New details have emerged in the long-running legal fight between Nexon and Dark and Darker developer Ironmace. It appears that the South Korean publisher’s preliminary injunction against the studio was dismissed.
“The court ruled that ‘Iron Mace’s game cannot be viewed as infringing on Nexon’s copyright or trade secrets,’ thus rejecting the claims and suspicions that Dark & Darker was developed by using Nexon’s trade secrets and infringing on its copyrights,” the statement reads (in Korean).
The court also ruled that “Dark & Darker’s service should not be suspended based on Nexon’s claims and evidence alone.”
Nexon originally filed a lawsuit against Ironmace in April 2023, accusing the studio of stealing the source code and assets of its unreleased Project P3. As a result, Dark and Darker was delisted from Steam, with the developers calling the publisher’s behavior “nothing more than anti-competitive bully tactics designed to put a small indie game studio out of business.”
According to Ironmace’s statement on Discord, Nexon didn’t submit Project P3 to the court as official evidence. Despite the small victory, the main lawsuit will proceed. “If sufficient and thorough evidence is investigated in the main lawsuit, the truth about the unfairness of Nexon’s claims and the innocence of Ironmace will be revealed,” the studio added.
Last year, the alpha version of Dark and Darker attracted over 450k users, who accessed the game via a torrent link. The studio eventually managed to release the Early Access version in August 2023 thanks to a partnership with publisher Chaf Games. It also signed a licensing agreement with Krafton to develop the mobile version of Dark and Darker.
The game is still unavailable on Steam, but it may return to the store if Ironmace wins the legal fight.