Despite the ongoing legal challenges between Nacon (formerly Big Ben) and Frogwares, The Sinking City is returning to digital storefronts after being delisted last year. The game was pulled in August 2020 due to disputes between publisher Nacon and developer Frogwares. This was a little more than a year after it first launched in summer 2019.
At the time it was pulled, Frogwares issued a statement alleging a breach of the publishing contract they had with Big Ben, who had recently merged with Nacon. The termination of the contract with the licensee led to the game’s license being revoked, and thus it being delisted from digital storefronts for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. Since that time, The Sinking City has been unavailable to purchase on those platforms, except for a few limited workarounds (such as for Nintendo Switch) where Frogwares self-published and handled the licensing.
The Sinking City’s return to digital storefronts today came through an announcement from Nacon. With much of the lawsuit still pending, a “first enforceable decision” was made at this time by French courts. This decision said that the termination of the contract was “manifestly unlawful” and that the continuation of the contract was prudent under precautionary measures. Due to this decision, Nacon has reached out to digital storefronts as the licensee to reinstate The Sinking City’s listing.
At this time, The Sinking City has yet to return to the PlayStation Store. Nacon says it should appear “at a later date” for both PlayStation players and on Steam. It has already been relisted and is available for purchase again on the Microsoft Store. Outside of the press release from Nacon about the relisting, neither Nacon nor Frogwares have commented on the decision to relist The Sinking City.
This isn’t the first legal dispute Frogwares has been in regarding licensing and publishing contracts. The developer previously faced issues with its Sherlock Holmes titles too. The persistent issues Frogwares have faced caused them to opt for the self-publishing route for all future titles in order to avoid further legal disputes. Their next game is a Sherlock Holmes prequel focused on the detective’s formative years.
If you are considering picking up The Sinking City now that it is available again, make sure you check out our review, as well as an interview with Frogwares into how they explored the line between good and evil with the Lovecraftian detective thriller.