Released only last year, the Lovecraftian game The Sinking City can no longer be found on Steam and other storefronts such as on Xbox One, Epic Games Store, and on the PlayStation 4. In relation to this, Frogwares, the developer of the game, has released an open letter explaining the reason for this:
“The reason is a bit complicated, yet at the same time, quite simple. Short version: We were forced to terminate the contract with our licensee for several breaches of our agreement. “
The rest of the statement also further discusses the legal battle between Frogwares and Nacon, the publishers for The Sinking City who recently merged with BigBen Interactive.
“During production, BBI/Nacon was hundreds and hundreds of days behind in payments in total. Each sum due on average being 40 days late, while our milestones were always on time and approved by the licensee. We had to issue formal notices multiple times so that we were able to receive the money that was owed to us.
The lack of commitment to honor the financial obligations soon turned into ongoing pressure. Once BBI/Nacon bought out a competing studio working on another Lovecraftian game, they dictated that we give them our source code for The Sinking City. Once again, BBI/Nacon does not own the IP – they are a licensee. They sell the game – not develop and co-create it. After we refused to comply, we stopped receiving financial contributions for over 4 months.”
Not only that, Frogwares kept receiving inconsistent data from Nacon after they constantly requested to see sales forecasts. After the game was released on Xbox One, PS4, and Epic Games Store, they received a letter from Nacon stating that their previously-approved milestones were canceled and as a result, they wouldn’t receive any profit at all from the game.
After the lawsuit was filed, Frogwares also noticed a couple of incorrect information on box covers and storefront pages, wherein it implied that Frogwares was not the owner of the IP. For instance, their logo was removed in some box covers.
This detective game may not be the best and it’s definitely far from perfect, with it receiving a 66% rating on PC Gamer, it’s still pretty entertaining. As such, it’s very disheartening to learn about this messy legal dispute.
Not all hope is lost, though! You can still purchase and play The Sinking City on Frogwares’ official website, or on other storefronts they have partnered with such as Origin, Nintendo Switch, and Gamesplanet.