The long, long wait for Shenmue 3 is nearly over, but Kickstarter backers who want a refund after the game became a one year Epic Games Store exclusive may be waiting to get their money back until after the game's November release. The process will start with an email to backers in mid-September, followed by a two week long survey period for refund submission. After that, it could take up to three months to receive the refund.
Developer Ys Net promised to open up refunds to backers in July, and a new blog update on the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter explains that the period for submitting refunds will open up after backers have had a chance to confirm or change their selected version of the game. In the survey, backers who originally wanted the game for the PC via Steam will have the chance to switch to a PlayStation 4 version (or vice versa). This email survey will also let PS4 backers reconfirm or switch the region they want the game on. After that, only backers who have selected to stick with the Epic Games Store release for the PC will be able to submit for a refund.
The update warns that refund requests will only be accepted if they are submitted through the survey during the two week window. Backers are also warned that refund processing times may vary drastically across individuals. A refund could "take up to 20 business days to 3 months" after making the request.
In July, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney announced that Epic would be funding the cost of the backer refunds so as to preserve the budget Ys Net had raised for the game. The negative response to Shenmue 3's Epic Games Store exclusivity deal does create an issue separate from the refunds too: hundreds of backers donated to the Kickstarter at backer tiers that let them leave a mark in-game, ranging from a short message in a Choubu Inn guestbook to a signed photograph. The blog update says that these backer rewards may remain in-game after a refund since "changing implemented content is difficult at this stage of development."
USgamer's Eric Van Allen came away from hands-on time with Shenmue 3 and attested to the game feeling like a true throwback to Shenmue and Shenmue 2, for better or worse. Folks who're still down to play on PS4 or through the Epic Games Store will get to come to their own conclusions when the game launches on November 19.