The Sinking City studio accuses publisher of piracy in contract dispute

Developer Frogwares uploaded a video that alleges publisher Nacon pirated a copy of The Sinking City and altered it for resale.


The ongoing contract dispute between The Sinking City developer Frogwares and distribution partner Nacon has been going on for nearly a year and shows no sign of being resolved. This week, Frogwares alleged that Nacon obtained a copy of the game, altered the game’s code and assets, and illegally issued it for sale on digital storefronts.

Rumblings about the contract dispute went public last summer when The Sinking City was originally pulled from storefronts by Frogwares after they claimed Nacon missed contracted payments and withheld sales information. The dispute has continued into 2021 and the developer has accused Nacon of selling a pirated version of the game. The studio uploaded a video explaining their side of the altercation yesterday.

Frogwares had released a version of the game that was exclusive to digital retailer Gamesplanet and believed Nacon modified this version to sell on their own. The video goes over the evidence that Nacon altered splash screens to remove Gamesplanet imagery. It also explains how the game’s executable was modified. Frogwares claim that their own digital encryption key was used to unlock the game files and explains how the version of The Sinking City that went up on Steam on February 26 lacked a digital signature.

The studio also shows evidence that implicates Nacon partner studios in the modification of the Gamesplanet build of The Sinking City. Screenshots from Steam’s developer tool suite show where Nacon generated thousands of additional game keys for sale on third-party platforms. While the version of the game currently on Steam appears to be the original release, Frgowares says it also includes all of the available DLC content because Nacon acquired the Deluxe Edition release from Gamesplanet prior to redistribution. 

Nacon released a statement on Steam today explaining that The Sinking City was only complete as a result of their funding and advertising efforts and that Frogwares wanted to alter the original contracts. They say that the game cannot make use of Steam Achievements due to a lack of cooperation from Frogwares. They insist Frogwares was paid millions of Euros and that the studio should respect its contractual commitments and orders of the courts.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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