The Epic Games Store just launched a huge eye-catching sale across a vast swathe of games, but it appears not everyone is happy about this, with Borderlands 3 and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 being removed from the sale (or indeed the store in the case of the latter).
The store’s Mega Sale offers tasty discounts including a tenner off all games (at least those that cost more than £13.99 or $14.99) courtesy of Epic itself, which comes on top of any price-cuts from the publisher.
So you could have pre-ordered Borderlands 3 with £10 or $10 off, and the same was true for Bloodlines 2 (which isn’t due to be released until early 2020). Except now, Borderlands 3 is marked as ‘coming soon’ and can’t be pre-ordered on the store, and as for Bloodlines 2, that game has been entirely removed, missing from Epic’s retail outlet altogether.
Why has this happened? That isn’t clear, but as PC Gamer reports, Paradox Interactive, the publisher of Bloodlines 2, requested that the game be yanked down from the store without providing a reason.
An Epic Games spokesperson told PC Gamer: “If a developer or publisher chooses to not participate in our sales, we will honor that decision. Paradox Interactive has chosen to not participate in the Epic Mega Sale and the game has been temporarily removed from sale.”
Similarly, Borderlands 3 publisher 2K commented: “We are working closely with Epic and have temporarily removed Borderlands 3 from their storefront. We look forward to the game being back on the Epic Games Store very soon.”
So, note that this appears to be a temporary situation on both counts, and also both publishers confirmed that games which have already been purchased – before they were removed – during the Mega Sale will be honored at the advertised sale price.
It’s odd that Bloodlines 2 has been completely removed from the Epic store, while it’s still on sale at Steam, of course, while Borderlands 3 remains – although with the latter being an Epic exclusive, it could hardly be completely removed.
Also worth noting is the fact that the Epic-provided £10 or $10 discount is no longer being advertised on the front page of its game store. In other words, you will only see that discounted price when you click through to the actual game.
These two big-name titles aren’t the only games to have been removed from the Epic store after the Mega Sale started, and folks are speculating that there have been some unintended consequences here.
Some games which were already reduced in price have perhaps been discounted to a level that the publisher felt uncomfortable with after Epic’s extra £10/$10 discount was applied on top.
And there have been unfortunate cases where due to regional price differences, a US game might have been discounted, but the UK spin wasn’t, again causing some animosity amongst potential buyers.
In the case of Borderlands 3 and Bloodlines 2, these are special cases, in that we have to remember they are high-profile titles, and still on pre-order. Obviously it’s very unusual (or indeed unheard-of) for a big-name game to get a sizeable discount pre-release, so this is quite possibly what the publishers are unhappy about.
Normally, such games wouldn’t get a price cut until after release, and having a discount before the launch rather devalues any future price drops, or perhaps makes the publisher feel they have to apply even bigger reductions to make a suitable impact post-release.
Indeed, publishers may also feel there’s a danger that folks could be persuaded to buy the discounted PC version now, rather than a full-price console version at launch (for those who own multiple gaming platforms). In the case of Bloodlines 2, maybe there’s also an element of other third-party digital distribution stores being unhappy with Epic’s move, and exerting pressure to that effect on the publisher.
All these kind of issues could be involved in the behind-the-scenes wrangling that’s going on here, but this is all guesswork, naturally.
Perhaps we’ll hear something from official channels about exactly why this removal has happened with Borderlands 3 and Bloodlines 2, but we wouldn’t hold our breath. Hopefully, they will be back on sale soon enough – although that might not happen until the Epic Mega Sale is over.