Dark and Darker Removed From Steam Following DMCA Claim

dark and darker steam

For the gamers that were hungry for a (deep breath) ‘hardcore fantasy FPS dungeon PvPvE adventure’, Dark and Darker was the perfect game. Since the tail end of 2022, Dark and Darker has been transitioning through testing phases, but following some remarkably bad press, the game’s developer, IRONMACE, has stripped all traces of the title from Steam, the only platform that was hosting it.

Dark and Darker, which was offering a unique spin on the ‘extraction shooter’ genre popularised by the likes of Escape From Tarkov, has suffered immeasurably under the weight of negative news in recent weeks. Following scathing claims that the developer had stolen code from Nexon, IRONMACE’s studios were raided by police, and that’s where the issues kicked off in earnest.

Dark and Darker Removed and Gone Dark

For the most part, Dark and Darker was enjoying steady growth with each successive playtest. On TwitchTracker, figures show consistently rising viewership numbers across the early access playtests that took place in October, November, January, and February. It was in February that the game hit an all-time peak viewer count of more than 265,000 users.

As a hardcore PvPvE game, Dark and Darker pits players against an unforgiving range of environments, with one key goal: survive. Like Escape From Tarkov, the objective in Dark and Darker is to enter a dungeon, loot as much as possible, complete tasks, fight other players and AI opponents, and successfully leave the map.

There was another playtest due to be held in April, and ultimately, the game was scheduled to release in full towards the end of 2023. There were even talks regarding a console port of the game, which is something that is a mere pipedream for Escape From Tarkov, arguably the game’s biggest potential competitor.

However, things turned sour following a police raid on IRONMACE’s studios that took place in response to a claim of theft made by Nexon, a Japanese-South Korean studio. Now, every trace of Dark and Darker has been stripped clean from Steam.

Bad Press Gets Worse

dark and darker removed from steam
Image Credit: IRONMACE

It started with accusations, and it culminated in a DMCA claim being issued against IRONMACE. Reportedly, Nexon was working on a project named ‘P3’, and in 2021, a member of staff working on the team leaked ‘thousands of files’ related to the in-development game. IRONMACE’s founder, who started the company in 2021, was also working on the P3 project.

In a report detailed by GamesIndustry.biz, it was suggested that the now-fired member of staff that leaked the P3 files urged his ex-teammates to leave Nexon and work on a ‘game similar to P3’. Shortly after, Dark and Darker entered development, and here we are today.

In the last few hours, IRONMACE has removed every ounce of Dark and Darker from Steam and issued the following statement through its Discord server:

To all our fans, we have recently been served a cease and desist letter and DMCA takedown by Nexon regarding Dark and Darker based on distorted claims. We are currently working with our legal team to remedy this issue in the best manner possible. Due to the sensitive legal nature of this issue we must be careful with our statements so as to not jeopardize our position.

It has been argued that Dark and Darker became very popular, very fast because many Escape From Tarkov players were exploring other opportunities in the wake of an enormous issue with hackers dominating the platform. Whatever the reason was, Dark and Darker likely had a bright future ahead, especially considering the ever-growing popularity of the genre.

As the legal proceedings unfold, IRONMACE will likely defend its position against Nexon, but we’ll know in due course whether Dark and Darker will ever make a reappearance.

For more Insider Gaming news, check out our coverage of FaZe Clan’s imminent privatisation.