Nacon have claimed to utilize their contract’s clause to have The Sinking City “adapted by a third party,” after Frogwares allegedly refused to put the game on Steam.
As previously reported, The Sinking City had been pulled from major retailers in 2020 including Steam, due to a legal dispute with publisher Nacon. In an open letter, Frogwares accused Nacon of withholding royalties, presenting incomplete sales data, and misrepresenting The Sinking City intellectual property as belonging to Nacon among other allegations.
It was due to Nacon’s alleged mishandling of The Sinking City intellectual property, that Frogwares decided to remove the game from sale from some retailers.
They assured consumers that the game would still be available through retailers they directly work with; including Gamesplanet, Nintendo, and Origin. Nacon accused Frogwares of “seeking to discredit [them] in the eyes of the public and professionals alike,” and took legal action against them.
Nacon later released a statement, confirming The Sinking City had returned to the Xbox Store; and would return to Steam and the PlayStation Store later. At that time, the Steam store page for The Sinking City listed its release date as January 5th.
That statement came after the Paris Court of Appeal ruled in October 2020 that Frogwares had “terminated [its] contract in a ‘manifestly unlawful’ manner” when they removed the game from sale. The court stated the terms of the contract must be continued until after it had been decided if Nacon had breached it or not.
The game finally launched on February 26th on Steam, along with an announcement the game would be 60% off until March 5th. However, Frogwares soon tweeted that this was not their game. “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 later elaborated that Nacon had allegedly “stole, hacked, changed the source code [of the game], and tried to cover up the reporting trail.” They claim Nacon had purchased The Sinking City from Gamesplanet, then modified it using an obtained encryption key to scrub nearly all traces of Gamesplanet. This version was then uploaded to Steam, under their own name.
In reply, Nacon stated that Frogwares “would like to revise the terms of the contract to their sole advantage. It’s easy to play the victim, but all we seek is that Frogwares respect its commitments both in the contract and as demanded by the courts.”
Regarding Frogwares’ claims- or “feedback” as Nacon put it- Nacon state that the game is “an official and complete version.” They claim the missing Steam features (cloud saves and achievements, allegedly removed to prevent online piracy checks) are “due to a lack of cooperation with Frogwares.”
The game was pulled from Steam on March 2nd, reportedly due to a DMCA issued by Frogwares. Now, Nacon have issued a statement. As with their previous statement on Steam, they highlight their investment into Frogwares, and that French courts ruled in their favor.
Nacon state they are the sole exclusive distributor of The Sinking City on Steam, and deny Frogware’s past claims of having unpaid royalities and other dues. They claim that when asking Frogwares to make the game available on Steam (as directed by French courts to remain to the terms of their contract), they repeatedly refused.
Nacon also claim there is clause within the contract where if Frogwares are unable to produce the game for Steam, then “the game would be adapted by a third party.” They also claim Frogwares attempted to “without the knowledge of NACON and in violation of our rights, to make the game available on STEAM without mentioning NACON in its capacity as the publisher.”
In addition Nacom claim that despite the issues they made the game available on Steam; while still indicating Frogwares has the rights to the game, and still granting them royalties from sales on that platform. Nacon concludes that they “reserves the right to take legal action against FROGWARES for its aggressive and prejudicial comments.”
The Sinking City is currently available on Windows PC (via Gamesplanet), Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and coming soon to PlayStation 4.