. Phobos101

      Hi Umberwall,
      what part of withholding the truth from April to late July constitutes “a false narrative about being lied to”? That’s called a lie of omission, big buddy.
      I had a look in to your claims of “death threats”, curiously, the only reference I can find is a post on Reddit that reads suspiciously similarly to yours above. Yeah, a few people probably told Russ to go “die in a fire” or something similar, but low-effort internet mud-slinging hardly constitutes a threat to the man’s life and safety.
      If you read your own list, you’ll notice that the positives you’ve listed are all positives for the developer, not for the player. Nobody except PGI and the three people who use EGS actually benifit from this. So no, people aren’t happy about the change. They paid what was asked in the understanding they would receive a particular product in a particular way. They invested emotionally and financially in that product. Many of those people have been waiting nearly two decades for said product.
      It would mean a lot if you would consider your statement and edit it to explain why for many, anger is the only sensible response, especially after being lied to, and why reducing peoples legitimate concerns to “fan toxicity” is not okay. If you manage to edit your post to include these perspectives, you may come to understand the strength of a fanbase that has stayed together despite lawsuits, financial failures, a split IP, and unscrupulous game developers.

      Thanks a lot.

      Reply
      1. Josh

        @Umberwall

        A valiant attempt to spin an awful decision driven by greed and chasing the $$ at the expense of fans and customers. Maybe post a resume with CNN :P

        Reply
    5. Josh

      @Umberwall

      A valiant attempt to spin an awful decision driven by greed and chasing the $$ at the expense of fans and customers. Maybe post a resume with CNN :P

      I think the others below have covered the reprisal of your fictitious narrative, good try tho…

      Reply
    6. toby hughes

      You do realize that Steam is much larger market and has the workshop which would allow for custom campaigns, mechs, and maps right? You are defending the lesser store who has been shown to be shady as hell.

      Reply
  3. Arran

    The problem with this is mixed. Partly PGI telling people that the deal was done in April and the issues people have with the Epic store. It comes upon lots of bad blood between the MWO players and PGI over some decisions and the handling of various issues. Epic and its security issues dealing with its store and the fact that it is missing some very basic functions, it also shows that the didn’t learn from steams mistakes with the store. Now the security issues are also partly involving one of Epic’s major stakeholders being Tencent Entertainment and its ties to the Chinese government. So most people have rightful concerns and issues but they will probably all wait until the exclusivity period has ended and it comes out on steam,GoG and other platforms hopefully patched.

    Reply
    1. The Fifth Horseman

      The funny thing?
      I had NO bad blood with PGI until now. Now? They’ve lost a customer.

      Reply
  4. Trevor Reeve-Newson

    Yet another Epic Failure by a game developer. Snapshot games did the same thing with Phoenix Point, which I backed and then refunded, and now PGI. Yet another game I will not be playing/buying in the near future, excellent choice PGI. I’m personally not interested in yet another retailer, I have Steam and GOG already. Arguably EPIC has done a piss-poor job with their store so far, so bye bye MW5.

    Reply
  5. Morgan

    As a consumer, this makes absolutely no difference to me. The game is the same price, and I still get to buy it. A different launcher is a non-issue (I can just start it to play, then turn it off, right?), and I have so many accounts online these days that one more makes no difference. I have to make a new account for practically everything I want to do online already.
    At the end of the day, if it weren’t for droves of people screaming like it’s the end of the damn world, I seriously doubt the difference would have ever registered.
    That leaves the “moral” aspect of it. Well, game companies are shitty, and I’m not here to fix them. If players were really so righteous, EA would have been out of business decades ago. The shenanigans I’ve read about with Epic PALE in comparison to what many, many businesses do all the time, so I don’t know why this particular company’s bad behavior suddenly makes so many people into crusaders for justice, while almost undoubtedly still riding in Ubers, driving Volkswagens, shopping on Amazon, buying groceries at Walmart, etc, etc.
    If I’m wrong, and all these people are just as righteously moral in all of their spending decisions, eschewing the dozens of companies causing pain and suffering that makes Epic look like angels, then I guess I’m the a-hole. But I doubt it.
    So I’m just gonna go ahead and play MechWarrior 5 when it comes out, ‘cuz it looks fun.

    Reply
    1. Phobos101

      The decision to avoid EPIC isn’t generally a moral one, it’s one of self interest. personally, my reasons for doing so are:
      – Security concerns
      – Epic’s association with Tencent – I don’t think supporting a microtransaction based mobile game publisher will help the industry grow in a way I want to see it go
      – Epic allows developers to opt out of user reviews, which, due in part to the state of mainstream games journalism, makes it hard for me to make an informed purchasing decision
      – I don’t want another “always on” process chugging away in the background doing god-knows-what, especially when it’s a poorly made facsimile of two other things I already have.
      I think the real reason this has caused as much rage as it has is the lies. Instead of being a redemption arc for a previously unpopular developer, it has confirmed and worsened a lot of the ill feeling that PGI has garnered over the years.

      Reply
      1. Arquinsiel

        To be fair to Tencent, they are far more than just a micro-transaction based mobile games developer.

        Reply
  6. Bogus

    Mmmmm, wonderful delicious popcorn. On the plus side, I didn’t know they were even considering a DRM free release until reading this article, which is one of the reasons I didn’t preorder. For the best, it would seem, since I’d otherwise be asking for a refund unless I got some kind of ironclad guarantee that the EGS version won’t require account shenanigans once downloaded, archived, and transferred to my other machine.

    The comic irony of the EGS vs. Steam war is that I currently say a pox on both their houses but would instantly become a huge fan if one of them set up the store to clearly identify those games that won’t try to screw me over later. I’m pretty easy to please really–just want to play single player games in peace, offline–but the big guys don’t seem very interested in selling to the paranoid engineer demographic. Oh well, it’s not 2010 any more and there’s plenty of other titles to hold my interest.

    Reply
  7. Luxius

    Had they been open about the Epic exclusivity talks I honestly wouldn’t have cared. EGS sucks but I’ve been waiting for MW5 for ages, so I would have been okay with using it – had they been honest.
    But the way PGI handled things borders on slimy, and that is why I withdrew my preorder.
    So I’m gonna wait another year, and scoop the gold edition if/when it makes it to Steam/GOG/Humble.

    But on the positive side, I now have $50 dollars more to pour into the Clan Invasion KickStarter!

    Reply
    1. Bogus

      Aside from the questionable decision to keep doing preorder stuff when the talks were ongoing, one can’t really blame Epic or PGI for the secrecy. It’s a business deal, and business deals stay in the boardroom until the ink is dry.

      I certainly don’t fault anyone for refunding, though.

      Reply
    2. Net Zen

      I second the “open about Epic Exclusivity talks” comment. It’s a recurring problem with a lot of indie devs/publishers who make modern “deals with the devil” by signing on with EGS and not announcing it until the very last second. There are a few exceptions, but the majority of them push this BS damage control “EGS is better for the consumer! Really!” line which irritates the hell out of their backers.

      Matt Bullock’s shrewd decision to move to EGS in order to get more visibility for MW5 as opposed to Steam is an unpopular one with the community, but considering EGS has far fewer games on it than Steam (assuming they’ve got a proper search function now anyway), the possibility the Fortnite kiddos using PCs will see ads for MW5 and buy the game (mainly because Fortnite included some kind of mechs in their latest season or some shit) is a viable risk from a business standpoint. Assuming PGI has the sense to follow through with the Steam release in 2020 of course. I hate what PGI’s done, but I’ll wait until 2020 before considering MW5 (after all the bugs have all been ironed out during the “Epic Beta” period).

      Reply
  8. Psyckosama

    Sounds to me that at this point a name change to “Merchwarrior 5: Pirates” would be in order.

    You know, to honor their player base?

    Reply
  9. bladewinder

    Epic doesn’t support Linux. That is a deal breaker for some folks.
    Steam at least attempts to do so.

    Epic doesn’t allow user reviews. I typically read user reviews far more than main stream ones before judging a purchase nowadays. So that is a no-go for me.

    Epic has no regional pricing which is the biggest deal breaker for me. Steam has.
    And thus making the game more financially acceptable for me to buy it.

    And I have not even talked about the other…less desirable news or reputation from the Epic store.
    Nevertheless my last fave MW, was MW3. So I have being waiting for a long time.

    I will still get the game, but at a major discount later at some Black Friday day or summer sale (courtesy of steam). I can afford to wait anyway, it will just be a couple of years at most.

    Reply
    1. Notso

      This is the second not from me comment about the hope of linux support. Which is a pleasant surprise that I’m not alone in that home. Also an extra bit of frustration that it confirms my incomplete information that Epic doesn’t support linux.

      Reply
  10. Takiro

    Wow, very dishonorable behavior. Perhaps that is my inner Kerensky talking but sounds like the pre-order folks got the shaft and the least the company could do is refund their money. I hope it all works out but not a great jump off to begin with for Mechwarrior 5.

    Reply
  11. keethrax

    There’s a reason publishers hide their move to Epic until the last possible moment. Hint: It’s not how wonderful Epic is.

    So glad I never got around to preordering. Much like BL3, I’ll wait. By the time I’ve waited long enough for it to be on a non-epic platform, I’ll probably wait even more until it’s on sale. What’s another few months after waiting so long for it to get off epic?

    Thumbs up to any publishers short sighted enough to go epic. You are collectively saving me a decent amount of money.

    Reply
  12. Justin

    I was present for both the AMA’s, and the ONLY reason i kept my Preorder thus far has been the work Matt Newman did on damage control.

    They have until August 31 to show me something that justifies me allowing EGS on my computer, if not then I’ll refund it and wait a year.

    Reply
  13. Pat Rich

    One can always trust PGI to screw this up. Even if the game itself turns out to be good, and not the dumpster fire that is Mechwarrior: Online, It’s now pretty much tarnished by their Stefan Amaris-level dickery. I was even looking forward to this coming out. Considering Steam is better known, and they had originally advertised the preorders on the service, this decision is a great way to convince people not to spend money on your game.

    Reply

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