Nexon suing developer of Dark and Darker for “copyright infringement”

nexon dark and darker

South Korean publishing giant Nexon is officially suing the developers of fantasy MMO Dark and Darker for “copyright infringement” it’s been announced.


In what looks on the outside to be a rapidly escalating drama, the makers of fantasy MMO Dark and Darker are now being officially sued by Nexon.

A lawsuit spotted by Eurogamer, entitled Nexon Korea Corporation v. Ironmace Co Ltd et al, was filed on 15 April, with the cause of action listed as “copyright infringement.”

It’s the latest phase in a story that began in February, when Nexon first accused Ironmance – an indie studio formed by several ex-developers at Nexon – of stealing assets and code to make Dark and Darker. According to Nexon, Dark and Darker bore “striking similarities” to P3, a cancelled project once in the works at the South Korean studio.

Ironmace denied the allegations, arguing on its Discord that “Assets and all game design docs were created in-house”.

Nevertheless, Ironmace had its offices raided by police in early March, an incident which preceded a formal DMCA takedown notice from Nexon’s lawyers. Ironmace remained defiant, but that didn’t stop Dark and Darker from being quietly de-listed from Steam a few days later.

In early April, things took an even weirder turn, as someone named Luci – seemingly an Ironmace developer – took to Discord to announce a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for upcoming legal fees. Part of the accompanying post read:

“We aren’t a big ass studio, and we don’t have an infinite supply of money like Nexon. The reality of the situation is that their end goal is to bleed us dry in court fees. Internally, we know this, they know this, the lawyers know this. They have no real case that will hold up in court but they pray that we fold. Our concern is not the false claims that they have weasled up and fed to every media outlet. Our game was made from scratch. But we are concerned about being able to support ourselves through this legal battle that they want to drag us through.”

Curiously, the GoFundMe campaign was taken down about an hour after it was posted, in which time it had amassed around $46,000. A later post clarified that Ironmace was planning to launch a GoFundMe campaign, but not this early in proceedings.

Now, Nexon is demanding that Ironmace cease development on Dark and Darker, plus pay for damages and legal fees. “Condoning the Defendants’ conduct would threaten Nexon, the video game industry, and all of the consumers who enjoy playing sophisticated video games,” Nexon’s lawsuit says. “Video game developers would not be able to invest years’ worth of person-hours in developing video games if their employees could simply transfer their employer’s project files to their own personal servers and start a new company.”

As its own employee pointed out, Ironmace is a comparatively tiny studio when compared to Nexon, the multi-million dollar firm behind such MMOs as MapleStory and Dungeon & Fighter. Whether Nexon’s allegations are true or not, Ironmace has a long and potentially damaging battle on its hands.

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