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Why This Developer Doesn't Want You To Buy Its Game

Frogwares, the developer behind the upcoming Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, doesn't want you to buy the Steam version its most recent game, the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired The Sinking City. On Twitter, the company has announced to fans, "Frogwares has not created the version of @TheSinkingCity that is today on sale on @Steam. We do not recommend the purchase of this version. More news soon."


Frogwares has not elaborated on just what exactly is different about this version of The Sinking City. However, Frogwares' issues with the game's development cycle and release has been well documented.

What's most surprising about The Sinking City's availability on Steam is that the game was previously removed from digital storefronts due to legal issues. In August 2020, Frogwares released an open letter explaining that The Sinking City had been taken down from the PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store, and Steam. Frogwares explained that a court case was pending between the developer and publisher Nacon (formerly BigBen Interactive). 

According to Frogwares' statement, the publisher was consistently late on payments that were promised upon reaching certain production milestones. Additionally, Frogwares claims that the publisher demanded a copy of the game's source code, then ceased paying Frogwares for multiple months when the developer refused. Nacon has since denied these claims in a statement issued to IGN. The publisher also insisted that this whole ordeal would eventually be settled in court, but that it could take months.


Although the court case is still ongoing, Nacon did manage to snag a victory within the last few months. The Paris Court of Appeal found Frogwares to be in breach of its original contract and allowed Nacon to re-list The Sinking City on digital platforms.

After Frogwares asked fans not to buy the Steam version of the game, Polygon spotted one case where the re-release may have resulted in a bit of embarrassment on Nacon's part. Since Steam listings pull from a developer's Twitter feed to deliver news updates, the page for The Sinking City briefly displayed Frogwares' tweet warning gamers against the title. That tweet has since been removed from the Steam listing.

As for the original tweet, fans of Frogwares have been blowing up the comments section. Most of them are asking for some kind of clarification regarding the nature of the Steam release. Some believe that Nacon has released an early build of the game which doesn't reflect Frogwares' vision. Whatever the case, it appears as though this dispute is only going to get more complicated as the legal battle between Frogwares and Nacon continues.