The legal battle between publishing giant Nexon and a small group of ex-employees at Ironmace who left to make their own game is only getting uglier. Nexon's claims that Ironmace's Dark and Darker illegally uses code and concepts from its own cancelled "P3" project have so far resulted in a police raid on Ironmace's South Korean studio and the official removal of Dark and Darker's Steam page.
Ironmace is fighting the claim, having this week published its own evidence that Dark and Darker was developed from scratch and utilized purchased assets from the Unreal library. Whether or not Nexon has a case against Ironmace, the verdict isn't likely to come before months of expensive legal proceedings.
Today, an Ironmace admin on the Dark and Darker Discord named Luci published an open letter, intentionally without consulting Ironmace leadership, about the stressful legal battle and detailing what they believe is an attempt by a large company to financially outlast its smaller competitor.
The post included a link to a GoFundMe page supposedly meant to raise money for legal fees and allow Ironmace to continue Dark and Darker development, though in a strange twist, the post was briefly deleted before being reposted by the same account. As of this writing, the letter has once again been removed and the GoFundMe page has been deleted, too. The page was live for less than an hour and raised over $46,000.
"We aren't a big ass studio, and we don't have an infinite supply of money like Nexon," Luci wrote. "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."
Minutes after the letter's reposting, a lower-level moderator named Mellie-Mellow urged fans not to donate to the GoFundMe, as they had not been able to confirm if the letter is legit.
Moderators proceeded to close the server's general and off-topic chat channels until things were sorted out. Around two hours after the incident began, an Ironmace admin named Graysun confirmed that the open letter and now-deleted GoFundMe page were legitimate, though published "without approval due to a passionate member of the team taking matters into his own hands."
"We have currently paused the campaign for now as it was prematurely announced," Graysun wrote. "We appreciate the enormous amount of support shown in such a little amount of time! We are very sorry for the confusion and will take the proper steps to resolve this within the next few hours. We will make another announcement on how the GoFundMe will be handled."
Before the campaign was paused, its goal was set at $500,000. You can read the deleted open letter from admin Luci below.