It’s been a cursed couple of months for the developers of the dungeon-crawling PvP extraction game Dark and Darker Gold: They’ve endured a DMCA takedown, a police raid, and DDOS attacks, together to distribute a playtest entirely by torrent links. The developers have finally defied Nexon, Steam, Discord, and Twitter to get players in their free-to-playtest, and that is some exceptional underdog behavior.
Dark and Darker’s fourth alpha playtest in February became a surprise hit, pulling a peak that has reached over 100,000 concurrent players being a Steam Next Fest demo. It became a great time to try out at a party with friends, excellent fodder for clip compilations, RPG build theorists, and PvP lovers, and lastly gave me the non-FPS extraction game I’ve been needing.
After that, most of the highs, dark and darker gold have been doing freefall for just two months. Game publisher Nexon, the former employer of two individuals Ironmace, has accused the developers of stealing code and assets, which resulted in a police raid around the developer’s South Korean office, removing the game from Steam by DMCA takedown request, as well as a short-lived GoFundMe campaign to help with the developer’s expected legal defense fees.
And in spite of the total trash fire, players are absolutely loving it. YouTube is stuffed with videos of Dark and Darker players displaying and sharing their builds. Reddit has threads defending the developers and mourning the tip of the playtest. The biggest point of contention within the official Discord is disappointment that Ironmace didn’t extend the final date in the playtest to produce up for that downtime over the weekend. If another game were being so tragically messy, fans could possibly have switched on it, but Ironmace is really a small indie team, and Dark and Darker merely damn fun game.
Before the Nexon beef even came to light, Ironmace was presenting itself as a possible underdog which has a mission. A statement on its website reads:
We certainly are a merry band of veteran game developers disillusioned because of the exploitative and greedy practices we once helped create. We are pros who have worked on many of the biggest hits in Korea.
We’ve seen top-notch how corporate game companies sell their soul with an easy payday. We are disappointed to find out them doubling on more and more exploitative practices, increasingly like casinos rather than bringing joy to gamers.
For now, might know about do have is incredibly clear proof of how incredibly tenacious Ironmace has been doing getting players into its game. After getting booted over the biggest gaming storefront on PC, Ironmace continued to subvert the principles on both Discord and Twitter and force a lot of players to master how to torrent files for the first time in their lives all to experience an alpha. It was by far the most punk PC gaming moment of 2023 to date.
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