Scandal strikes one of the most anticipated game releases of 2023 in Dark and Darker. Scheduled to be released in Q4 of 2023, Dark and Darker developing company, IRONMACE, was hit with a cease-and-desist letter as well as a DMCA takedown in late March.

The Details

IRONMACE is being accused of stealing source code from the larger game development company, Nexon. This was first discovered when IRONMACE began their first Alpha playtest of their game Dark and Darker in February, and Nexon found that it looked nearly identical to a game that they had paused development on in late 2022. Thus, Nexon worked with South Korean authorities to bring on the cease-and-desist and DMCA takedown. IRONMACE is fighting these allegations, but the public is not privy to how they will fight the case.

The consequences of this mean the Dark and Darker release could be delayed or even canceled. Dark and Darker has also been taken off Steam, effectively the biggest games library in the world, meaning they have lost a huge chunk of their audience and a ton of momentum in audience growth. Despite this, IRONMACE just started their second Alpha playtest of Dark and Darker, which will last through April 19th. Because they have been taken off Steam, the only way to access the playtest is by downloading Dark and Darker through torrents on the Dark and Darker community Discord.

The rest of the details about why this is happening are just here-say, but here is a rundown. In late 2022, Nexon put an indefinite pause on the project that they are claiming was Dark and Darker. The source code from that project was then leaked on social media. However, the leaker is still unknown. After this leak, some of the developers from this paused project left Nexon and joined IRONMACE. In February 2023, Dark and Darker had its first Alpha playtest, and the game is successful. Hundreds of thousands of people download and play the game through Steam. Nexon filed a lawsuit after seeing how similar Dark and Darker is to their paused game, and a cease-and-desist letter, as well as a DMCA takedown, was served to IRONMACE in late March. The court date is set in South Korea later in 2023, and whether Dark and Darker will even be fully released is still up in the air.

What is Dark and Darker?

Dark and Darker is a first-person battle royale/survival game mixed with a dungeon crawler.

Unlike most other battle royale/survival games, Dark and Darker does not use guns and is not played on an open-air map like Apex Legends or Fortnite. Instead, players are placed in a catacomb-like dungeon and navigate through the traps and monsters in their way as well as the enemy players they may encounter. All the while, players are looting the chests, monsters, and enemy players they slay; the added danger is poison gas descending from the outside of the dungeon toward the center of it. As they progress through the dungeon, players encounter more dangerous monsters and more geared players.

The loot players find is the most important part of the Dark and Darker because they can leave the dungeon at any time. Leaving the dungeon alive allows players to take all their loot with them, so they can use it again in another dungeon, stash it for later, or sell the items to NPC merchants. On top of all this, players can play in different classes which have different specialties, like a mage wielding magic or a barbarian utilizing big swords/axes.  The ultimate goal is to equip characters with the best possible items so players can enter the dungeon and stay in it longer to get even better loot and items.

Dark and Darker can be played with up to 2 other friends so that you can fight off monsters and other players in the dungeon together.