Update: The Sinking City Developer Frogwares Accuses Publisher Nacon of Piracy

By | March 1, 2021

Update: Frogwares has accused former The Sinking City licensee and currently-listed Steam publisher Nacon of pirating a version of the game from another licensee, making changes to it, and then listing it for sale on Steam without the developer’s permission.

In a blog post today, Frogwares says that the new version of The Sinking City uploaded to Steam in late February by Nacon was not one given to the publisher by them, but rather a version licensed to online distributor Gamesplanet. Frogwares accuses Nacon of buying the game on Gamesplanet, hacking into it to remove certain identifiers like Gamesplanet logos and add the Nacon logo on certain splash screens, and then republishing the altered version of the game to Steam. Additionally, Frogwares notes that the version on Steam is the “Deluxe” version of the game — with extra content added that Nacon never had the license to distribute in the first place.

Frogwares specifically calls out Neopica, a Belgian studio behind games like the Hunting Simulator titles and Euro Truck Racing Championship that was acquired by Nacon late last year, as having a hand in the alteration of The Sinking City. Meanwhile, the studio says it does not believe either Gamesplanet or Steam were aware of the situation, saying that Nacon likely purchased the game legally from Gamesplanet and that Steam did not know the version uploaded to its servers was hacked.

The two companies remain in a legal battle in French courts over contract breaches, missed payments, intellectual property ownership, and more — with Frogwares saying it will now be adding pirachy and theft of intellectual property to the list of charges.

IGN has reached out to Nacon for comment.

Original story: The Sinking City has returned to Steam following its removal across multiple digital platforms, but developer Frogwares has said it did not create this version and that it does not recommend that anyone purchase it.

Frogwares took to Twitter to share this update, promising that more news was on the way soon regarding their warning.

“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.” The developer wrote.

The Sinking City was removed from Steam, the Epic Games Store, and the digital storefronts of Xbox One and PS4 on August 25, 2020, following Frogwares’ legal disputes with publisher BigBen Interactive and Nacon.

Frogwares accused these companies of repeatedly breaching contract, withholding at least €1 million in royalties, falsely implying ownership of the IP, and more.

During development of The Sinking City, Frogware alleged that BigBen and Nacon would pay for production milestones around 40 days later that agreed upon. Furthermore, these companies demanded that they be given the source code for The Sinking City despite their agreement saying that they could only sell the game and that they did not own the IP.

When Frogwares declined, they said BigBen and Nacon stopped providing payments for four months.

Frogwares began a legal battle with BigBen and Nacon in August 2019 over these issues and many more, including concerns over Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes games.

The Sinking City, which is inspired by the works of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, was released in 2019. In our review, we said, “The Sinking City’s creation of a new Lovecraftian vision paired with compelling stories, exciting environments, and memorable characters make for one of the better Cthulhu lore games I’ve played. Its commitment to tastefully updating the storytelling methods, while preserving the setting and tone of Lovecraft shines through the tedium and frustration.”

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.