Frogwares, the studio locked in a bitter dispute with publisher Nacon over its game, The sinking city, used a DMCA claim to have it removed from the Steam storefront, a Valve spokesperson confirmed.
For Vice Tuesday night, Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi said Steam “received a DMCA takedown notice” for the version of The sinking city sent by Nacon, the one Frogwares calls a pirated and pirated copy of his game. “So we have responded to that notice,” Lombardi said.
The sinking city It is no longer searchable from Steam, and external links to the game’s product page now redirect to the main storefront.
In a statement provided to Polygon, Frogwares said that the version for sale on Steam “contains content over which Nacon has absolutely no rights, namely The Merciful Madness DLC.” The studio said it submitted the DMCA takedown lawsuit to Valve because it was “our most effective tool in giving us time to obtain more potential evidence and also to initiate the necessary and lengthy additional legal processes to prevent this from happening again.
A Nacon spokesperson directed Polygon to a statement the publisher gave Tuesday about the controversy and declined to comment further on the removal of the Steam DMCA.
“In the past, Frogwares has improperly relied on allegations of non-payment to refuse delivery of the game on Steam, at which point they tried to terminate the contract without success,” Nacon said in his statement. Nacon said that “despite this lockdown situation created exclusively by Frogwares,” he still made the game available to players on Steam (at least until Tuesday’s removal) and that he would pay royalties to Frogwares from those sales.
“By encouraging the gaming community via Twitter not to buy the game on Steam, Frogwares is once again sabotaging our investments in the game,” Nacon said.
A representative for Frogwares pointed out to Polygon that The Merciful Madness “was first made for the Nintendo Switch version of The sinking cityWhich was released in the fall of 2019, two months after the PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One versions released by Nacon. That version of The sinking city “It belongs to Frogwares in its entirety,” said the studio representative. “When Frogwares was able to release the game on other platforms, like PS5 (in February) or through Gamesplanet, they included that DLC.”
Last summer, Frogwares and Nacon went to court in France (where Nacon is based; Frogwares is based in Kiev, Ukraine) in a dispute over royalties from The sinking city. An appeals court ruled in October that Frogwares illegally terminated his contract with Nacon. Although the litigation continues, a judge told Frogwares to “refrain from any action for breach of this contract” as well as “any action that would prevent this continuation.”
With that failure, Nacon returned to online stores, such as Steam, to start selling The sinking city again. However, to do so, Nacon says he was entitled to a full version of the Frogwares game. Frogwares disputes that, and is discussing it in court, in a case that the study says could take years to resolve. So, Frogwares alleges, Nacon took matters into his own hands to sell the game itself, resulting in the version that Frogwares considers “pirated” and “pirated.”
Update (March 3): The Frogwares representative has provided additional comments on the study, explaining their side of the dispute.
The Frogwares developers note that in the legal dispute, “Nacon made two attempts to get a separate court to order Frogwares [to] deliver Steam Master version [of The Sinking City]. Both attempts were rejected by the courts. “
Therefore, “any updated version of the game that Nacon uploads to Steam could not have come from us,” said Frogwares. “The Steam version, on a technicality, is in legal limbo, and instead of working with us on a compromise … or wait [for] In the final verdict of the trial court, Nacon chose to decipher a version of the game that we legitimately provided to a partner (Gamesplanet), added DLC that they had no right to, whatsoever, and tried to cover their tracks by removing various marks of water and identification logos. “
Frogwares clarified that the versions of The sinking city available on Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop, Origin and Gamesplanet ”are all published by Frogwares. Our contract with Nacon never mentioned these platforms. ”The studio also added that more platforms are likely to appear in the near future.