Dark and Darker developers sued by Nexon for copyright infringement

by Danny Craig  · 
Dark and Darker developers sued by Nexon for copyright infringement
Ironmace Studios

Japanese-Korean publisher Nexon has filed a lawsuit against Ironmace Studios, the developer of an upcoming multiplayer dungeon crawler battle royale, claiming it infringed on its copyright.

The details:

  • Ironmace was accused earlier this year of illegally using "materials and assets they worked on during their time" at Nexon to create Dark and Darker, primarily from a scrapped project codenamed "P3," which appeared to be similar to what Dark and Darker became. Police raided the developer's office in Seoul, and the game was removed from Steam. Ironmace took to Twitter to say that nothing incriminating was discovered during the search and that "there will be no delay in development.”
  • Nexon claims in the April 14 US lawsuit that its former employees, Ju-Hyun Choi, and Terence Seungha Park, would have agreed to a "one-year non-compete clause" in their employee agreements if hired by the publisher. The clause "prevents employees from working in the same line of business as Nexon that could potentially infringe on Nexon's trade secrets without Nexon's prior consent.”
  • The lawsuit also included images of P3 and Dark and Darker, as well as claims that Ironmace stole in-game animations for actions and used item placement designs that were strikingly similar to P3's characters. A video by YouTuber Onepeg contains additional information and further examples of the similarities shown in the filing.
  • Nexon not only wants the development of Dark and Darker halted, but it also wants Ironmace to pay for any damages, including legal fees. Nexon has not disclosed the total amount it believes it is owed, but it has stated in the lawsuit that "condoning the defendants' conduct would threaten Nexon, the video game industry, and all of the consumers who enjoy playing sophisticated video games." It continued, "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 servers and start a new company.”

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