Korean police raid Dark and Darker developer Ironmace after Korean gaming studio Nexon claims it stole assets and personnel.

Korean Police Raid Dark and Darker Developer Ironmace

Korean police raided the office of video game developer Ironmace earlier this week, seizing materials related to the company’s game Dark and Darker (via Korea JoongAng Daily and GamesIndustry.biz). The raid occurred on Tuesday at the studio’s office in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, and it follows allegations of Ironmace stealing not just game assets but even personnel from Nexon, one of the Korean game industry’s leaders. Ironmace denies the validity of the allegations.

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According to a user in the company’s Discord stating they are an Ironmace employee, police did not find any evidence they were searching for, and the raid was over quickly.

Former Nexon employee Park Sueng-ha founded Ironmace in October of 2021. Prior to the founding, Park was working on a game project called P3 at Nexon, which according to Nexon shared “major gameplay, rules and arts” in common with Dark and Darker. Nexon finds it unlikely this game could have been made “independently” of P3 development. Nexon further claims that Leader A not only leaked specific builds and game codes of P3, but actively recruited from Nexon’s own personnel, encouraging them to quit their work on P3 and create a similar game elsewhere.

The P3 team leader, referred to in legal documentation only as “Leader A,” was terminated from Nexon in July 2021 for, according to Nexon’s legal team, allegedly leaking thousands of P3 files and related content. According to Korea JoongAng Daily, of the original 20-person team Nexon had working on P3, nearly half now work for Ironmace, including Leader A.

Dark and Darker entered a test on Steam back in August of 2022, and the game is slated to enter early access in April 2023, with a full release planned by the year’s end.

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Jeff Levene
Jeff Levene is an avid lover and writer of games, film, and theatre, who plays a little too much DnD in their free time. You can follow them on Twitter at @jefflevene498