The Sinking City is an adventure game featuring a private investigator in the 1920s, searching through the East Coast city of Oakmont trying to determine what has possessed it, as well as its inhabitants. The game includes an open-world inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
The Sinking City became the center of a conflict between developer Frogwares and publisher Nacon. In August 2020, the game was pulled from many digital storefronts. In an open letter, Frogwares claimed that Nacon was hundreds of days behind in payments. In a response to Kotaku, Nacon rejected this claim and stated the publishing agreement between Frogwares and Nacon was pending before French courts.
In January 2021, the game returned to digital storefronts with a statement from Nacon. Quoting a decision from the Paris Court of Appeal:
The Court ruled that Frogwares had terminated the contract in a “manifestly unlawful” manner and, as a result, ordered, as a “precautionary measure, the continuation of the contract (…) until its term or until a decision is made on the breach of this contract and ordered Frogwares Ireland to refrain from any action on the breach of this contract and ordered Frogwares Ireland to refrain from any action that impedes this continuation (…)”.
However, the game once again disappeared from Steam and other digital storefronts almost immediately.
In March 2021, The Sinking City returned to Steam, but not without more controversy. The game appeared to be an older version than what's previously been available on Steam, missing downloadable content, and missing Steamworks integration and Steam achievements. In a tweet, Frogwares advised consumers not to purchase this release of the game. Later, in a blog post and Youtube video, Frogwares accused Nacon of pirating the game from a GamesPlanet purchase, and uploading the pirated version to Steam for sale. The game once again disappeared from Steam and Valve issued a statement to Vice. Frogwares had sent them a DMCA notice take-down notice and Valve responded accordingly. Nacon also issued a statement addressing the accusation, stating they were "the sole exclusive distributor of The Sinking City game on Steam."
The game remains unavailable on Steam, though it can be purchased via Origin or GamesPlanet for PC, Playstation Store for PS4 and PS5, Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.