The Sinking City and Sherlock Holmes developer Frogwares claims its livelihood is under threat after publisher Focus Home Interactive began unfairly pulling some of its games from digital storefronts.
Explaining the bizarre situation in a blog post, the studio explained a handful of its games are being removed from console storefronts, and perhaps even Steam, because Focus Home is refusing to hand over the relevant title IDs after the two companies' publishing and distribution agreement expired.
The list of games affected includes Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Vs. Jack The Ripper, and Magrunner: Dark Pulse, but that could soon expand as more contracts expire.
"Focus Home Interactive, the licensee that was in charge of commercializing these games on these platforms, refuses to transfer the title IDs to us, the creators and IP owners of those titles, even though our Publishing and Distribution Agreement has expired," wrote Frogwares.
"According to their official statement, sent to us only last week, 'Focus has put in place a policy in accordance with which they will not transfer any title -- the content ID or title ID -- belonging to any developer which has removed all of their games from the Focus catalog.'
"That policy that is not in any of our previous or existing contracts with Focus and has never been applied to us in the past. Because of that policy, our games will be taken down from all storefronts."
Frogwares claims it will also lose all of its wishlists and every other bit of information as games are delisted, and alleged that despite being the creators and IP owners of all of those games affected, it has absolutely no say in the matter.
Right now, the company is in the process of setting up new store profiles and reaching out to console stores in a bid to rectify the situation. It's unclear, however, whether it will be able to reverse the changes without the involvement of Focus Home.
"We have always been an independent studio. We worked with many licensees on the grounds of mutual interests and benefits, but it’s the first time in 20 years we have encountered such a situation," continues the blog.
"We are losing all revenue attached to these games, for some -- for an unknown period of time and for other games, forever. This new policy from Focus Home towards former contracted developers will land a serious blow to our studio, threatening our future games and the people who develop them."
We've reached out to Focus Home Interactive for more information, and will update this article when we hear back.