Developer Frogwares, the studio behind the acclaimed Sherlock Holmes mystery franchise, revealed Thursday that a selection of its games is being removed from digital storefronts following a heated dispute with French publisher Focus Home Interactive.
In a statement released on Twitter on Thursday, Frogwares explains that although its deal with the publisher has come to term, Focus Home Interactive refuses to reassign the digital storefront title IDs and rights.
As a consequence, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack The Ripper, and Magrunner: Dark Pulse are no longer available on Microsoft and PlayStation platforms. Steam is purported to soon follow, making it the second time this month the Valve-owned PC game distributor makes it into the news in connection with France for the wrong reasons. Frogwares says that Sherlock Holmes Crimes & Punishment will suffer a similar fate when the deal for that specific title expires late this week on Sept. 29.
Frogwares says the refusal stems from a new policy at Focus that is glaringly absent from ‘previous or existing’ contracts between the two parties. Focus Home Interactive sent an official statement outlining the policy when Frogwares brought the issue to their attention. It reads;
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 their games from the Focus catalog.
Focus has reportedly never enforced the policy in previous dealings with Frogwares. This, despite including the draconian removal of all associated games from storefronts when deals end.
According to the Twitter statement, Frogwares is working alongside storefronts to establish new store profiles, but that in the meantime, players won’t be able to buy or play any of the games mentioned above. During this time, Frogwares will not receive any revenue for the games forcing the studio into ‘a tough situation.’
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 have contacted Focus Home Interactive for comment and clarification on the situation but have yet to receive a reply as of writing.