UPDATE: Maulbeck has departed Code Avarice, the small studio behind Paranautical Activity. He's sold his stake in the company, and would receive no profits from Paranautical Activity sales in the future, according to a statement released just now.
The move appears to be a goodwill gesture towards Valve, but it's unclear if the company will change its stance.
Here's the statement:
"Yesterday, Paranautical Activity released out of steam Early Access, and following some confusion about the state of the game I became frustrated with Steam, and tweeted a series of angry tweets that ended in me sarcastically saying I was going to kill Gabe Newell. A statement I obviously didn’t mean but was regardless completely unacceptable.
As a result of my actions, Paranautical Activity, a game made by 4 or 5 people depending on who you count as team members, 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.
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).
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.
This should go without saying, but while launching your game on Steam, try to avoid death threats to Valve's founder, Gabe Newell. That's what Paranautical Activity developer Mike Maulbeck did, however, and the game has been removed from Steam.
The voxel-based shooter has been on early access for a while now, and was finally transitioning to the regular storefront. When that change happened, Steam ran a banner promoting the game's early access status. Perhaps understandably, this set off Maulbeck.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME STEAM? WE JUST RELEASED OUT OF EARLY ACCESS AND THIS IS OUR FRONT PAGE BANNER? pic.twitter.com/Zfhj4VA8UX— Mike Murderbeck (@SpooderW) October 20, 2014
This began a chain reaction of angry tweets, including the following:
First they force me to delay the game because I can't release on weekends, now this. Steam is the most incompetent piece of fucking shit.— Mike Murderbeck (@SpooderW) October 20, 2014
Being upset at Steam is one thing. Valve and Steam are not perfect, and it'd be hard to argue otherwise. But having your game on Steam is a courtesy, not a right, and Valve is a company made of people, not robots. Which means you can't do what Maulbeck did next, and tweet that's since been deleted from his timeline. He threatened Newell. Here's a screen shot of what Maulbeck originally typed out:
It'd be easy to insert a joke about Newell's obsession with knives here, but it'd downplay Maulbeck's actions and trivialize a comment that, given recent events in the industry, shouldn't be. Death threats aren't okay--ever. While it's easy to believe Maulbeck was projecting loudly and irrationally in a moment of frustration, he should know better. A professional developer doesn't talk this way, and Valve has every right to terminate its relationship with Maulbeck and Paranautical Activity. Would this have been quietly dealt with privately in another kind of environment? Possibly. But we don't live in that environment right now.
Maulbeck hasn't exactly apologized since making the comment, but he certainly seems to regret it.
People telling me it's fucking stupid to say I wanna kill gabe. Can I set up a "no shit" autoresponse on twitter?— Mike Murderbeck (@SpooderW) October 20, 2014
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