Readers who were following the brewing legal drama between Korean publisher Nexon and Dark and Darker developer Ironmace might have suspected it would be a mess – but maybe not quite the morass that fomented in the game’s official Discord when devs made claims against Nexon, tried to drum up fiscal support, and then abruptly cut the drive off.
First, some context for those who didn’t click through: Ironmace, which is made up of several former Nexon devs who were working on a game project similar to the PvPvE dungeon crawler Dark and Darker, stands accused by Nexon of stealing code from the aforementioned game project, shopping the game pitch, and leaving Nexon to form Ironmace, all on Nexon’s dime. Ironmace’s studio was raided by South Korean police, a DMCA strike against the game delisted it from Steam, and Nexon issued a cease and desist, while Ironmace accused Nexon of making “distorted claims.”
This brings us to last weekend’s Discord drama, when one of Ironmace’s devs named Luci made more claims about the legal tussle and beseeched fans to help the indie studio out:
“We aren’t a big ass studio, and we don’t have an infinite supply of money like Nexon. The reality of the situation is that their end goal is to bleed us dry in court fees. Internally, we know this, they know this, the lawyers know this. They have no real case that will hold up in court but they pray that we fold. Our concern is not the false claims that they have weasled up and fed to every media outlet. Our game was made from scratch. But we are concerned about being able to support ourselves through this legal battle that they want to drag us through.”
Luci’s message also shared a GoFundMe link for players to give financial support in the fight, which raised over $46K in an hour before Luci’s post was relocated by mods who announced the crowdfunding link may not have been legitimate and that Luci’s account may have been compromised.
Shortly after that – quite literally within the span of seconds – another announcement was made that confirmed the GoFundMe page was legitimate but “something [the studio was] working on just in case.” Regardless, the funding page was taken down, Luci’s original post was removed wholesale, and finally a follow-up message was shared:
“We can confirm this is real as we are in contact with the Ironmace team, it was just a huge misunderstanding from the discord mods and the Ironmace staff. The GoFundMe link is currently down but will be reposted later, it will be safe to donate when it happens.”
The most recent dev announcements on the Discord repeat these statements while also warning that any other person claiming to open a crowedfunding drive for Ironmace are likely scammers. The studio apparently plans to open another funding drive at some point in an attempt to raise the originally asked-for $500K.