If there's one way for independent developers to stir up controversy in their communities, it's by taking an Epic Games Store exclusivity deal. The deals typically guarantee that developers will at least break even on their games, a major concern for those that are just starting out without the backing of a publisher. While the extra security is nice, the developer of the horror game DARQ has revealed why he chose not to take an exclusivity deal with Epic.
Wlad Marhulets, DARQ's only developer, explained why he declined Epic's offer, which he received just days after posting a trailer for DARQ with a Steam release date attached to it. He also states that, while he does "like money", he's very interested in working in the industry for a long time, and taking the deal then wouldn't go well for his studio. "I would like for my customers to have confidence that my word means something," the post states, "especially when making [an] announcement as crucial as [the] release date/platform."
Marhulets pointed out that the game has been listed on Steam since 2018, and to remove it now would make many Darq fans unhappy. This is likely true, as it has happened with pretty much every exclusive game on the Epic Game Store so far. Even triple-A games have been criticized for making such a decision. Borderlands 3's Epic Game Store exclusivity announcement resulted in an uproar from a vocal minority of gamers.
It's not hard to imagine that Marhulets was also looking to avoid this type of reaction. The developer does, after all, mention Ooblets' exclusivity announcement in the post, which was met with harassment and death threats according to one of Ooblets' developers. He also mentions potential backlash in one of the emails sent to the Epic Games representative that reached out to him, but they are polite and respectful enough, though the representative does state that Epic isn't in a position to open the platform to games that simultaneously release on multiple platforms.
Epic has not yet released a statement regarding the offer being declined, and it doesn't seem likely that they will. Epic recently responded to the harassment and misinformation being spread about its partners and storefront, but the company itself has remained relatively silent in most cases.
DARQ is available now on PC.