After disappearing from digital storefronts last year, Lovecraftian RPG The Sinking City has returned to Steam. However, developers Frogwares have warned fans not to buy it, because it supposedly isn't the version of the game they made. It seems as though the current Steam version was put on the platform by Nacon, The Sinking City's publisher, who Frogwares have been in a long and messy legal dispute with over the game's ownership.
In August last year, Frogwares released a statement alleging that Nacon withheld payments during the game's development, owed Frogwares around €1 million in royalties (about £900,000), and wrongly tried to claim copyright of The Sinking City. Some storefronts had already begun to remove the game due to what Frogwares believed was confusion over ownership, then the developers themselves took the game down from remaining stores to stop sales from going to Nacon. At the time, Nacon "emphatically" rejected the developer's claims, and said the dispute was still pending before French courts.
In October, however, those courts found that Frogwares had unlawfully terminated their contract with Nacon when they removed the game from sale, and would have to stick to it until the legal dispute was settled. The Sinking City then returned to Xbox and the Microsoft Store in January. Frogwares released it on Steam again too, except that version mysteriously disappeared again shortly after.
Now, however, it's back again - but it's supposedly a different version to what was released in January.
"Frogwares has not created the version of The Sinking City that is today on sale on Steam. We do not recommend the purchase of this version. More news soon," Frogwares posted on Twitter.
It seems The Sinking City which is currently available on Steam is an old build of the game. One Steam review claims that it's not the same version released by Frogwares in January, and is lacking DLC, cloud saves and achievements. It's unclear if Nacon are the ones who put it on Steam, though judging from Frogwares' tweet, that's the implication at the moment.
This sure is a messy one. I've contacted Frogwares and Nacon, and will update this post if I get a response.