Developer resigns after Gabe Newell death threat

Yesterday developer, Mike Maulbeck, made possibly the stupidest decision of his professional life- threatening to kill Valve founder Gabe Newell. The ‘sarcastic’ remark was a result of his companies game, Paranautical Activity, being shown as an Early Access title on the Steam homepage, shortly after it had been reclassified as a full release.

Paranautical Activity

The promotional image that started it all

The game was subsequently pulled from Steam, prompting the developer to decide that it was probably best to step down from Code Avarice, so that they could assume damage control.

In a public resignation letter, Maulbeck apologises to Valve and his co-workers at Code Avarice, and hopes that Valve will reconsider there position once he is out of the picture. You can read the letter in its entirety below:

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.

I’m out.

Code Avarice also issued a formal apology which can be read here.

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