Lovecraftian horror game The Sinking City has once again been pulled from Steam as part of the ongoing (and increasingly ugly) publishing dispute between the game’s developer, Frogwares, and its publisher, Nacon. The game released in June 2019, but was pulled from Steam and several other digital storefronts for months as a result of the legal conflict. The French courts eventually allowed Nacon to sell The Sinking City again while a final decision on whether or not Frogwares is legally obligated to deliver the Steam version of the game was still pending.
The Sinking City appeared on Steam again in late February, and Frogwares implored players not to buy it, alleging the game had been pirated and illegally modified by Nacon and provided its own proof. Nacon denied the accusation, stating:
“In line with the courts’ decision, Nacon has repeatedly and unsuccessfully requested that Frogwares make the game available on Steam, failing which it would apply a clause in the contract wherein such a case, the game would be adapted by a third party. Frogwares then attempted, 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. This is, therefore clear proof that no technical impossibility prevents the game from being put back on Steam.”
In response, Vice reports that Frogwares has issued a DMCA takedown of The Sinking City to have it removed from Steam. It succeeded; as of writing, searching for the game on Steam yields zero results. Valve’s VP of marketing Doug Lambardi also confirmed the company’s decision to remove the game from sale following Frogwares’ request.
Frogwares issued a formal statement on the takedown, telling Vice in part:
“Regarding our use of a DMCA to remove the game from Steam. We believe in a very short time, we were able to collect extremely strong evidence to indicate this version of the game was pirated and contains content that Nacon has absolutely no rights to – namely The Merciful Madness DLC. A DMCA notice proved to be our most effective tool to give us time to gain further potential evidence and to also start the required and lengthy additional legal processes to prevent this from happening again…”
Frogwares also points out that it could take months or even years for the French courts to render a final decision on the matter, so don’t expect this saga to wind down anytime soon.
If all of this controversy has made you curious about playing The Sinking City, you can still purchase the game on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch and PC via Origin and Gamesplanet.