Frogwares has issued a public statement detailing how the actions of former licensee partner BigBen Interactive / Nacon has led to the delisting of The Sinking City from multiple storefronts.
The statement comes at a time when Frogwares is officially celebrating 20 years of video game development. In celebration, the team set up sales across multiple platforms and stores for some of its most known games. However, The Sinking City is not one of these games and has instead been noticeably removed from multiple stores.
Wael Amr, CEO at Frogwares, said:
“We did our best to deal with this quietly and amicably but to no avail. Even after court rulings in our favour we are still being roadblocked in simply being allowed to sell our own game. Fans of our games keep asking for answers and quite frankly we are so tired not being allowed to tell them the honest truth. Hence our public statement.”
Frogwares has also shared some details about its unhealthy partnership with Bigben Interactive/Nacon.
“We asked on multiple occasions to see sales forecasts, but the figures sent to us were not consistent. We weren’t sure of how potential sales could turn out, meaning that we were not able to properly plan our future. Were there any sales deals arranged? We were not sure. Only the exclusivity agreement with Epic Games Store gave us some respite, as we knew what we would receive due to the minimum guarantees in Epic’s contract.
On June 27, 2019, The Sinking City came out on Xbox One, PS4, and Epic Games Store. That was a great day for us. And once the game was released, we received a letter from Bigben/Nacon that the milestones that were previously approved are being canceled, meaning that we would not receive any profit from the sales of the game. A retroactive cancellation on not delivering a product on time that is already out in the market is not acceptable. That was when our legal battle began.
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.
Our Frogwares logo was removed from some of the PS4 and Xbox One game’s cover and other marketing materials and we only were mentioned on the reverse side with the technical partners, again, creating a perception that we were neither the authors, nor the owners of the game.
Dozens of domain names for our Sherlock Holmes and The Sinking City brands were bought by Bigben/Nacon without notifying us. “
You can read Frogware’s full public statement here. Nacon has not responded yet to Frogwares’ allegations.