The Sinking City developer Frogwares has issued a statement asking people not to buy the game on Steam. This may seem strange, but there’s a reason to avoid buying the Steam version of the Lovecraftian-inspired horror game.
The Sinking City has been at the root of a legal battle between Frogwares and Bigben Interactive (Nacon). It all started a couple of months after its release when Frogwares issued the following in an open letter last August. The letter goes into detail about the many issues at play in this drama.
Since the release of The Sinking City on June 27, 2019 we’ve been involved in legal battles with BigBen Interactive/Nacon over the title. In 2017 we signed The Sinking City contract as a licensing agreement with BigBen/Nacon, 2 years after the start of production. In exchange for a financial contribution to the development, we gave them the right to sell and commercialize the game on 4 platforms – Xbox One, PS4, Steam and later, Epic Games Store. The intellectual property would still belong to Frogwares, which has always been the only producer and owner of its games, including The Sinking City.
That was only the tip of the iceberg. From a notice that Nacon was stopping payment in regard to development milestones to accusations of Nacon buying Frogwares’ IPs without its involvement, the list went on and on. All of this had led to the game being pulled from stores for a time. In October 2020, French courts ruled in favor of Nacon, resulting in the following press release.
The Court ruled that Frogwares had terminated the contract in a ‘manifestly unlawful’ manner and, as a result, ordered, as a ‘precautionary measure, the continuation of the contract (…) until its term or until a decision is made on the breach of this contract and ordered Frogwares Ireland to refrain from any action on the breach of this contract and ordered Frogwares Ireland to refrain from any action that impedes this continuation…
Since then, The Sinking City has been reappearing on various storefronts, but the version that re-listed on Steam last week may not be the one the developer intended. eTeknix reported that the one being sold could be an early version of the game. Some users claim it’s missing DLC, patches, and updates. It’s unclear which version is currently on sale, but Frogwares wants people to buy it from Gamesplanet.