Dark and Darker studio raided by police following 'stolen' code allegations

Dark and Darker screenshot
(Image credit: Ironmace)

A Yonhap News report (Google translated) says police in South Korea have searched the office of Dark and Darker developer Ironmace and seized materials related to the project. The raid in the city of Seongnam was reportedly connected to allegations that the game is being built using code and assets stolen from Nexon.

Nexon was reportedly working on a similar project, revealed in 2021 as P3, before pulling the plug on development later that year. Ironmace was founded shortly afterward, and includes former Nexon employees who apparently didn't part with the company on the best of terms: The Ironmace website describes the studio as "a merry band of veteran game developers disillusioned by the exploitative and greedy practices we once helped create."

A complaint over the matter was reportedly filed by Nexon with Gyeonggi Southern Police Agency in August 2021. The Yonhap report says the Gyeonggi Southern Police forwarded the matter to the Seongnam Branch of the Suwon District Prosecutor’s Office in August 2022, which requested a "supplementary investigation" in December.

Ironmace denied the allegations in February, saying that "absolutely no stolen assets or code were used to make our game." It also described a lawsuit filed by Nexon against at least one former employee who moved to Ironmace as a "separate personal matter."

In messages posted to the Dark and Darker Discord, an Ironmace employee using the name Graysun acknowledged that the police search happened but said "nothing was found." They also recommended that followers "not worry too much about what you hear regarding Nexon."

"Most of what you will see on the internet is not accurate," Graysun wrote. "There will be no delay in development, and there is nothing to worry about."

Ironmace shared the same message to a wider audience via Twitter:

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Dark and Darker, "an unforgiving hardcore fantasy FPS dungeon PvPvE adventure," made a big splash during the Steam Next Fest that ran in February, becoming one of the top ten most-played games on Steam. The studio recently announced that it has decided to do one more round of playtesting before a planned launch into early access: The fifth and presumably final test session will run April 14-19 on Steam.

I've reached out to Ironmace for more information on the Dark and Darker search and seizure, and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.