It seems Maulbeck (using the ill-chosen Halloween-themed name “Mike Murderbeck”) was a little upset that Steam‘s promotional carousel referred to Paranautical Activity as being an Early Access title, shortly after it had been reclassified as a full release.
This was enough to set the developer on a Twitter rampage, labelling Steam “the most incompetent piece of f**king shit”, claiming that the service is “f**king taking money out of my pocket” and “misinforming people that my game is in f**king early access”.
The threat to Newell has since been deleted, but the sentiment remains:
I hope by the time my next game comes out steam doesn’t have this awful fucking monopoly anymore.
Welp. PA no longer on steam. I’m done making videogames now. It sucked while it lasted.
I’m jumping back and forth between killing myself and getting a job at radio shack.
This is not the first time that there has been drama between Valve and Paranautical Activity. Last year, the first-person roguelike was submitted to the Greenlight program. Shortly after, Adult Swim offered the team a Steam publishing deal, something Maulbeck jumped at.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned, as Valve told Adult Swim it would not publish the game. The problem? The Greenlight page. Because the developers had already started the Greenlight process, Valve claimed the deal with Adult Swim would send indie developers the wrong message, namely that they should look for publishers as a way to get around the crowd-support system.
Gabe Newell explains:
Our message to indies regarding publishers is do it for your own reasons, but do not split your royalties with a publisher expecting an automatic ‘Yes’ on Greenlight.
Paranautical Activity did eventually make it through Greenlight without publishing assistance from Adult Swim, and progressed through the Early Access program, but – after today – that’s where the story ends.