What you need to know
- Frogwares is the studio that developed The Sinking City.
- Frogwares initially had a publishing relationship with French publisher Nacon (formerly Bigben Interactive).
- Ongoing legal drama over the last two years has seen Frogwares accuse Nacon of attempting to pirate The Sinking City.
- Today, Frogwares published a blog post explaining in detail how the studio believes Nacon pirated the version of The Sinking City currently available on Steam.
Update, March 2 (8:40 ET): The Sinking City has been removed from Steam due to a DMCA takedown notice from Frogwares.
The ongoing drama between The Sinking City developer Frogwares and publisher Nacon (formerly known as Bigben Interactive) isn't likely to end soon. Since 2019, the studio has been embroiled in legal battles with Nacon over the publishing rights of The Sinking City, a game heavily inspired by the works of Lovecraft. These legal problems have even seen The Sinking City delisted from multiple platforms, including Steam.
On Feb. 26, Frogwares made a post on Twitter, explaining that the studio was not responsible for publishing The Sinking City's return to Steam, promising more information to come.
Frogwares has not created the version of @thesinkingcity that is today on sale on @Steam. We do not recommend the purchase of this version. More news soon.Frogwares has not created the version of @thesinkingcity that is today on sale on @Steam. We do not recommend the purchase of this version. More news soon.— Frogwares (@Frogwares) February 26, 2021February 26, 2021
Today, Frogwares published a lengthy breakdown explaining how the studio believes Nacon pirated The Sinking City, resulting in the version of the game currently available for sale on Valve's PC storefront.
The main crux of Frogwares' argument hinges around how the Nacon logo was uploaded and replaced the Gamesplanet logo that Frogwares included on some of the screens. Other "digital footprints" picked up on include how the version of the game on Steam lacks Frogwares' electronic signature, while also noting that it was the Deluxe version of the game that had been pirated. Frogwares has also found evidence in Steam's credentials tracking that the person who uploaded the Steam version of The Sinking City is technical director of Neopica, a studio acquired by Nacon in October 2020.
"Nacon decided to steal and pirate our game and they did so while leaving giant digital footprints," the post reads. "Nacon has proved they are willing to do anything possible to serve their interest, including illegal actions."
The post goes on to explain that this is the third time that Nacon has attempted to force Frogwares to push a new version of the game — once in July 2020 and again in October later that year. This is also the third time that Nacon has attempted to publish a pirated version of The Sinking City, according to the post.
Frogwares notes that it is seeking further legal action against Nacon and to prevent further damages, as well as dealing with the theft of its source code.
Update, March 2 (8:40 pm ET) — The Sinking City removed from Steam, again
In a statement given to Vice, Valve confirmed that The Sinking City has been removed from Steam due to a DMCA takedown notice from Frogwares.
I bought The Sinking City directly from Frogwares a while back, when they first pulled it from other stores, specifically to support the developer. I'm not sure of the specifics of the disagreement but, if you buy it from the developer, you know the developer will get their due.
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