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Nexon are suing Dark And Darker developers over copyright infringement

Dark And Darker was pulled from Steam last month

Publisher Nexon have filed a lawsuit against Ironmace Games, the developers behind the multiplayer looter Dark And Darker, accusing the studio and two individual developers of copyright infringement. The two Korean companies recently went public with their dispute, but now their beef has extended to the US legal system where Nexon is demanding a trial by jury.

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It’s a messy situation, but the dispute ramped up last month when Dark And Darker was pulled from Steam following accusations of stolen trade secrets. Essentially, Ironmace’s founder (Terence Park) and a developer (Ju-Hyun Choi) were both former Nexon devs who worked on a similar fantasy game codenamed P3 in 2020-2021. Nexon accused Choi of stealing assets while still working at the company and claimed that Dark And Darker was built with these stolen materials. Their DMCA letter led to the game’s Steam removal, and Ironmace quickly responded on their Discord server, calling the claims “distorted.”

YouTuber Onepeg - who has been actively following the extraction looter - paid for the lawsuit’s documents and uploaded a 30-minute video delving into the text. Nexon’s legal complaint is against Ironmace, Park, and Choi, otherwise known as the “defendants” throughout the document.

Nexon once again claims that the “defendants stole P3 source code, audiovisual, and other materials that Nexon developed,” and allegedly used these materials to develop the “substantially similar” Dark And Darker. Now Nexon are seeking monetary compensation for the costs that went into P3’s development, but they’re also attempting to halt the development and distribution of Ironmace’s game.

The document continues, “Condoning the Defendants’ conduct would threaten Nexon, the video game industry, and all of the consumers who enjoy playing sophisticated video games.” Onepeg’s video also shows side-by-side comparisons of similar monster designs alongside a bunch of other claims.

Nexon also states that their Employment Agreement includes a “one-year non-compete clause that prevents the employees from working in the same line of business that could potentially infringe on Nexon’s trade secrets, without Nexon’s prior consent.” Ironmace haven’t responded to the lawsuit yet.

Since its removal from Steam, the studio has continued development as Dark And Darker’s fifth public playtest was released, unconventionally, through a torrent link. Its previous playtests found popularity on Steam and Twitch - Alice0 played one of those playtests in December and found it to be an interesting take on Escape From Tarkov’s extraction-based PvPvE.

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