Lineage III Source Code Stolen

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South Korea-based MMO publisher and developer NCsoft believes the source code for its upcoming MMO Lineage III was stolen by former employees and sold to a Japanese competitor, Korean newspaper Digital Chosun Ilbo reports (thanks Gamasutra). In addition to the development and production of the Lineage series, NCsoft also handles the publishing of Guild Wars, developed by NCsoft subsidiary ArenaNet, and Cryptic Studios' City of Heroes.

NCsoft projects losses stemming from the theft may exceed 1 trillion Korean won (US$1 billion). Lost subscription fees, a major source of income for MMOs, likely account for a large portion of that figure.

The Lineage series has enjoyed much success in the Korean market, though it has been overshadowed in the United States by the popularity of other MMOs, such as Verant Interactive's EverQuest and Blizzard's World of Warcraft. Together, Lineage and Lineage II (pictured left) have brought in over KRW 1.5 trillion (US$1.6 billion) for NCsoft.

According to Seoul Metropolitan police, seven ex-employees of NCsoft are suspected in the incident. Police speculate the theft likely occurred during a series of job interviews with an as-yet-unnamed Japanese company in February, in which those former employees provided examples of their software work. Those seven are also believed to have played a part in the leak of the Lineage III program design this past September.

Citing police and industry insiders, the article also details a recent internal struggle within NCsoft. Following the dismissal of a senior game developer as a result of poor leadership skills, the Digital Chosun Ilbo claims, most of NCsoft's 90-person development team quit.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    April 30, 2007 9:15 AM

    What is Lineage III?

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      April 30, 2007 9:17 AM

      "for its upcoming MMO Lineage III"

      lineage and its sequel are really popular in korea and some parts of asia. even more so before all the wow craze.

      • reply
        April 30, 2007 9:20 AM

        Lineage 2 sucked when I beta tested it. I don't see why anyone would play it.

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          April 30, 2007 9:29 AM

          probably because its made for pvp or its targeting another group of player than you? no idea, but at some point it was the most popular mmo. i think they still have over 1,5+ million subscribers in that region.

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            April 30, 2007 2:48 PM

            It was popular because it was Korean. Both Lineage games are horrible in comparison to many other current MMORPGs.

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            May 1, 2007 10:45 AM

            What WoW doesn't have: attack anyone, unsolicited PvP, PKs, dropping items, item drops from red=dead players, castles, skinny people, etc.