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News video games 03 March 2021, 11:23

author: Przemyslaw Dygas

The Sinking City Devs Accuse Publisher of Pirating Their Game [UPDATED]

A few days ago The Sinking City was published without the developers' permission on Steam. Now they have accused the publisher of pirating their game.

Update:

At the time Frogwares accused Nacon of piracy, The Sinking City was still available on Steam. However, the situation has changed due to the developers' following actions. The devs submitted a DMCA note to Valve, reporting copyright infringement. The latter company took the letter seriously, and Frogware' title was once again removed from the store. Neither the publisher nor the developers have yet commented on these actions.

Original content:

The conflict between the devs from Frogwares and the publisher Nacon continues. At the end of last month, The Sinking City was made available for sale on Steam without the devs' consent. This led to a situation in which the developers advised against buying their own title. Now, Frogwares has also accused Nacon of pirating their game. Such words may seem radical, but the devs supported them with a long post on their blog, which explains the illegal actions of the publisher.

IN A NUTSHELL:
  • Frogwares accused Nacon of piracy;
  • The publisher is said to have illegally modified The Sinking City;
  • The altered game was placed on Steam by the company without consultation.

Originally, the game of the Ukrainian studio was to be placed on Steam in accordance with the agreement that Frogwares agreed on with Nacon. However, the devs accused the publisher of delaying the payments that were to be made after the completion of certain stages of development. Furthermore, while The Sinking City was still in development, Nacon demanded the game's source code from the studio. The developers thought it might be passed on to another group under the publisher, which was also working on a title set in Lovecraftian aesthetics. The most painful decision for Frogwares came after the game's release. Nacon retroactively canceled previously approved milestones for the title, which were to be paid for on an ongoing basis. Such decision led to a situation where the developers were to be deprived of revenue from the game's sales.

The conflict moved to court to resolve the dispute. In the meantime, Frogwares removed its game from Steam. This was because it claimed that the publisher was in arrears with the payment of about one million euros earned from the sale of the game. This step was considered to be illegal. The court said that Frogwares had to respect the terms of its previous agreement with the publisher until a ruling was made indicating that Nacon had broken its terms.

The Sinking City was therefore to reappear legally on Steam. Nacon demanded that the studio provide them with a new version of the game to bring to the store. However, Frogwares claims that the court did not order them to provide the edition that the publisher demanded. Currently, the two entities are in the middle of a trial to clarify whether the Ukrainian developers are obliged to give Nacon the said version for release on Steam. The French publisher didn't wait for the verdict to be published, however, as the game suddenly appeared on Valve's store.

Its version caught the attention of Frogwares. It was not The Sinking City in its original form from the release day. As the developers note, the company purchased the title from the Gamesplanet store, then proceeded to remake it. All this to get a Deluxe Edition, which is said to have additional content. However, the edition was developed already after the release of The Sinking City and was not the object of the contract concluded with Nacon. Furthermore, it was illegally modified. All traces of Gamesplanet and advertisements for other Frogwares games have been removed from the title. The store's logo was replaced by Nacon's logo. The modified game was then uploaded to Steam. All the above actions were carried out without any consultation with the devs.

This situation began last year. So the dispute between the studio and the publisher has been going on for a long time, and yet there are no chances for a quick solution to the problem. Successive sources of conflict between Frogwares and Nacon have us expect we may be seeing their battle in court for months to come.

The Sinking City

The Sinking City

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