PC game pulled from Steam for apparent theft gets even messier
After a police raid on its offices and being delisted from Steam, Ironmace, developer of the upcoming MMO Dark and darker, is once again at the center of confusion and chaos. This time around, miscommunication and a wrong launch of a now-pulled GoFundMe campaign continue to make the whole ordeal a big ol’ mess.
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Back on March 8th We reported on the police raid which hit Ironmace’s office in Seongnam, South Korea. Nexon (editor of MapleStory and co-owner of the Korean publishing rights for Final Fantasy XIV) had accused Ironmace of stealing “thousands of files, including the source codes and builds” for an unreleased game and repackaging it as repackaged Dark and darker. Ironmace has also been accused of persuading Nexon employees to abandon ship and work on this fantasy MMO. nexon filed a DMCA takedown notice to request to Valve Dark and darker‘s delisting from Steam, stating that the game “appears to have been built and developed using trade secrets and copyright information copied and stolen from Nexon”. It was enough to see the game removed from Valve’s marketplaceleave Ironmace and Dark and darker in a nebulous state. Now Ironmace has gone to the game’s official discord to make direct allegations against Nexon. and launched a confusing new ordeal with a GoFundMe to help the studio “through this bullshit.”
Ironmace is asking fans for financial support
As reported by IGN“Luci”, an Ironmace developer, accepted Dark and darker‘s official Discord to take a few shots at Nexon and ask for help from the server’s tens of thousands of fans. His comments have since been removed, but they are archived on the game’s subreddit. In the statement, Luci accuses Nexon of using its size and resources to unfairly target Ironmace.
The reality of the situation is that [Nexon’s] Ultimate goal is to bleed ourselves dry in court fees. Internally we know this, they know this, the lawyers know this. They don’t have a real case that will stand up in court, but they’re praying we give up. Our concern is not the false claims [of theft] that they huddled and fed to all the media. Our game has been rebuilt from the ground up. But we’re concerned that we’ll be able to support ourselves through this legal battle they’re trying to drag us through.
They closed by asking for some money to fund Ironmace’s lawsuit. Luci shared a GoFundMe link which has since been removed but it is is said to have raised at least $30,000 while it was live.
But the story doesn’t end here, folks. While it appears that Ironmace intended to solicit funds from fans, Luci may have skipped the gun.
Ironmace gives conflicting statements about GoFundMe
What followed was quite a shit show. First, Ironmace deleted Luci’s post. Then other admins came in to announce that “LUCIS ACCOUNT COULD BE COMPROMISED”. That sounds scary, but they retracted that claim shortly thereafter.
You can read a timestamped play-by-play of the entire Discord drama in the Reddit post documenting the whole nightmare (get some popcorn first). But finally Graysun, another admin on the Dark and darker Discord server, claimed that “the GoFundMe link [was] legitimate,” the studio had actually hoped to launch later. Greysun said:
[The GoFundMe link] was released this morning without permission because a passionate member of the team took matters into their own hands. We are currently pausing the campaign due to an early announcement… We will be making another announcement on how GoFundMe is being handled.
Sdf, another Discord administrator, warned fans who want to help Ironmace to “beware of scams that exist online and never donate. Our official donation page is currently paused until further notice, so any public donation page should be considered a scam.” They named another server admin and said, “Terry or I will announce when our official donation page is live. We deeply apologize for the confusion caused by our error.”
From what was documented on the now-removed GoFundMe page, Ironmace wanted to raise $500,000 to support its efforts to continue paying its employees’ salaries and survive the legal battle with Nexon.