Dark and Darker devs could face legal action following allegations that they stole assets from previous employer

Dark and Darker screenshot
(Image credit: IronMace)

Dark and Darker developer Ironmace could face legal action following claims it stole materials to create its popular dungeon crawler.

According to a report by Korean-based website ThisIsGame (translated via Reddit), Japanese game publisher Nexon claims that some Ironmace developers, who it says used to work for the company, took assets and code from a project it had in the works called "P3," before leaving to make Dark and Darker.

The report says Nexon - whose previous titles include KartRider: Drift and MapleStory - showcased Project P3 back in August 2021. It planned for the game to be a first-person adventure where players worked together to explore medieval fantasy dungeons, searching for treasure and battling monsters as they went. Later, in an interview with ThisIsGame, Nexon's Vice President revealed the game's codename had changed to "P7", and the idea had evolved to include a mix of PvP and PvE elements.

As ThisIsGame says, if former Nexon employees did use code and assets to make Dark and Darker, this could be a breach of confidentially agreements and trade secret laws. The site says that Nexon "has reviewed legal action for this case, but it seems that it is contemplating how to respond."

Ironmace CEO Terence Seung-ha denied Nexon's claims in a message posted on Discord. "I want to address certain rumors that have started to circulate and reassure Dark and Darker fans that ABSOLUTELY NO stolen assets or code were used to make our game," he says.

"Our code was built from scratch. Most of our assets are purchased from the Unreal marketplace. All other assets and all game designs docs were created inhouse. This has already been audited by an outside agency. As far as we know you cannot copyright a game genre. Regarding the lawsuit, we consider it a separate personal matter claimed on one of our team members. No lawsuit has been filed against Ironmace."

He adds, "We've reached out through our back channels and do not believe the recent rumors were intentional and believe they are likely due to a disgruntled 3rd party". The developer also says, "We are ready to defend if necessary but we prefer to focus our energy on bettering our craft."

So far, Ironmace hasn't said that this will affect the development of Dark and Darker, which attracted huge numbers during its most recent playtest.

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Anne-Marie Ostler
Freelance Writer

Originally from Ireland, I moved to the UK in 2014 to pursue a Games Journalism and PR degree at Staffordshire University. Following that, I've freelanced for GamesMaster, Games TM, Official PlayStation Magazine and, more recently, Play and GamesRadar+. My love of gaming sprang from successfully defeating that first Goomba in Super Mario Bros on the NES. These days, PlayStation is my jam. When not gaming or writing, I can usually be found scouring the internet for anything Tomb Raider related to add to my out of control memorabilia collection.