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Dark and Darker developer sued by Nexon for "copyright infringement"

"Condoning the Defendants' conduct would threaten the video game industry."

Nexon is suing Ironmace, the developer behind medieval dungeon looter Dark and Darker, for "copyright infringement". The Korean game publisher is now demanding a jury trial, as part of its ongoing dispute with Ironmace.

This lawsuit was officially filed last Friday (14th April) at the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.

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For a quick bit of background, the team at Ironmace was accused of creating Dark and Darker "using materials and assets they worked on during their time" at Nexon. These accusations specifically pertained to a game known as P3.

Although Ironmace has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, the studio was subjected to a police raid in response to the accusations. As a result, Dark and Darker's Steam listing was ultimately removed following a cease and desist demand from Nexon.

At the time, Ironmace said it was working with its legal team to remedy the issue, and the developer even turned to ChatGPT in a bid to try and prove it hasn't infringed any copyright claims.

However, things are evidently not progressing as the developer would have hoped, and Nexon filed a lawsuit in the States late last week, with the cause of action noted as "copyright infringement".

In the lawsuit, Nexon states its former employees (specifically naming Ju-Hyun Choi and Terence Seungha Park) would have signed a "one-year-non-compete clause" as part of their Employee Agreement with the company. This clause "prevents employees from working in the same line of business that could potentially infringe on Nexon's trade secrets, without Nexon's prior consent" (thanks, Onepeg).

Nexon's lawsuit also includes images of both P3 and Dark and Darker, with Nexon claiming Ironmace copied in-game actions such as characters "[moving] their hands in a distinctive circular motion over chests without physically touching the chest" to open said chests".

Another example Nexon gives is the illuminated potions worn around characters' waists in both P3 and Dark and Darker, which you can see below.

Image via Onepeg.

Nexon wants Ironmace to stop Dark and Darker's development, and is calling for the developer to pay for damages incurred. The lawsuit states Nexon expects Ironmace to award the company with "monetary relief including damages sustained by [Nexon] in an amount not yet determined... [including] costs of suit and attorney's fees" and "further relief as this Court may deem just and appropriate".

"Condoning the Defendants' conduct would threaten Nexon, the video game industry, and all of the consumers who enjoy playing sophisticated video games," the lawsuit reads.

"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."

Onepeg's full video on the Dark and Darker lawsuit.Watch on YouTube

Meanwhile, last week, Ironmace asked players to torrent the Dark and Darker's latest build, as it was no longer able to be hosted on Steam.

"Rest assured that we are working around the clock to safeguard the continuance of Dark and Darker," Ironmace said at the time.