Several older games by mystery adventure developer Frogwares will be taken down from storefronts due to a contract dispute with Focus Home Interactive, the former studio announced.
According to a press release shared on Twitter (via photos), Focus Home was initially in charge of publishing and distributing several of Frogwares’s somewhat-older games. The term period of their contract was meant to end recently, but Frogwares alleges that Focus Home “refuses” to transfer the distribution rights.
Regarding the issue, the presser reads:
Focus Home Interactive, the licensee (or “publisher” 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 agreement [sic] has ended.
Because, 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.”
A policy that is not in any of our previous or existing contracts with Focus and that has never been applied to us in the past.
Because of that policy, our games will be taken down from all storefronts.”
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In short, they claim that due to the storefront removals, players won’t be able to buy the games, and they won’t be able to profit. Frogwares claims to be trying to acquire new storefront profiles, as well as “contacting console stores and hope to try and rectify the situation.” It’s an unsure and costly process, and they “already know that it will be impossible for certain games on previous gen.” However, they claim they won’t give up on the situation.
Attention: an important message from our studio. pic.twitter.com/HqMA8Du8iE
— Frogwares (@Frogwares) September 26, 2019
Fanbyte reached out to Frogwares, which explained that their best case scenario would be the IP transfer.
“Without this transfer, it would be nearly impossible to recover our games on Xbox 360, and very difficult for the current generation consoles, for technical reasons,” a representative told Fanbyte. “We are doing everything we can to find a way out, and have been doing it for months, but I’m afraid to say, have been unable to find a solution yet. Not going to give up :)”
Fanbyte also reached out to Focus Home Interactive, and have also asked Frogwares about further course of action. We will update if any further comment is received.
The full list of games taken down due to the contract dispute is as follows:
- Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments (2013) (to be taken down September 29th)
- Magrunner: Dark Pulse (2013)
- The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (2012)
- Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack The Ripper (2009)
These games have generally positive reviews on Steam, plus decent aggregated ratings on Metacritic.
It appears that their most recent game, The Sinking City, will remain on storefronts, as it’s not affected by the contracts in question. This most recent game was released for most platforms June 27th, and on Switch on September 9th. Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter, released in 2016, does not appear to be affected, either.