It has been quite a while since we heard from the PvPvE dungeon crawler Dark and Darker, but readers might remember that all through the month of April there was no shortage of news. As a refresher, the game was first debuted as one of February’s Steam Next Fest highlights but was kicked off of Steam over stolen code accusations from Nexon, which alleged that Ironmace’s title bore a strong resemblance to its own 2021 Project P3 and further asserted that devs at Ironmace who were working on P3 at the time stole the project’s code and used it to make their own game. The whole legal scuffle led to a supposedly unauthorized crowdfunding drive to raise legal fee money, beleaguered alpha playtesting, and ultimately a copyright infringement lawsuit from Nexon that is yet to be resolved.
It’s that legal sword of Damocles that players will probably want to keep in mind when they learn that Ironmace has launched the game in early access this week thanks to a partnership with the Chaf Games platform while selling founder’s packs and cash shop currency on its own storefront. Buying the early access title will cost either $35 or $50 depending on what bundle is selected, while the redstone shard cash shop currency costs up to $40.
“We want to address the elephant in the room and talk about the addition of the in-game shop,” the announcement reads. “Our assumption when we started this company was that you could still build a lucrative business while being true to your fans. The in-game shop is our attempt at being realistic with the business of running an online game but trying to find a way to do it without resorting to random loot boxes and FOMO items.”
The announcement further points out that the dungeon crawler is in an early state and so will have missing key features and “many growing pains” to navigate. Additionally, the game will not be available to Korean fans because of a ratings board delay, and it will not feature VoIP support because its legal team “wants to make sure all our agreements are absolutely perfect, especially when it comes to dealing with user data and third-party partners.” There’s no mention whatsoever of the copyright lawsuit anywhere in the announcement, so bear that in mind before you hit Ironmace with a wallet.