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The Sinking City Is Back In Digital Stores, But For How Long?

Single-player Lovecraftian action-adventure game The Sinking City was delisted from all but a select few digital platforms back in August 2020. Now, one "enforceable decision" by the Paris Court of Appeal later, The Sinking City is available again for Xbox One through the Microsoft Store and is scheduled to return to Steam and Sony's Playstation Store on later dates that have yet to be determined. There's no news regarding a return to the Epic Games Store, where it was once part of a Black Friday sale.

Both its delisting and relisting are the result of an ongoing lawsuit in which the game's developer Frogwares alleged that its publisher NACON (at one point called Bigben Interactive, until its parent company merged its two primary businesses into the now-singular NACON) breached the contract made between the two of them.

At the time of the lawsuit's onset, Frogwares effectively terminated their contract with NACON in light of the alleged breach. That process included all versions of the title that were published by NACON being delisted. However, Frogwares published The Sinking City to the Nintendo Switch eShop independently as part of a general company-wide shift into self-publishing, where it has remained downloadable. Copies of the game also remained listed through both Origin and Gamesplanet, suggesting that these versions, too, were published by Frogwares and not NACON.

However, as recounted in NACON's latest statement detailing the game's return to digital storefronts, the Paris Court of Appeal, through which the lawsuit is being litigated, determined that Frogwares terminated their contract unlawfully. As a result, they are now required to carry out the contract's terms unless the ongoing lawsuit does ultimately result in a guilty verdict for NACON.

Frogwares has yet to respond publicly to the return of The Sinking City to digital storefronts and declined to comment when asked by Polygon. Furthermore, as of this writing, their most recent activity on social media is dated Dec. 28, well before this news went public.

Considerable hype preceded the release of The Sinking City, and while it failed to live up to the promise many saw in its early trailers, it remains one of the better horror games to release in 2019.

A Steam page currently exists for The Sinking City that lists its release date as Jan. 5, 2021. The game, however, cannot be purchased. In NACON's press release about the title's return, they state that "some of the game's online stakes depend on the goodwill of Frogwares to perform." This suggests that Frogwares' cooperation may be needed before the game is downloadable on Steam again. Given that the Paris Court of Appeal's decision that The Sinking City return to storefronts was made after a determination that Frogwares illegally terminated their contract, their cooperation very well may only come begrudgingly.