The Sinking City - Removed from Stores

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GameWatcher reports that The Sinking City has been removed from stores due to breach of contract.

The Sinking City Removed From Stores

Frogwares would receive payment for various production milestones and a share of the revenue once the game hit the market. The trouble, claims the developer, began shortly after. "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." read the statement from Frogwares.

"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." it continued.

To avoid confusion, Bigben Interactive rebranded its video game publishing arm as Nacon last year while also melding it with its peripheral business. For the purposes of this article, both names refer to the same entity.

Frogwares asked to see The Sinking City's sales forecasts only to receive documents which it labels as being "inconsistent" and impossible to use in predicting sales.

[...]
More information.
 
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If you have any interest in copyrights, publishers, or 'industry standards' you should read this. What a complete mess.

http://frogwares.com/the-sinking-city-is-being-delisted-heres-why/

My favorite part is the publisher invoking the Covid Emergency laws after completely bullshitting everything else. Brilliant stroke of skulduggery and assholery.
 
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Forgot to add…
if you actually don't have a copy yet and want one you can get it

From their website (stores.frogwares.com) and requires their launcher or that crappy Orgin thing.

Edit :
Frogware lied. Its not DRM free from the website. Thanks @azsinistar;

"Despite being listed as DRM-free on the storefront, the game uses an account-based DRM and requires installation and launching through the Frogwares Launcher"

Verified by User:Aemony on 2020-07-01 - "Verified myself by purchasing the game through the official website. The Frogwares Launcher looks to be a variant of the Xsolla Launcher, and is seemingly only used to launch and update The Sinking City. Launching the game outside of the launcher is not possible as the executables throws the error message: "Please use Frogwares Launcher to launch the game."
 
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Full-spectrum scumbaggery.

Bloody stupid though - surely this will damage their business. Perhaps these publishers think nobody will ever dare talk.
 
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Full-spectrum scumbaggery.

Bloody stupid though - surely this will damage their business. Perhaps these publishers think nobody will ever dare talk.

Unless you have the twitterati on you for some perceived slight based on social issue, most people don't/won't care. The fact we are reading this is amazing. In a year people will be purchasing from Ben/Nacon

But hey, post a tweet from 2006 that shows you shaking hands with a the wrong person and it'll be front page news that you are a racist homophobe sexual predator 1%er that should be shot/killed/maimed/cancelled etc. :)
 
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Unless you have the twitterati on you for some perceived slight based on social issue, most people don't/won't care. The fact we are reading this is amazing. In a year people will be purchasing from Ben/Nacon

But hey, post a tweet from 2006 that shows you shaking hands with a the wrong person and it'll be front page news that you are a racist homophobe sexual predator 1%er that should be shot/killed/maimed/cancelled etc. :)

Yikes! Though I wasn't thinking about widespread public outrage and boycotts. Inside the industry though, I think this will be heard pretty loudly, and remembered. If I were a small studio looking for a publisher, I would reclassify them as, "only if you're completely out of options", and warn my friends. And previously, I'd thought Big Ben sounded like an interesting mid-budget publisher.
 
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Yes, I'd like to hear the other side of the story as well. Maybe Frogware's 100% correct in their story, but I've seen too many sob stories in the past which portray one side as the devil incarnate only for it to turn out to be complete fabrications for me to not want to hear both sides first.
 
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It is pretty common for publishers to nickel and dime developers as much as possible. It really isn't unlikely that it would happen twice.
 
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This kind of publisher behavior was going on since time immemorial.. Also the game is AAA quality and during the years and years of development a massive amount of work went into this one! So The Sinking City is obviously worth a LOT of money!! Salaries, content creation software, in addition to the price of the souped up engine + game systems, etc.. many millions of dollaros are being disputed here!
 
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Many publishers have ripped off their developers this way for decades. Strategy First was about the most notorious. The Sirtech lawsuits have cited an important precedent that's often brought up in legal opinions now. We all know what happened with Bioware and Interplay/Black Isle.
Its such a believable story that it makes you wonder why anyone would use this model to make games anymore with crowdfounding and electronic publishing being so prevalent now.

But the fact that they are lying about their website version being DRM free and this is magically the second this is happened with as many publishers makes their story suspicious at best.
 
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Kinda agree about there being two sides to every public controversy. Though at this point with all the info available the publisher sounds like the suspicious one I agree.
 
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Many publishers have ripped off their developers this way for decades. Strategy First was about the most notorious. The Sirtech lawsuits have cited an important precedent that's often brought up in legal opinions now. We all know what happened with Bioware and Interplay/Black Isle.
Its such a believable story that it makes you wonder why anyone would use this model to make games anymore with crowdfounding and electronic publishing being so prevalent now.

But the fact that they are lying about their website version being DRM free and this is magically the second this is happened with as many publishers makes their story suspicious at best.

Yes, I do think it's possible they've been badly treated twice, and this sort of nonsense certainly goes on. And, if they've won the rights back in court, and there's court records, that lends some credibility to their claim, which I was ready to accept at face value. But, when I look at their two blog posts side by side, it makes my nose twitch a little.
 
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I'm trying to understand what useful function publishers actually perform these days. I know it used to be producing media and manuals and boxes and making deals with stores and distributors to get those boxes onto shelves where people could see them. Today, however, it's putting up pages on a couple of sites like Steam and GOG. If all publishers are doing is sending out Steam keys to youtubers and hyping things on social media then it seems like there would be less... exploitative ways to accomplish that than dealing with a publisher.

Are things different somehow on consoles?
 
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I'm trying to understand what useful function publishers actually perform these days. I know it used to be producing media and manuals and boxes and making deals with stores and distributors to get those boxes onto shelves where people could see them. Today, however, it's putting up pages on a couple of sites like Steam and GOG. If all publishers are doing is sending out Steam keys to youtubers and hyping things on social media then it seems like there would be less… exploitative ways to accomplish that than dealing with a publisher.

Are things different somehow on consoles?

They can still be useful, if it's a good deal with reputable people. Probably the major factor is still simply investment - they will invest in the studio to complete the game, as Frogware mentions when discussing how they were supposed to receive more cash as various milestones of development were reached.

They also often take care of marketing and promotion, representing the game at trade shows, having contacts in the media to get the game discussed, and so on. Getting a game noticed in the sea of releases out there is a huge challenge.

With regard to consoles, they can also be helpful, because getting a console devkit and being accepted on their stores can be difficult. Although engines like Unreal can build for console platforms, what they don't tell you is that you first need to have the game accepted by the console manufacturers, and only then do you get access to the tech that lets you export for that platform. Publishers can often get that done much more easily, and even sometimes take care of the console porting.

So, there are reasons why they still make some sense.
 
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If I were a small studio looking for a publisher, I would reclassify them as, "only if you're completely out of options", and warn my friends.
Hard to imagine my options being so few that getting raped in an alley and robbed would look attractive.
 
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Hard to imagine my options being so few that getting raped in an alley and robbed would look attractive.

The way I look at it, as soon as you sign up with a publisher, there's some risk of that. I just sort of rank them as different possible alleys - from the safer looking ones, to the darkest and dodgiest.
 
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The classic model for a video game publisher was: give developer seed money and a contract; developer makes games; publisher distributes game and collects revenue from sales; publisher keeps all the revenue and does not pay contractually obligated royalties to developer; developer tries to hire a lawyer; lawyer declines because they see from the developer's books they have no money; developer goes out of business; publisher claims they own the game and the Intellectual Property that goes with it.

Its classic because it's also old. JP Morgan did this too.
 
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