The Sinking City Returns To Steam As Legal Battle Between Developer And Publisher Continues

Illustration for article titled The Sinking City Returns To Steam As Legal Battle Between Developer And Publisher Continues
Screenshot: Frogwares

Moody cosmic horror game The Sinking City is now back up on Steam and other digital storefronts following the latest developments in an ongoing legal fight between developer Frogwares and the game’s publishing partner, Nacon, taking place in the Paris Court of Appeal.

The Sinking City, an excellent open world mystery game about exploring a flooded New England town during the 1920s, was originally released in June 2019, but was pulled from most digital storefronts last August by maker Frogwares over accusations that Nacon had failed to uphold its end of the publishing agreement. In a statement yesterday, Nacon—the publisher of games such as Warhammer: Chaosbane and the World Rally Championship series—announced it was bringing The Sinking City back to the Microsoft, PlayStation, and Steam digital storefronts following a court ruling from October upholding its existing publishing contract with Frogwares until a final legal decision was reached. 

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“NACON is continuing its action in defense of its rights and has proceeded with the execution of this court decision by asking platforms and sites to put The Sinking City game back online so that no one is held hostage to this situation,” Nacon wrote. The company declined to comment further to Kotaku. Frogwares did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Frogwares has claimed that Nacon failed to cover certain production costs in a timely manner and at one point stopped royalty payments after the game was already out. Frogwares has also alleged that Nacon at one point tried to take ownership of the source code for The Sinking City. Nacon rejected Frogwares’ claims at the time, calling them an “erroneous interpretation of the content of the agreement and the nature of this dispute.”

During this period, the game still remained available on the Switch eShop, where it was distributed solely by Frogwares. It’s unclear when a final ruling by the Paris Court of Appeal will be rendered to determine The Sinking City’s ultimate fate on other platforms.

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com

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DISCUSSION

Poor Frogwares, from what I remember they had similar problems with Focus Home Interactive and the Sherlock Holmes games.

I wonder what is going on with their studio internally and their continued issues with Publishers.

Is it just a matter of whatever legal council they have looking over their contracts making shady/poor deals, not reading the fine print on them, or is something else going on?