The upcoming indie game Dark and Darker from South Korean developer Ironmace has become highly controversial due to a legal dispute with publisher Nexon. The game has been played by millions of people and has over 100,000 testers, but it has not yet been released. Nexon is accusing one of the Ironmace’s lead dev, who goes by “Mr. A”, of stealing assets from their game P3 for the development of Dark and Darker. As a result, Nexon is suing the developer and the indie title just had its Steam listing pulled.
A Tale of Two Games
Ironmace has denied the accusations, of course, stating that the assets used in their game were purchased from the Unreal Marketplace and were not stolen from Nexon. However, the similarities between the two games are striking, with torches, walls, doors, characters, and dungeon assets in Dark and Darker identical or nearly identical to those in P3. I personally think this is highly subjective though, especially as a game dev who uses Unreal Engine.
Ironmace vs. Goliath
Many gamers are siding with the little guy in the legal dispute, believing that the indie developer is being unfairly targeted by a large corporation. However, the DMCA notice issued by Nexon suggests that their claims hold some merit and are not entirely baseless, despite the apparent bullying tactics and recent police raid on Ironmace’s dev studio. Yes, you heard me right – Nexon had the indie creators raided.
This whole thing raises questions about the use of assets in game development and how corporations protect their intellectual property rights, particularly when it comes to grabbing assets from the Unreal or Unity marketplace.
Shrouded in Controversy that’s Dark and gets Darker
The controversy surrounding the game have me questioning the power dynamics that exist between large corporations and independent developers. Some gamers have even come out to speculate that Nexon could be run and influenced by the Chaebol, a wealthy family-run conglomerate in Korea that’s oftentimes seen as being above the law. However, it is unclear whether this influence has had any impact on the case, and the extent of the Chaebol’s influence on Nexon remains a topic of debate and speculation.
The uncertain future of the game
Regardless of the outcome, we’ll continue to follow this debacle, and keep you up to date on it. We hope for a resolution that allows the game to see the light of day. Let us know in the comments where you stand with all of this!