The developer of upcoming RPG Dark and Darker has responded to a DMCA takedown notice from rival developer Nexon.
Over the weekend, PvP dungeon crawler Dark and Darker was pulled from Steam, from where it remains absent. According to the game's subreddit, parts of the game were gradually removed from its Steam page, including its movies and trailers, screenshots, categories, online PvP and online co-op tags, and finally even its title and description.
Very quickly after this was noticed, developer Ironmace responded to fans on Discord writing: "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."
IronMace is currently dealing with copyright issues with Korean developer Nexon, where some of IronMace's current developers previously worked. Nexon claims that IronMace developers stole materials from their former employer to create Dark and Darker. Following the release of this report, IronMace also revealed that police had raided its studio but that "it was a quick process, and nothing was found."
IronMace has since addressed the DCMA in a lengthy statement to fans which was shared to its Discord server (before being shared on Reddit) and read: "Nexon states that according to their investigation, 'Dark and Darker appears to have been built and developed using trades secrets and copyrighted information, copied and stolen from Nexon,'" the statement continues, "we would like to show that these allegations are baseless. No copyrighted materials or misappropriated trade secrets from Nexon were used by IRONMACE."
"In the takedown notice," Ironmace explains, "Nexon lists their registered copyrights pertaining to the P3 Project which were registered just last month, more than 6 months after Dark and Darker was revealed to the public, as the subject of the alleged infringement."
Ironmace continues by giving examples of what Nexon claims was stolen for Dark and Darker and the reasoning behind its similarities to Ironmace's game - at one point making reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, and using ChatGPT to prove the game's dungeon crawler concept was not stolen from the developer.
The developer's statement ends: "Ironmace requests that Nexon renounce their baseless claims. If they would like to compete on merit, we welcome Nexon to promptly accommodate the comparison of source code, custom assets, and design documents with the police to quickly and decisively put an end to this matter."
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