Paranautical Activity, a voxel-based FPS-roguelike mashup indie, was pulled from Steam’s digital store after its creator delivered targeted death threats against Valve’s Gabe Newell.
Code Avarice dev and creator Mike Maulbeck issued these threats after a bout of frustration with the platform.
As Maulbeck pointed out, on the game’s launch day–arguably the most important day for any indie game–Steam hadn’t updated its status: Paranautical Activity was still listed it as an Early Access game.
After noting that Steam delayed his game because “it couldn’t be released on weekends” and that being labeled as Early Access could “cripple sales”, Maulbeck’s vexation rose to a boiling point.
“Valve marked our game as ‘now on Early Access’ as we released the final version (no longer in Early Access),” Maulbeck told Eurogamer via e-mail. “I knew this would greatly cripple sales and confuse customers.”
Then Maulbeck crossed the line. “I’m going to kill Gabe Newell,” the deranged developer said. “He is going to die.”
Valve promptly responded to this death threat by pulling Paranautical Activity from Steam altogether and cancelling Maulbeck’s private account.
“Yes, we have removed the game’s sales page and ceased relations with the developer after he threatened to kill one of our employees,” Valve’s Doug Lombardi said to Polygon.
Maulbeck affirms that he reached out to Valve in an effort to fix the game’s erroneous listing, but ultimately the interactions left the dev angrier than ever.
“I in fact had already begun getting tweets and e-mails from people claiming I marked it as Early Access myself to try and avoid criticism of the final version,” Maulbeck continued in his correspondence with Eurogamer.
As a result to the tumult caused by his threats, Matt Maulbeck reveals that he’s resigned from Code Avarice.
“I’m really, deeply sorry that my short sighted, hot tempered actions resulted in not only my own dreams and aspirations being destroyed, but those of the entire team I worked with. I’m sorry that my statements made Valve and/or Gabe uncomfortable and upset (rightfully so).”
Maulbeck will no longer be a part of the games industry and “will not receive any money made by Paranautical Activity” nor will he “have a hand in future CA games”.