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May 14, 2021
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The Sinking City dev accuses publisher of releasing pirated copy on Steam

March 1, 2021 | By Alissa McAloon

Though the publishing dispute is far from settled, The Sinking City returned to Steam earlier this year, however the game's developer Frogwares was quick to caution players against buying the Steam version it said at the time was an illegitimate and incomplete version of the game.

Now, Frogwares has made good on its promise to deliver more evidence to back that accusation up. The developer shared a 9 minute long video today outlining things in The Sinking City's new Steam version that seem to indicate Nacon altered and republished a copy of the game sold by a different distributor.

The video, embedded above, points to things like the absence of Frogwares' logo on an intro splash screen and missing text and ads on The Sinking City's main menu as initial evidence that something suspicious is going on.

Diving deeper, the devs poked at the files within the Steam-hosted version to uncover where it originally sold, GamesPlanet, and how the Nacon was able to replace the GamesPlanet logo with their own by renaming their file to match the logo file originally included in the game.

Frogwares argues that the absence of the main menu ad that would normally point players to other Frogwares games also indicates that the game is no longer pinging an online server to verify which version is running, something Frogwares says it included as a deliberate "nonintrusive security measure made especially for pirates and hackers."

A handful of other examples, including the lack of Frogwares' digital signature and context surrounding how the game was uploaded to Steam, can be found in the video above.

Nacon hasn't made a statement since Frogwares published the piracy accusations the accompanying promise to show that evidence to the French court currently working its way through the publishing dispute. However the publisher once known as Bigben Interactive did share a statement to The Sinking City's Steam page after Frogwares told players not to buy the Steam version last week.

In that statement, found here, Nacon argued that it has paid over 10 million euros to Frogwares throughout the development of the game, and that the current dispute between the two companies is the result of Frogwares' attempt to "revise the terms of the contract to their sole advantage."

"In regards to feedback on the release of The Sinking City on Steam, this is an official and complete version," reads Nacon's statement. "However, due to a lack of cooperation with Frogwares, we are unable to integrate Steam-specific features (cloud saving/achievements). Thus, this version contains only the base game, without any additional content. Despite this, we have organized the release so that fans on Steam can enjoy the game."

However it is worth calling out that Frogwares says the version of the game it accuses Nacon of purchasing from GamesPlanet and repacking with their own branding is actually the deluxe version of the game, which includes additional content developed post-release.

"Nacon didn't pay for this content or even try to discuss it with us," says Frogwares. "Nacon is therefore stealing additional content from the game that is outside the contract we have with them."

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