At the start of last year, Metro Exodus' sudden switch from a PC release on Steam to a timed exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store kicked off months of controversy and ill-will that dogged Epic's platform. Since then, Exodus has made its way to Steam and Xbox Game Pass for PC. With today's surprise release of Exodus on GOG, publisher Deep Silver is also dropping its Denuvo anti-piracy protection on all PC versions of Exodus.
This move marks what is likely the end for Metro Exodus' gradual shift away from its controversial launch restrictions on PC. With the jump to the Epic Games Store having come mere weeks before launch, when pre-orders were already taken, the storefront choice was far and away the bigger issue for upset players. Still, given the widespread dislike of digital rights management software amongst PC players and of Denuvo's in particular, its inclusion with Exodus was also cited as a reason why some chose not to purchase the game at launch.
DRM and Epic exclusivity aside, Metro Exodus still far outperformed the previous title in the series with its PC launch last year. The debacle led to shifting of blame between Metro developers 4A, Deep Silver, and Deep Silver's parent companies, and even after the situation cooled, controversies over other Epic Games Store exclusivity deals marked much of 2019.
Choosing to launch on Steam versus the Epic Games Store has been largely influenced by the differences in revenue splits between the two stores. Meanwhile, bringing a game to CD Projekt's GOG necessitates decision making on the DRM front for developers and publishers—one of GOG's key selling points is offering games free of DRM, and in 2018 it even launched a "FCK DRM" initiative. By contrast, Steam, the Epic Games Store, and Microsoft's Store and Game Pass accommodate various DRM solutions.
Metro Exodus' decision to remove Denuvo's DRM comes just a week after id Software announced that, as the first company to roll out Denuvo's new anti-cheat software on Doom Eternal, it would also be the first to drop the integration. Shortly after the game launched in March, players discovered a Denuvo DRM-free version of Eternal's executable left amongst its publicly available files, more or less defanging the anti-piracy measure in the first place.
The official website for Metro Exodus frames the release on GOG as part of the ongoing 10th anniversary celebration for the Metro series. Exodus's expansion pass story DLC came to an end in February with the release of Sam's Story—that same month also saw the release of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light for the Nintendo Switch. If you've not gotten into the series yet, you now have plenty of options no matter the platform or your storefront preferences.