The Sinking City udkom sidste år, men allerede kort forinden slap det ud, at forholdet imellem udvikleren Frogwares og udgiver Big Ben Interactive/Nacon var relativt køligt, og at udgiveren tilsyneladende allerede dengang havde ignoreret forespørgsler om at få udbetalt de penge som kontrakten på daværende tidspunkt foreskrev.
Siden da er det ikke ligefrem gået bedre, for Frogwares tyer nu til offentligheden, og forklarer hvorfor at The Sinking City i skrivende stund er ved at blive taget offline fra diverse digitale salgsplatforme. Det skyldes simpelthen, at der, i noget tid, har været en retsag igang, hvor Frogwares har forsøgt at afslutte aftalen imellem de to. Retten dømte i Frogwares' favør d. 17 juli, men angiveligt er der stadig mange steder der forkert angiver Big Ben som værende rettighedsindehaveren til The Sinking City, og dermed får de en portion af salget. Netop derfor skrider Frogwares nu selv til handling, og fjerner spillet.
At opsummere ville kræve en afhandling, men du kan læse nogle udpluk af den lange tekst, som Frogwares har offentliggjort her, hvor de blandt andet slår fast, Nacon løbende har ignoreret deres forespørgsler på at få udleveret salgsdata. Desuden skylder de dem omtrent €1 million for deres udførte arbejde.
"During production, BBI/Nacon was hundreds and hundreds of days behind in payments in total. Each sum due on average being 40 days late, while our milestones were always on time and approved by the licensee. We had to issue formal notices multiple times so that we were able to receive the money that was owed to us. The lack of commitment to honor the financial obligations soon turned into ongoing pressure. Once BBI/Nacon bought out a competing studio working on another Lovecraftian game, they dictated that we give them our source code for The Sinking City. Once again, BBI/Nacon does not own the IP - they are a licensee. They sell the game - not develop and co-create it. After we refused to comply, we stopped receiving financial contributions for over 4 months. "
"We filed a lawsuit against Bigben/Nacon on August 2019 and, incidentally, only then we started to receive income reports, though incomplete and undocumented. So it was not possible for us to see if the revenue was correctly calculated or even how many units we sold. At some point we received a statement claiming that one of the console manufacturers hasn't paid royalties for more than 5 months, while actually the same console manufacturer paid our royalties from other games without any delay in the same period of time. Furthermore, we were surprised to find that copyright notices on box covers and storefront pages were legally incorrect, creating a perception that it was not Frogwares which was the owner of the IP. "
"The agreement is, therefore, terminated without further formality. Moreover, on July 17, 2020, Nacon attempted to oppose the termination in court, but the judge rejected the demand, and the contract is now terminated in the eyes of the law. However, while there's no need for BBI/Nacon to formally acknowledge the termination, the former licensee has created a perception that it is they who still own The Sinking City, and so various partners and platforms are sometimes confused, overly cautious or preemptively delist the game themselves while dealing with our requests to return full control of the game to Frogwares. Given these breaches, ongoing hurdles and an unwillingness to cooperate, Frogwares last resort was to request the removal of The Sinking City from any remaining stores to at least halt any further sales going to BBI/Nacon."