Following a dispute with its publishing partner Focus Home Interactive, prolific Sherlock Holmes game developer Frogwares has announced that most of its back catalog has been removed from digital storefronts. On PC, the Steam listing for 2014's Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments was transferred from Focus to Frogwares, but the game has been removed from current and previous gen Xbox and PlayStation storefronts.
"The outcome is pretty bleak, and we are now fighting an uphill battle, trying to resubmit our games back on their stores where possible," says Frogwares CEO Wael Amr in the company's new statement. "We are forever grateful for the sheer amount of public and industry-wide support we got, and we truly appreciate everyone who added their voice to the issue."
On September 26, Frogwares released a public letter claiming the studio was "under threat" due to Focus Home Interactive's refusal to transfer digital storefront titles back to the developer. A Frogwares representative told USG that the developer began trying to negotiate transfers prior to the expiration of their agreements with Focus Home Interactive in May 2019. In the letter, Frogwares claimed Focus Home Interactive only issued an official statement to the developer in mid September 2019, asserting that the publisher would "not transfer any title—the content ID or title ID—belonging to any developer which has removed all of their games from the Focus catalog." Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments was slated for removal from all digital storefronts on September 29.
Frogwares says that of nine of the ten store listings it had under Focus Home Interactive have been removed, which includes the four console platforms (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One) for Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments, as well as previous generation console listings for the Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper, and Magrunner: Dark Pulse.
Focus Home Interactive is a prolific publisher based in France. Recent titles published by the company include The Surge 2, GreedFall, Vampyr, and A Plague Tale: Innocence. The publisher has not responded to USG's request for comment.
In addition to retaining the Steam listing for Crimes and Punishments, Frogwares has also released the game on GOG and has made a free digital booklet looking back at the studio's various Sherlock Holmes games. Frogwares' recent releases—The Sinking City and Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter—were published under Bigben Interactive.