The publishing agreement between Focus Home Interactive and Ukranian developer Frogwares, who developed the Sherlock Holmes series and the Lovecraftian detective game The Sinking City, expired recently and now several of the developer’s games have disappeared from digital storefronts on Steam, Xbox, and Playstation consoles. Sherlock Holmes Crimes & Punishments remains available, but only through September 29, 2019.
In a statement from Frogwares’ Sergey Oganesyan, the developer alleges that Focus Home Interactive is responsible for the removals. “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 has expired.”
Oganesyan claims that Focus Home is removing the games due to a new policy that states the publisher will not transfer title IDs to developers that no longer work with the company. Frogwares claims the policy “is not in any of our previous or existing contracts with Focus and that has never been applied to us in the past.”
“As it stands right now, the only game left is Sherlock Holmes Crimes & Punishment which only has until September 29th. It is possible that it will be taken down at this date or earlier if nothing is done. The players will no longer be able to buy and play the game,” Frogwares continues. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Magrunner: Dark Pulse, and Sherlock Holmes versus Jack The Ripper have already disappeared from the digital storefronts on PS3 and Xbox 360. Those titles will continue to live on Steam, as Focus Home did not publish the PC editions.
Frogwares calls Focus Home’s new policy toward former contracted developers “a serious blow,” and that the studio is preparing for a significant loss. “To those parties that can help us and have influence over the situation – feel free to contact us.”