The Sinking City has had a bit of a wild ride. The relatively niche detective game released last summer to mostly mixed reviews, but it was a pretty interesting game, nonetheless. A few months after release, The Sinking City was delisted following a dispute between developer Frogwares and distributor Nacon.
The ensuing battle was a result of various contractual disagreements, such as Nacon allegedly changing the terms to prevent Frogwares from getting any profits from The Sinking City’s sales. The two companies have been duking it out in French courts, where Nacon has stated that Frogwares must provide a version of the game for Steam. The final verdict on whether Frogware needs to follow through with this is still pending and likely will remain this way for the coming months or potentially even years. Turns out, Nacon has allegedly just grown impatient and found a way of illegally distributing the game itself.
After seeing a new version of The Sinking City on Steam recently, Frogwares warned players against buying it as it wasn’t developed by the original team. A new YouTube video from Frogwares outlines how Nacon allegedly pirated The Sinking City and redistributed it, which is obviously incredibly illegal. As a result of not being able to obtain the previously demanded img code for the game, Nacon went to the website GamesPlanet to acquire the game. Frogwares had specially prepared this version of the game for the site, so GamesPlanet is actually mentioned within the game’s menus and loading screens a few times. Nacon allegedly decompiled the game and was able to remove not only the mentions of GamesPlanet, but also things like adverts for Frogwares’ other titles.
The developer went on to note how exactly Nacon may have hacked The Sinking City while also suggesting there are some other, unspecified legal matters that it’ll be submitting to the court soon. “Nacon decided to steal and pirate our game and they did so while leaving giant digital footprints,” said Sergey Oganesyan, a marketing manager at Frogwares. “Nacon has proved they are willing to do anything possible to serve their interest, including illegal actions. They ignored the decision of the Justice and bypassed them, pirating The Sinking City in order to deceive their partners, Steam in the first place.” As this story was being written, the game was mysteriously wiped from Steam despite Nacon saying (via IGN) that it was a complete product, and that it would be standing by the version mere hours ago.
At the start of the year, the game was also relisted back on some digital retailers like the Xbox Store. It goes without saying that if all of this is true, which doesn’t seem totally unlikely given the laundry list of evidence, it’ll be incredibly damaging to Nacon’s case. There’s really no telling if Frogwares was actually obligated to deliver a Steam version to Nacon previously, but the courts may have a difficult time favoring them following this explicitly illegal action.
Given the sudden disappearance of The Sinking City from Steam with virtually no official explanation, it’s possible the game was taken down at the advice of lawyers or simply purely out of controversy. There’s currently no official statement as to the game’s newest delisting, but the story will likely continue to develop in the coming days and weeks ahead.