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Rose

The Sinking City: the ways of outrage

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It all began with the recent release of The Sinking City on Steam. Some users quickly noticed the lack of achievements compared to the previous version available for a few hours of January 5. As the discussions began, some also noted the lack of cloud saves and DLC to purchase. Shortly after, the developer of the game made a post on the store page news feed to recommend against buying this version published by Nacon despite the publisher having been allowed to resume selling the game after a court ruling deeming the Frogwares' publishing contract termination "unlawful" and ordering "to refrain from any further action".

With statements like "Further proof that France doesn't need to exist anymore" aimed at the publisher, Steam users began to purchase the game and review bomb, never going beyond the two hours refund threshold, while making claims about the version of the game being old, having no DLC or support, or the publisher stealing from the developer.

PC Gamer and Polygon echoed some of the statements, relying on the top rated reviews which were "mostly negative" at the time, starting around 25% approval.

Quote

Steam users say in the mostly-negative comments that it's actually an old version of the game, without DLC, achievements, or cloud saves. 

- PC Gamer

SteamDB immediately sided with the developer by quoting their statement on the app page in an unprecedented manner, while ResetEra also followed suit, with the OP of the dedicated thread stating "It also apparently lacks DLC".

On our end, there were users who edited the article and inserted all the same unverified claims, while violating the style guidelines at the same time.

I had the latest version of the Necronomicon Edition on Epic Games Store and decided to check for some of the claims by comparing my files to those of a friend who had the Steam version.
As it turned out, the important files of the Epic version were created in October 2019, around the time the game received its last update, while the current Steam version was built in June 2020, just prior to the game becoming unavailable on Epic, with a GOG Galaxy integration file placed in preparation for release, and also just prior to Frogwares releasing the game on Origin and other platforms. This questioned the idea of the build being old.

image.png.974fc12a415703bf409bfbb603710740.png

Now with the Frogwares' discouraging statement removed from the store page, legitimately interested users purchasing the game and looking into it, it was found and confirmed by multiple users that the standard and only offered edition of the game by Nacon is newer than the Necronomicon Edition on Epic, and on par with the Deluxe Edition offered by Frogwares on Origin and Gamesplanet, containing all the bonus missions in the game's existence and costing only $16 compared to the $65 of the Frogwares release. At the same time, the average user score was getting better, climbing up to 48%, or Mixed, as of this writing.

Many still remained bitter and unwilling to accept being wrong, with PC Gamer and Polygon never correcting the articles, the current top-rated Steam review being negative, containing insults and saying "No DLC.", with /r/gaming and /r/TheSinkingCity quickly taking down links to the Steam thread discussing the presence of DLC in the game.

Sometimes the truth is hard to find or seen as the biggest enemy in the comfort of existing beliefs, and maybe that is when PCGamingWiki comes into the picture to give you the latest technical facts and details. We just have to stay vigilant, never speculate, and always double check. Here's to it!

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To summarize about this new Steam version:

  • Old game - false
  • Missing DLCs - false
  • Steam Cloud not working - true
  • Achievements missing - true

Right?

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7 hours ago, Expack3 said:

Well-put, Rose. Technicality may be dry, but, hilariously, sometimes it really is the best kind of correct.

Thanks! The wiki article has all the technical 🙂 I can post the tiny Manifest text files containing the creation / build dates of both versions but at this stage of the Steam discussions being filled with screenshots of the two free outfits added in the last Epic update, as well as screenshots of the Fool's Gold and Mystic Tomes quests exclusive to DLC, they are hardly relevant or more valuable than the reports from actual owners with hours of playtime. For anyone still in doubt, I would recommend just buying the game and checking it out. The two hours before refund are enough to reach the hotel and check for the Mystic Tomes starting quest.

6 hours ago, Mastan said:

To summarize about this new Steam version:

  • Old game - false
  • Missing DLCs - false
  • Steam Cloud not working - true
  • Achievements missing - true

Right?

Yes, though I would still add that the Gamesplanet and Frogwares launcher versions offered by the developer likely do not have achievements or cloud saves either, and it's unclear for the Origin version.

As for DLC, based on the reports and official store pages, the DLC content is identical to the Deluxe version sold by Frogwares through Gamesplanet and Origin, though the Origin version allows to additionally purchase the smaller DLC unrelated to side quests, but that would cost more than the base game with DLC from Nacon. The best part is that we have this choice.

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In retrospect this is a fascinating topic - Nacon have stated they do not have the rights to the DLC whilst it is clearly included within the current Steam version. The game appears to have been removed from sale everywhere except Origin and Gamesplanet (i.e. only the Frogwares published versions remain purchasable), yet purchases already honoured have not been revoked. The Steam store page in particular has been rendered completely inaccessible which only happens with games actually removed from the store - i.e. those that have been removed from sale by the publisher usually keep a Store page even if the game itself can no longer be purchased.

I'll be very interested to see whether this version is updated to remove DLC content that clearly was not legally Nacon's to sell.

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40 minutes ago, The lost said:

Nacon have stated they do not have the rights to the DLC

What is the source for this?

40 minutes ago, The lost said:

purchases already honoured have not been revoked

This is nothing out of the ordinary. All the past games with licensing and other issues I can think of have remained in the users' libraries - the Telltale games, Deadpool, Alan Wake, Ducktales, Monster High and more.

40 minutes ago, The lost said:

those that have been removed from sale by the publisher usually keep a Store page

We already know it was Valve that took it down in response to a DMCA request from Frogwares though, as documented in our wiki article.

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It's very interesting to see how you're talking about truths after looking through some game files, while the truth is seldom that easy to come by and I'm talking from the perspective of a DFIR expert. Before a court of law has decided what is true in this case you throwing around such terms is just as bad mouthing as the review bombing on steam. Get off your high horse.

Here's a more detailed account from Frogwares that shows what is different and how they believe Nacon hacked the copy of the game they put on Steam:

https://youtu.be/VYTSt5oOr5g

I'm not saying this is the whole truth but I am telling you "checking some game files" is pretty damn poor forensic work.

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, finnpalm said:

It's very interesting to see how you're talking about truths after looking through some game files, while the truth is seldom that easy to come by and I'm talking from the perspective of a DFIR expert. Before a court of law has decided what is true in this case you throwing around such terms is just as bad mouthing as the review bombing on steam.

Are you arguing for the sake of arguing? Do you realize that my findings are now also supported by Frogwares' own statements made in the video you linked? They say it's the Deluxe Edition of a recent version of the game. What is your evidence to the contrary?

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I argue that boasting about having found the truth is not a good idea in an ongoing legal case. While some of your points about the games are supported by Frogwares your original post comes off as invalidating some of the fears voiced by others, such as fans, while some of those points are supported by Frogwares. Someone who doesn't know exactly how timestamps work and how extract them in a forensically sound way might assume that you are invalidating everything across the board, while in reality you may have some things right and others not. While I applaud your attempt to find the truth it's premature to claim that you have. A court of law will investigate the evidence provided by both parties and compare with the contract. Then we will know the truth. Before that you may have leads, or even potential evidence. Nothing more.

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Just now, finnpalm said:

 in reality you may have some things right and others not

Any specific things I got wrong?

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1 minute ago, Rose said:

Any specific things I got wrong?

I said "may". A court of law has to decide before we know. I am way too aware of how timestamps can trick you to assume anything just by looking at them.

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2 minutes ago, finnpalm said:

I said "may". A court of law has to decide before we know. I am way too aware of how timestamps can trick you to assume anything just by looking at them.

You are conflating two subjects here.

One is the claim of the version being old and having no DLC, which is now debunked not only by me but also by all the screenshots and posts I linked, and by Frogwares themselves.

The other is Nacon vs Frogwares in court, which is just briefly touched on in this thread, and there is no question that it will be up to the court to decide what to make of the parties' actions. The last known ruling from October 29, 2020 was in favor of Nacon but it's obviously not the end of it.

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Not really. Did you really debunk that the version of the game is old?

You do not specify which files are the "important files" that you have examined. Neither do you clarify your process of examining said files, such as which timestamps you are looking at, and what they show.

You're basically just asking everyone to take your word for it.

(On a related note I would dissuade anyone from digging to deep as the EULA for the game clearly states:

"You shall not to or permit anyone else to, directly or indirectly conduct the following operations with regard to the Product:

(iv)      reverse engineer, disassemble, decompile or otherwise attempt to discover the source code or structure, sequence and organization of the Product;")

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1 hour ago, finnpalm said:

Not really. Did you really debunk that the version of the game is old?

You do not specify which files are the "important files" that you have examined. Neither do you clarify your process of examining said files, such as which timestamps you are looking at, and what they show.

You're basically just asking everyone to take your word for it.

(On a related note I would dissuade anyone from digging to deep as the EULA for the game clearly states:

"You shall not to or permit anyone else to, directly or indirectly conduct the following operations with regard to the Product:

(iv)      reverse engineer, disassemble, decompile or otherwise attempt to discover the source code or structure, sequence and organization of the Product;")

You can find all the information in the the very first post's hyperlinks. Please take the time to actually read what they link to.

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18 minutes ago, Expack3 said:

You can find all the information in the the very first post's hyperlinks. Please take the time to actually read what they link to.

Not the information I'm talking about.

What files? What time stamps? Either way, those are rethorical questions. I'm just saying it's not cool to claim you have discerned the truth and debunked falsities that frivolously. It's really a science, and there are experts employed by law enforcement all over the world to handle such questions. Personally I don't really care who is right in the referred to conflict. But to scoff at people taking sides by taking sides yourself, which is what you're doing if you trust your evidence too blindly, doesn't represent truth. Like I said, Rose may or may not be right. But the post comes of as being right and truthful, and that's misleading.

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