Ukrainian developer Frogwares says publisher Nacon cracked down on his game The Sinking City and illegally released it on Steam. The two parties previously had an agreement, but it has been cancelled. The companies have been arguing for some time.
The Sinking City has been on Steam since the end of February, under the name of publisher Nacon and with developer Frogwares. The developer says since the release of the Steam version that players who don’t have to buy, because it is not the official version.
According to Frogwares, publisher Nacon bought the game on Gamesplanet, cracked that version and then submitted a pirated copy to Valve, that version is now available on Steam. In a video on YouTube and in a blog post, the developer explains how they think that exactly happened.
Nacon, known a year ago as Bigben Interactive, has been trying to get the master of the game through lawsuits for some time, but twice a French judge has ruled that Frogwares does not have to hand it over to the publisher. There is still a lawsuit pending over Nacon’s publishing of the Steam version, which will be decided in the coming months or years, according to Frogwares.
Frogwares has analyzed the version that is now on Steam and sees traces that prove it is the version of the game that the developer released on Gamesplanet. Nacon cracked the game, removed logos and modified the executable. The publisher also needed an encryption key for that, and Frogwares says it is known how the company got its hands on it. The developer does not provide details about this, but the studio wants to provide this as evidence in a lawsuit.
According to Frogwares, Nacon copied the Deluxe version of the game and put it on Steam. It contains DLC released after the partnership between Frogwares and Nacon came to an end. The Ukrainian developer therefore accuses the French publisher of stealing this content.
According to Eurogamer, Nacon says in a response that Steam only contains the regular version of the game and that the publisher has the right to publish it. Nacon says he paid more than ten million euros to Frogwares for the development of the game. According to the publisher, the studio wants to revise the terms of the contract in their own favor. According to Nacon, the Steam version is an official release and not a pirated copy.
The Sinking City came out in 2019, but after the game came out, Frogwares and Nacon got into an argument over payouts and entitlements. Frogwares broke the partnership with the publisher and removed the game from digital download stores. According to the studio, payments were hundreds of days behind schedule and Nacon only had the right to publish the game, while the publisher says it also has rights to intellectual property.
Update, Wednesday: The game has since been removed from Steam. It is not known whether Valve has done so. The parties involved have not reported anything about this.