The Sinking City has been removed from Steam (again) amid an ongoing dispute between developer Frogwares and publisher Nacon.
As reported by Vice, the horror title was seemingly pulled after Frogwares filed a DMCA takedown notice, effectively torpedoing its own game.
The Sinking City can no longer be found on Steam at the time of writing, and Valve confirmed it received a DMCA takedown notice in a statement handed to Vice.
"The Sinking City has been in dispute in French courts for a while," said Valve VP of marketing, Doug Lombardi. "An interim decision last fall appeared to give Nacon the right to distribute the game on Steam while the litigation proceeded. However, today we received a DMCA takedown notice for the version that Nacon recently shipped, so we have responded to that notice."
This is just the latest development in a tetchy back-and-forth between the two companies. Earlier this week, Frogwares posted a tweet asking players not to purchase The Sinking City on Steam, claiming that version of the title was outdated.
"Frogwares has not created the version of The Sinking City that is today on sale on Steam," read the tweet, posted on February 26. "We do not recommend the purchase of this version."
In response, Nacon explained the Steam version was "official and complete," but lacked certain Steam-specific features like cloud saves and achievements due to a lack of cooperation from Frogwares.
Frogwares then hit back again, sharing a nine minute long video accusing Nacon of releasing a pirated copy of The Sinking City on Steam, pointing to things like a missing Frogwares logo on the intro splash screen and the absence of a main menu advert as evidence that something was amiss.
Nacon has yet to comment on those piracy allegations, and Frogwares hasn't publicly acknowledged the DMCA at the time of writing. Gamasutra has reached out to both companies for comment.
Update: Frogwares has now publicly acknowledged the DMCA and provided the below statement to Gamasutra. (Interestingly, some elements of the statement are at odds with claims made in today's statement on the whole The Sinking City conflict from Nacon, detailed here.)
Frogwares: "Regarding our use of a DMCA to remove the game from Steam. We believe in a very short time, we were able to collect extremely strong evidence to indicate this version of the game was pirated and contains content that Nacon has absolutely no rights to – namely The Merciful Madness DLC. A DMCA notice proved to be our most effective tool to give us time to gain further potential evidence and to also start the required and lengthy additional legal processes to prevent this from happening again.
"We are aware that a final ruling on whether Frogwares are obligated to deliver a Steam version has yet not been made and could take years. As it stands, we have an appeals court ruling saying, until further notice Frogwares do not need to deliver a Steam version to Nacon. In the meantime, Nacon decided to take justice into their own hands and release a pirated build.
"We are also aware that the DMCA claim on this Steam version may only be a temporary fix and that the game may make a comeback - in this form or another. Providing partners like Valve with finalized rulings and 3rd party verified evidence so they can make their final decision takes time and resources. If in the meantime they decide they have to continue selling the game, we can only respect that while continuing to speak to them and provide them with more information."