Dark and Darker developer Irongate is being been sued by Nexon for copyright infringement following a DMCA takedown in March.
As reported by Eurogamer, Nexon’s lawsuit highlighted similarities between its own P3 and Dark and Darker, and also claimed some of Irongate’s employees, who previously worked for Nexon, had signed a one-year-non-compete clause that stopped them from taking “Nexon’s trade secrets” straight to a new developer.
The lawsuit added that “condoning the defendants’ conduct would threaten Nexon, the video game industry, and all of the consumers who enjoy playing sophisticated video games. 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.”
Nearly half of Irongate employees are made up of former Nexon staff, though the lawsuit only names two (Ju-Hyun Choi and Terence Seungha Park) as former staff who signed the one-year-non-competitive clause in their contracts.
In terms of similarities raised, Nexon highlights that both games feature chests opened by the player character moving their hand in a circular motion and that both games feature glowing potions worn on belts around the player character’s waist.
The lawsuit, which was filed on April 14, followed a cease and desist letter and DMCA takedown from Nexon that resulted in Dark and Darker being removed from Steam. “We are currently working with our legal team to remedy this issue in the best manner possible,” Irongate said at the time, saying the takedown was “based on distorted claims”.
The situation escalated as one Dark and Darker development team member shared a GoFundMe page asking for $500,000 to pay for legal fees, which was initially thought to be a scam but later uncovered as genuine. Irongate had planned a fundraising drive to launch at a later time if needed, but the one developer had prematurely released it.
The legal issues also arose not long before Irongate planned to launch a public playtest, but since the game has been removed from Steam, Irongate instead released the beta through torrents shared on Discord.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer and acting UK news editor. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.