Paranautical Activity dev booted off Steam after threatening Gabe Newell [UPDATE]

By Brenna Hillier
21 October 2014 01:58 GMT

Paranuatical Activity developer Mike Maulbeck has resigned from Code Avarice after going on a Twitter tirade against Steam yesterday which resulting in Valve pulling the game from Steam.

In a blog post, Maulbeck stated he sold his ownership of the company to co-founder Travis Pfenning.

“As a result of my actions, Paranautical Activity, was removed from Steam. I feel is it my responsibility to step down from Code Avarice completely so that Steam has no reason to harbor any more ill will towards the company, and maybe even if we can’t see Paranautical Activity restored, at least future Code Avarice games may be allowed onto the platform,” he wrote.

“I’m sorry that my statements made Valve and/or Gabe uncomfortable and upset (rightfully so). My temper and tendency to use Twitter to vent has been a consistent problem since I entered the games industry, and I just can’t do it. I don’t have the willpower necessary to be the “face” of a company. If I do continue to work in games it’ll be as an anonymous 1 of 1000 at some shitty corporation, not the most public figure of a single digit sized team.

“I’ve sold my half of Code Avarice to Travis. Given up all my rights to CA as a company, and all it’s intellectual properties. I won’t receive any money from the sale of Paranautical Activity or any future games CA develops, I won’t be consulted on business decisions, and I won’t have any hand in development.”

Co-founder Pfenning stated on Twitter he feels the whole situation “is ludicrous” and doesn’t feel Maulbeck should have left the company. He also said felt Maulbeck’s reaction wouldb’t have been taken as seriously if not for “the GamerGate people threatening people and meaning it.”

The original story is as follows (via PCgameN).

Original story

Paranuatical Activity developer Mike Maulbeck went on a Twitter rant about Steam, and has since found himself kicked off the service.

The drama first began when Paranautical Activity was featured on Steam’s promotional carousel. These advertising slots are highly sought after, but Maulbeck was greatly distressed to see the banner posted by Steam showed an Early Access label.

As it happens, the game had just reached full release that very day, having been delayed in line with Steam’s release policies, which had also upset Maulbeck.

Somewhere among all this anger, Maulbeck issued a death threat against Gabe Newell. The tweet has since been deleted, but Player Attack grabbed a screenshot. Additionally, Maulbeck has openly admitted to making the comment:

To nobody’s surprise, Paranautical Activity has since been removed from Steam.

“We have removed the game’s sales page and ceased relations with the developer after he threatened to kill one of our employees,” a spokesperson told Kotaku.

Maulbeck told Polygon that he reached out to Valve to try and smooth things over, but was unsuccessful. He described his threat as “a statement I obviously didn’t mean, but nonetheless was totally unacceptable and driven entirely by the heat of frustration I was feeling at the time”.

“I have since obviously replied to them saying that I didn’t mean what I said and pleaded that they consider the monopoly they have on the PC market before totally writing us off, but let’s be real. If they took the game off the store, they’re fuckin sure about their decision. There’s probably nothing to be done.”

Maulbeck is now in despair, as he says he can’t make a living without Steam.

Maulbeck has had a pretty rough history with Valve. His game was first submitted via Steam Greenlight, and when Adult Swim offered a publishing contract, Valve refused to allow it. Maulbeck ended up taking the game to Kickstarter to raise the necessary.

There are certainly some questions to be asked about Steam’s hold on the PC indie market, promotional methods and developer support. But as should be obvious to everyone, there are no situations where it threatening violence against someone on the Internet is a good idea.

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