This morning, developer Ironmace confirmed that Dark and Darker would release today, and now it has—this article has been updated with the latest info.
The demo for PvP extraction dungeon crawler Dark and Darker was a hit earlier this year, but then Nexon alleged copyright infringement, it got booted off Steam, and its early access release was pushed back. Developer Ironmace persisted, going so far as to distribute a playtest by torrent, and this morning, Ironmace CEO Terence Park confirmed to PC Gamer that Dark and Darker would release in early access today.
Dark and Darker has not yet returned to Steam, but in an email to PC Gamer, Park said that Ironmace wants to get it back on Valve's platform ASAP. "We cannot ignore the largest PC storefront in the world," he wrote. The early access release is also unavailable in Korea for now.
"As much as it pains us, we won't be able to service the game in Korea because we are still awaiting a rating from the Korean Game Rating Board (GRAC)," said Park in a Discord announcement and blog post today. "We will do everything we can to expedite this process as we have already been granted ratings from other globally recognized game rating boards, including the ESRB, PEGI, and CERO."
In the announcement, Park also noted that in-game VoIP won't be available until Ironmace's legal team has signed off on third-party and user agreements, and said that "many key features are still missing" in this release. Aside from the game itself, Dark and Darker's new launcher, called Blacksmith, is also a work-in-progress.
Dark and Darker's standard edition costs $35, and there's a Founder's Edition with some bonus stuff for $50. I'm having trouble actually purchasing the game from the official site, but that might just be due to high traffic.
There's also an in-game shop, which Park addressed in the announcement post.
"Our assumption when we started this company was that you could still build a lucrative business while being true to your fans," wrote Park. "The in-game shop is our attempt at being realistic with the business of running an online game but trying to find a way to do it without resorting to random loot boxes and FOMO items. We want to offer players a fair way to support us while enjoying the game. Please let us know how you think we're doing on this front."
The Nexon lawsuit has not yet been resolved, and is the likely barrier to Dark and Darker coming back to Steam. The game publishing giant alleged that Ironmace's founders, former Nexon employees, used copyrighted work from a cancelled Nexon project in the creation of Dark and Darker. Ironmace has denied that allegation, and Park reiterated that denial today.
"We built Dark and Darker from the ground up here at Ironmace and stand by our work," Park told PC Gamer in response to a question about Nexon's claims.