by on June 8, 2023

You will often have heard of Dark and Darker Gold, a dungeon-crawling handle Escape From Tarkov’s PvPvE that’s been more popular over the last several months. Alice0 enjoyed its alpha playtest last December, also it ended up becoming just about the most popular game of February's Steam Next Fest. It wasn't as a result of launch fully until sometime this winter, but that window's now up via a flight after Dark And Darker were taken from Steam over the weekend, after a messy legal dispute between Nexon and developers Ironmace, who is accused of “using trade secrets and copyrighted information,” allegedly stolen from Nexon.

Dark and Darker Gold

“To our fans,” Ironmace wrote on his or her Discord server (then reposted to Reddit) “we have been served a cease and desist letter and DMCA takedown by Nexon regarding Dark and Darker dependant on distorted claims.”

What are these distorted claims? Well, in their DMCA letter (which you'll want to read 100 % here) Nexon say we were holding developing a project codenamed P3 in 2020-2021, plus they claim Ironmace stole assets and ideas from P3, turning it into Dark And Darker. Their first claim involves an ancient employee - Ju-Hyun Choi - who allegedly “acquired and transferred, without authorization, greater than 11,000 build files… to his server.” Nexon says they subsequently fired this employee, who then, apparently, continued to approach other Nexon devs, urging those to leave and create a P3-like game. Another Nexon employee, Terence Park, founded Ironmace a couple of months later, and lots of Nexon employees, including Choi, joined the Dark And Darker developer.

In an answer posted to Discord (again reposted to Reddit), Ironmace claim that Choi was having a personal server for the use of P3’s programming team since Covid restrictions had made development difficult. Ironmace’s response retreats into more detail, but long story short, Nexon was mindful of the personal server, and in addition, they only made accusations of stolen files as soon as the company got word of Choi’s intentions to leave.

Nexon also claims that before Dark and darker gold, “no other game had a similar concept, genre, or plot since the P3 game.” Ironmace responded Nevertheless Dark And Darker is “so generic and common that it may be broadly put on numerous other fantasy games”. To emphasize their point, Ironmace asked ChatGPT to spell out a generic fantasy dungeon-crawler, along with the AI’s response isn’t too much off from Dark And Darker.

Nexon made several other claims, and Ironmace has answered a few for the aforementioned Discord statement. Ironmace points out that 950 assets are, in truth, identical since these were bought from the Epic (Unreal Engine) Marketplace - a developer store that’s ended up involved in another recent plagiarism-based controversy between your devs behind Bleak Faith and Elden Ring.

Earlier in March, Ironmace’s offices were searched by officials, nevertheless, the studio told NME it was a “quick process” in which “nothing was discovered.” Dark And Darker was scheduled for the 2023 launch also it’s unclear in the event the medieval looter continues to be on track.

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