Popular indie dungeon crawler Dark and Darker has been stripped from the Steam storefront following a cease-and-desist and DMCA takedown from the game publisher Nexon. Nexon, headquartered in Japan, is known for their hit MMORPG MapleStory and some lesser-known titles such as KonoSuba: Fantastic Days and Counter-Strike Nexon: Studio.
Dark and Darker, under development by South Korean game studio Ironmace, can be summarized as the love child between Escape from Tarkov and Dungeons and Dragons. Spawning randomly in a multi-level dungeon, teams of up to three players must fight their way through monsters and other players to find exit portals.
Ironmace notified its player base of the DMCA takedown and cease-and-desist they received from Nexon via a Discord announcement,
To all our fans, we have recently been served a cease and desist letter and DMCA takedown by Nexon regarding Dark and Darker based on distorted claims. We are currently working with our legal team to remedy this issue in the best manner possible. Due to the sensitive legal nature of this issue we must be careful with our statements so as to not jeopardize our position. We ask for your understanding as we work to get the game back up as quickly as possible. Please know that we will do all that is possible for our fans. Thanks!
Nexon accuses Ironmace of using stolen code and assets from their unreleased project P3, even leading to the Ironmace offices being raided by police. Reported by Korea JoongAng Daily, Nexon claimed an employee leaked game data and assets while working from home back in 2021.
From an internal message by Nexon’s legal team, "We verified that Leader A, the then-chief of the P3 project team, had leaked thousands of files including the source codes and builds, mostly related to project development, to an outside server they owned."
Adding, "We also found that Leader A had suggested to teammates of the P3 project that they quit the company and work together on a game similar to P3, citing outside investment sources and more."
Ironmace pushed back on the accusations by Nexon, saying, "that ABSOLUTELY NO stolen assets or code were used to make our game."
I want to address certain rumors that have started to circulate and reassure Dark and Darker fans that ABSOLUTELY NO stolen assets or code were used to make our game.
Our code was built from scratch. Most of our assets are purchased from the Unreal marketplace. All other assets and all game designs docs were created inhouse. This has already been audited by an outside agency. As far as we know you cannot copyright a game genre.
Regarding the lawsuit, we consider it a separate personal matter claimed on one of our team members. No lawsuit has been filed against Ironmace. Regardless, we believe in our teammate and we look forward to the resolution of their personal matter.
Building games is hard enough without all the rumors and distractions in our industry. This is why we chose to handle matters privately, in respect to our peers in our industry. We’ve reached out through our back channels and do not believe the recent rumors were intentional and believe they are likely due to a disgruntled 3rd party. For now this will be our final statement on this matter. We are ready to defend if necessary but we prefer to focus our energy on bettering our craft. We have a lot of work ahead of us for the next playtest and we’ll let our work do the talking.
Finally, we would like to thank all our fans for their kind support. You are the sole motivation to build bigger and better. As always our aim is to stay directly and openly engaged with you. Thank you for your support and we hope to see you in the dungeons soon!
Ironmace continues ahead with the next planned playtest and full release in late 2023. However, with Dark and Darker removed from Steam it’s unclear how next playtest from April 14th - 19th would work.Copyright © 2023 Fotisi. All Rights Reserved.