The strange saga of The Sinking City continues, with developer Frogwares accusing publisher Nacon of pirating the game and releasing a hacked version of the game on Steam.
Over the weekend, the developers warned customers not to purchase the Steam version of the game with more news promised later in the week. In a blog post released on Tuesday, Frogwares further detailed how Nacon allegedly “stole, hacked, changed the source code, and tried to cover up the reporting trail” when the game returned to Steam in February.
Problems first arose with the Lovecraftian adventure when Frogwares accused Nacon of breaching its publishing contract. The conflict stemmed from claims Nacon hadn’t paid royalties or production costs in a timely manner and therefore had breached their agreement. Frogwares also claimed that Nacon attempted to take ownership of the source code despite not having any rights to it.
After the game was briefly taken down, the horror adventure returned to Steam on February 27. This sparked backlash from Frogwares, who went on to detail how Nacon allegedly cracked and illegally uploaded the game without their knowledge or permission.
According to the developer, Nacon purchased a copy of the game via Gamesplanet and uploaded it to Steam with modified game files.
Notable changes pointed out in the blog include logo and loading screen replacement and removal of advertising for Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, one of Frogwares’ upcoming titles. An altered executable file and a difference in file sizes alerted Frogwares to the changes and brought them to the conclusion that Nacon had decompiled and ‘hacked’ the game using a secret key. Frogwares allege a programmer with ‘serious skills’ would be needed for such a hack to occur — and initial investigations revealed Neopica, a Nacon-owned developer, may have had a part in the creation of the new Steam version of the game.
As noted by the developer, the “Deluxe Version” uploaded also contained additional digital content that hadn’t been paid for as part of Frogwares’ contract with Nacon.
In the blog post detailing the alleged theft, Frogwares indicated it would be taking the matter further with a return to the French law courts. “There are long term damages we need to take care of, Nacon unpacked our data, stole our source code and used it. Nacon can create a new version of The Sinking City using our assets; they can resell, reuse, recycle our content and our tools etc.” Sergey Oganesyan, Marketing Manager at Frogwares wrote.
“We have to take the measure of what happened now and follow the best path on the legal side to prevent anything like this happening again.”
As of writing, the Steam version is still available although its review score is plummeting as players voice their support for Frogwares. Given the ongoing legal concerns, it’s expected this version of Sinking City may be removed in future. Stay tuned for further developments.