Frogwares is most well known for their Sherlock Holmes games, but they recently developed a Lovecraftian-esque detective story called The Sinking City. Long story short, some disputes between Forgwares and Nacon resulted in the game’s removal from Steam last year. Now the game is back on Steam, but Frogwares has accused Nacon of selling a pirated copy of the game.
In a recent blog post titled “How Nacon Cracked and Pirated The Sinking City”, Frogwares outlines the exact steps Nacon supposedly took to steal, hack, and even change the source code in order to try and “cover up the reporting trail”, calling it “corporate bullying, and incompetent hacking, at its finest.”
There’s a lot of stuff to unpack, but essentially there were only a few places you could find a legitimate copy of The Sinking City where the code had not been altered. Frogwares claims that the version that is now up on Steam was a version bought from Gamesplanet that was then altered to remove any logos and content related to Frogwares and Gamesplanet.
Frogwares then claims that Nacon hacked the game’s code by decompiling it with a “secret key” that was created by Frogwares, as all the files were encrypted using the Epic Unreal Engine encryption system. This supposedly requires some “programmers with serious skills” and claims this was “not DIY work by inexperienced people, this is done by programmers who know Unreal engine well.”
What’s more, Frogwares can apparently prove this is the case as after downloading the recent Steam version, used their own “secret key” on the files and found that it still worked. “The hackers didn’t even care to use a different encryption key than the one we created when recompiling,” Frogwares said.
There’s a lot to unpack with this story, and both sides can make compelling arguments based on their own legal rights. But the fact that Frogwares is so open about this shows how serious they are taking this situation. It’s still being disputed in court, but these are big accusations Frogwares is making against a big publisher.
“Nacon has proved they are willing to do anything possible to serve their interest, including illegal actions. They ignored the decision of the Justice and bypassed them, pirating The Sinking City in order to deceive their partners, Steam in the first place.”
“There are long term damages we need to take care of, Nacon unpacked our data, stole our source code and used it. Nacon can create a new version of The Sinking City using our assets; they can resell, reuse, recycle our content and our tools etc.”
What do you think? Is Frogwares in the right here? Should they have been so openly public about all this? Have you played The Sinking City? What did you think of it? Let us know!