Back in February during the Steam Next Fest demo event, we cast a light on Dark and Darker, a first-person PvPvE dungeon crawler from developer Ironmace that saw opposing teams of players delve a dungeon, slay monsters, find treasure, and escape with the goods while possibly running into fights with the opposing side. It turns out that there is much more to this game’s development trajectory than meets the eye in the form of a wellspring of corporate-level drama that ultimately saw the title de-listed from Steam.
According to a translated This Is Game article on Reddit as well as reporting from MMO Fallout, Dark and Darker bears an extremely close resemblance to an early Nexon game project codenamed Project P3, which was first premiered by Nexon during an August 2021 media showcase. By March 2022, the focus of the project moved from medieval fantasy to modern firearms and survival, and the codename was changed to Project P7, but the assumption is that devs of the P3 project left to form Ironmace and continued to develop the P3 concept into the game Dark and Darker.
This leads to events that transpired over the weekend, when the game was struck from Steam over a DMCA takedown claim while Ironmace was served with a cease and desist letter. Other Reddit reports float the unsourced rumor that South Korean police raided Ironmace studios to collect materials related to the game, while Nexon supposedly accused Ironmace devs of using time working on P3 to shop for investors, develop Dark and Darker, and then leave Nexon to form the studio.
Ironmace posted a statement on the game’s Discord about the affair:
As the whole drama leaves the game’s status up in the air, angry fans began review bombing MapleStory on Steam, gamers are left to argue whether the title had stolen assets or used marketplace materials, and we’re all left without whatever Dark and Darker was promising. For now, at least.