Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ruined city returns to digital storefronts after dispute with publishers

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You may remember The Sinking City, a Lovecraftian horror game that launched in June 2019 with poor reviews (read ours here). The game was removed from the list in August 2020 due to an unpleasant contractual dispute between developer Frogwares and publisher BigBen Interactive / Nacon. After months of litigation, the French court ruled in favor of Nacon, and The Sinking City is back on sale on the Microsoft Store and will return to the PlayStation and PC storefronts “at a later date.”

The original dispute centers around an agreement reached between Frogwares and Nacon two years after production of The Sinking City began. According to Frogwares, he gave Nacon the right to sell / market the game in exchange for their funding. However, the intellectual property rights of Sinking City would still belong to Frogwares. The agreement also stipulated that Frogwares would receive payments from Nacon for each development milestone achieved.

The problems began shortly after the deal was struck, with Frogwares alleging that Nacon was consistently behind on milestone payments, provided inconsistent sales forecast data, and demanded The Sinking City source code to use in his own Lovecraft inspired project. Frogwares says the breaking point came after the game’s launch, when Nacon reportedly rolled back its previously approved milestones, meaning Frogwares would not make any profit from the sales of The Sinking City. Frogwares responded by filing a new complaint against Nacon.

Frogwares claimed a host of other issues, including deceptive marketing implicating Nacon as the game developer and Nacon’s refusal to pay Frogwares around $ 1 million in royalties, forced the studio to terminate its contract. ‘editing. Nacon responded by saying the contract could not be terminated, citing French emergency laws designed to protect businesses from the negative financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This led Frogwares to take matters into their own hands by demanding that The Sinking City be removed from the storefronts to which Nacon was responsible for selling the game (PSN, Microsoft Store, Steam, Epic Games Store) to prevent the publisher from receiving more funds. Sales. Since its removal, the game could only be purchased through the Nintendo eShop and other PC storefronts (like Origin) that Frogwares handled directly.

Today, a press release from Nacon announces that, despite the litigation still pending before the French courts, a first enforceable decision has been rendered in their favor:

“The Court ruled that Frogwares had terminated the contract in a ‘manifestly illegal’ manner and, consequently, ordered, as a ‘precautionary measure, the continuation of the contract (…) until its term or until that a decision be taken on the breach of this contract and ordered Frogwares Ireland to refrain from any action in the event of breach of this contract and ordered Frogwares Ireland to refrain from any action that would prevent this prosecution (…) ”.

What this basically means is that Frogwares must adhere to the terms of the original publishing contract for the time being. With this decision, Nacon now has the right to sell The Sinking City again.

The statement goes on to state that the online functionality of the game “depends on the goodwill of Frogwares to perform” and that their failure to do so does not reflect Nacon.

Needless to say, the whole situation is a mess that always gets sorted out. However, if you’ve missed out on The Sinking City, which puts players in the shoes of a private investigator investigating a flooded city to learn the meaning of his bizarre visions, you’ve got a second chance to give it a shot.


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