Ironmace has denied creating its role-playing extraction game Dark And Darker with stolen code, although accusing company Nexon has pulled the game from Steam with a DMCA takedown notice.
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On Saturday (March 25), Dark And Darker fans noticed that the game had been removed from Steam.
Shortly afterwards, Ironmace confirmed that it had been “served a cease and desist letter and DMCA takedown” from Nexon, who has accused its former employees at Ironmace of creating the game with stolen assets and code.
Yesterday (March 26), Ironmace addressed Nexon’s “serious allegations” on Reddit. The studio reiterated that “no copyrighted materials or misappropriated trade secrets from Nexon were used by Ironmace”.
Nexon believes Dark And Darker is based on P3 — a cancelled game that was developed by Nexon employees who later left to join Ironmace.
Ironmace stated that its employee accused of theft left Nexon in June 2021 “due to a breakdown of trust with one of his superiors” and an “uncertain atmosphere” at the company.
“Having worked closely with his development team, he informed them about his plans to leave Nexon,” said Ironmace. “He made it clear that the reason for leaving was due to the uncertain atmosphere fostered at the company. He also stated that he’d welcome the team’s talents for his next endeavor.”
“He made it clear that he’d likely pursue a project in the same genre as P3 Project, but explicitly clarified that any development would be made completely from scratch,” the statement continued. “This fact has been noted, in witness testimony collected by the police, investigating a separate personal lawsuit filed against the accused member, by Nexon.”
When Nexon learned of the accused employee’s intention to leave, the studio reportedly accused them of stealing files and fired the employee. A month later, Nexon filed suit.
In the full statement, Ironmace refuted Nexon’s claims and stated the studio went to great lengths to ensure its debut game was created with original code and assets due to the threat of legal action from Nexon.
“Given the information presented, it is difficult to believe that Nexon, in good faith, could reasonably believe that Ironmace has infringed on the copyrights for their P3 project,” Ironmace stated. “They also provide no actual evidence that Ironmace misappropriated Nexon’s trade secret information in the creation of Dark and Darker, but instead base it on circumstantial claims.”
Earlier in the month, Ironmace’s office was raided by police in connection to Nexon’s allegations.