Frogwares, developers of umpteen Sherlock Holmes games and the recent The Sinking City, are embroiled in a public dispute with publisher Focus Home Interactive. In a statement released via their own site, Frogwares allege that Focus are removing their older games from sale on various digital platforms, and refusing to transfer title IDs to them "evne though our Publishing and Distribution Agreement has expired." Frogwares also say more of their games will disappear in the days ahead.
The games affected are The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Vs. Jack The Ripper and Magrunner: Dark Pulse. Mostly they're disappearing from sale on older consoles, as Frogwares self-published many of them on Steam, and The Sinking City is also safe as it was published by Bigben. Frogwares say that Sherlock Holmes Crimes & Punishments will disappear from Steam on September 29th, however.
According to Frogwares, Focus are saying that it's their policy not to transfer ownership of games on digital distribution platforms. As per Frogwares' above linked blog post:
"Focus Home Interactive, the licensee (or “publisher”) that was in charge of commercializing these games on these platforms, refuses to transfer the title IDs to us, the creators and IP owners of those titles, even though our Publishing and Distribution Agreement has expired.
According to their official statement, sent to us only last week, “Focus has put in place a policy in accordance with which they will not transfer any title – the content ID or title ID – belonging to any developer which has removed all of their games from the Focus catalogue”."
We've reached out to Focus Home Interactive for comment.
John didn't get along well with the game based on his Sherlock Holmes Crime & Punishments review 5 years ago, but Frogwares' Holmes games have their fans.