Update #1: Ironmace has responded to Nexon's lawsuit. In a statement sent to the editors of TheGamer, they claim that "Nexon's actions are nothing more than anti-competitive intimidation tactics designed to put a small studio out of business. Ironmace has done nothing illegal, and Nexon has no legal basis to take away access to Dark and Darker on Steam or anywhere else the game may be distributed."
"After years of litigation and multiple police raids in search of allegedly misappropriated assets, Nexon has found no evidence that any trade secrets were actually taken. We urge Valve not to succumb to Nexon, and instead respect the creative ingenuity of a young gaming studio that has released a product already loved by hundreds of thousands of fans."
The Legal conflict arising over popular dungeon crawler Dark and Darker seems to be entering a decisive phase. After the game's developers were accused of stealing assets, and a month ago the game was removed from Steam, we finally saw an official lawsuit.
The letter was filed on April 14 by the Korean company Nexon, which is said to be aggrieved in the whole affair due to "copyright infringement" by Ironmace.
Recall - the case dates back to 2021, when one of Nexon's former studio employees allegedly revealed files from the project P3, which was being worked on at the time. Shortly thereafter, Ironmace was formed and began work on Dark and Darker, which was to allegedly use assets from P3.
Despite assurances from Ironmace that it had built its code from scratch and had never used anyone else's resources, at the end of March Dark and Darker was removed from Steam on suspicion of copyright infringement.
In a lawsuit filed three days ago in Washington District Court, we can read, among other things, that:
- Nexon is calling for Ironmace to cease work on Dark and Darker, as well as to pay for the damages;
- direct copying from P3 to Dark and Darker was to include "characters [moving] their hands in a distinctive circular motion over chests without physically touching them to open them," or illuminated potions worn around the waist;
- two employees who left Nexon for Ironmace were to be subject to a one-year non-compete clause.
Online, you can already see comparisons between the designs (an example can be seen below), as well as analysis of the content of the entire lawsuit; this was done by, among others, youtuber Onepeg.
While the case certainly does not look good for Ironmace, the developers assure that they will continue to work on the game. Recently, they even have made it available for testing on torrents.