The Sinking City developer Frogwares and the game’s publisher Nacon have been fighting each other in the public field for a while. While their dispute is yet to be judged in court, there are some new details about the conflict.

The article was published by the French website Gamekult on April 20. The full version is under a paywall, but ResetEra user Mass_Pincup wrote key takeaways from the report.

The investigation dives deep into the history of the Frogwares’ and Nacon’s relationship. To have a better understanding of the situation, Gamekult spoke with both companies’ employees.

How it all started?

  • Frogwares was working with Focus Home Interactive before it decided to partner with another publisher (Nacon) on Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter.
  • Frogwares left because Focus Home replaced them with another studio, Cyanide, to develop Call of Cthulhu.
  • Frogwares still wanted to create its own Lovecraft-inspired game and pitched The Sinking City to Nacon.
  • Cyanide was acquired by Nacon in 2018, and that’s when the relationship between the publisher and Frogwares cracked.
  • The studio reportedly couldn’t fully trust Nacon from this moment and minimized the communication with the publisher.

Brief timeline

  • Frogwares claimed that the publisher didn’t pay it enough royalties, as Nacon didn’t provide the financial data.
  • According to Nacon, Frogwares has been asking for commercial information, which could be used by other publishers. The company was afraid that the studio would release The Sinking City independently.
  • Frogwares thinks that Nacon didn’t spend enough money on the game’s marketing.
  • The publisher also claimed that it had no idea that Frogwares was developing the Switch version of the game. The studio reportedly kept spending Nacon’s money to self-publish it eventually, so Nacon earned nothing from it.
  • Frogwares accused Nacon of late payments despite achieving certain milestones. Both companies also argued about the split of the money for the Epic Games Store exclusivity.
  • Nacon accused Frogwares of not providing materials to create trailers. The studio, on the other hand, claimed that it didn’t want to give them to Nacon. Developers were afraid that the publisher would steal the source code.

Last month, Frogwares publicly claimed that Nacon “pirated” The Sinking City, while the publisher said that the studio is just playing the victim. The game disappeared from Steam later after the DMCA strike.

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