The creator of Paranautical Activity threaten to kill Gabe Newellcomment_here

gabe newell minigun
Gabe Newell and his minigun.

This world just keeps on getting more and more crazy (just take the recent terror acts in Canada for ex). And i´m not even talking about #GamerGate now, or the death treats against a handful of female indie devs and Youtube personalities.

No, i´m talking about that one indie dev (one of the creators behind the indie game "Paranautical Activity", Mike Maulbeck) that literally said that he would kill Valve´s boss Gabe Newell. I can't justify that act of course (because it´s wrong on so many levels). However, there´s a even more interesting story behind WHY the Paranautical Activity indie dev decided to threaten to kill Gabe Newell.

And this is the reason why. Apparently Code Avarice (the studio behind Paranautical Activity) had a really hard time on Steam. To be exact, they struggled with the platform (as we all know as "Steam"). Because when Code Avarice announced that Paranautical Activity was ready for launch.

paranautical activity
Paranautical Activity was up and running on Steam earlier today. Now the store page is nowhere to be found.

Steam still listed the game as a Early Access game. And that was the last drop for Mike Maulbeck. He just lost it, and toke out his fustration and anger on Gabe Newell. 

And this is what Maulbeck told Eurogamer via e-mail:

“Valve marked our game as ‘now on Early Access’ as we released the final version (no longer in Early Access),” “I knew this would greatly cripple sales and confuse customers.” Maulbeck told Eurogamer via e-mail 

That was not the end of Mike´s rant over internet though. He also spitted out tweets calling Valve “incompetent pieces of sh-t” and describing Valve as a  "f-cking monopoly". But it was this one tweet that got Mike Maulbeck in deep trouble:

“I’m going to kill Gabe Newell,”
“He is going to die.”

And Valve wasn´t late to react on that kind of respons. So they pulled the plug on Paranautical Activity on Steam, and removed Maulbeck’s private account as well. A action which Doug Lombardi later commented on via Polygon:

“Yes, we have removed the game’s sales page and ceased relations with the developer after he threatened to kill one of our employees,” Doug Lombardi, Valve

And as one might imagine. This could just end badly for Mike Maulbeck. Which it also did. In fact, Mike chose to resign from Code Avarice. And left all the rights for Paranautical Activity and half of the company (Code Avarice) to Travis (the second co-owner of Code Avarice).

Mike then wrote a blog post about his choice of leaving Code Avarice. Here´s a short draft of that post:

"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. I’m out."Mike Maulbeck, ex Code Avarice dev and co-owner

Well, what can i say. Things really change fast  in the video game industry. First you´re a part of a really successful indie dev crew (that had a successful Kickstarter campaign). Then you´re threatning Gabe Newell, which then leaves you jobless.

All those events occurred in a little more than one year. So Mike really went from everything, to nothing. In the blink of an eye...So is there any lessons to be learned from this? Well, besides the obvious one i mean. Because It´s not the best of ideas to "litterly" threaten to kill Gabe Newell (that just happens to own Valve, and thus Steam. Where Mike´s game just happen to be at).

I would say that it would be a really, really good idea for indie devs to learn how to keep their cool (no matter what). Or else this nightmare story might just be the outcome...

At the same time however. Valve could have handled the Steam issues with Paranautical Activity way better than what they actually did.Because then i nothing of this would have happened for sure.


/Robin E
The Gaming Ground
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