Frogwares' dispute with Nacon/Bigben, the publisher for its Lovecraftian horror title The Sinking City, looks like it will continue on in court. Today, Nacon has issued a stern response to the developer's claims about the companies' relationship and the series of events that led to The Sinking City's sudden delisting on Xbox One, PS4, Steam, and the Epic Games Store.
Yesterday, Frogwares' Sergey Oganesyan published an open letter to the developer's website, alleging a troubled partnership with Nacon marred by delayed payments, inconsistent sales reporting, and an attempt from the publisher to have Frogwares turn over The Sinking City's source code to another developer working on a similarly themed title. Frogwares also claims Nacon retroactively canceled milestones it had approved, which would mean the developers "would not receive any profit from the sales of the game." The developer says it then terminated its contract with Nacon, to which Nacon responded by saying France's emergency COVID-19 business protection laws prevented such action.
In a statement sent to USgamer, Nacon rejects Frogwares' letter and accuses the developer of acting in an unprofessional manner:
A dispute between NACON and FROGWARES over the interpretation of the "Sinking City" video game publishing agreement is pending before French courts. A decision is not expected for several months. However, FROGWARES thought it necessary to anticipate the upcoming ruling by issuing a press release on their website and Twitter feed, which reflects a personal and erroneous interpretation of the content of the agreement and the nature of this dispute. NACON emphatically rejects this open letter, the terms of which do not square with the facts. FROGWARES is seeking to discredit NACON in the eyes of the public and professionals alike (even going so far as disclosing confidential information!) and to jeopardise the distribution of "The Sinking City", the development of which was principally funded by NACON. This behaviour, unworthy of any professional, is unacceptable and NACON intends to take legal action so as to get them convicted and obtain redress. NACON is confident about the outcome of the dispute, irrespective of the tricks used by FROGWARES to cause them harm
So, it appears there's no resolution close at hand that will result in The Sinking City being restored to the platforms it's delisted on. In the meantime, it's still available for purchase on Nintendo Switch and for PC through Origin, Gamesplanet, and direct sale via Frogwares. This comes less than a year after much of Frogwares' back catalogue, published under Focus Home Interactive, was removed from console storefronts after an unrelated contract dispute.
Frogwares is currently developing a prequel entry in its long line of Sherlock Holmes titles, which it plans to self-publish next year.