An indie dev has had his game Paranautical Activity pulled from the Steam store after posting a barrage of tweets criticizing the service and its creators Valve, going so far as to say that he “is going to kill” Valve’s co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell.
Mark Maulbeck’s Twitter rant, which reached Phil Fish levels of undiluted rage, was sparked after Paranautical Activity was mistakenly highlighted on the Steam store’s banner as being in Early Access, even though that’s not the case. After noticing Valve’s mistake, Maulbeck tweeted the following:
Maulbeck then tweeted: “I am going to kill Gabe Newell. He is going to die.” Though that tweet was deleted, Valve issued a statement to Kotaku, reading: “We have removed the game’s sales page and ceased relations with the developer after he threatened to kill one of our employees.” Though Maulbeck told Polygon that it was a statement he “obviously didn’t mean,” also admitting that it “totally unacceptable and driven entirely by the heat of frustration,” the damage has already been done and Paranautical Activity is no longer being sold on Steam.
Maulbeck has said that he has emailed Valve with an apology regarding his comments, though he doesn’t hold his breath that the game will return to the digital platform. Maulbeck later joked that everything was okay as Paranautical Activity had sold “twelve copies” on non-Steam platforms.
While it is overwhelmingly likely that the “death threat” wasn’t posted in sincerity, as it’s unlikely that anyone could reach the Valve founder in his fortress made of gold, it’s quite obviously idiotic to post such a thing about the managing director of a company that is hosting your game. It’s unclear whether or not Paranautical Activity will ever return to the Steam store, or whether this shot of publicity will help shift copies of the game on other platforms, but indie developers should take note: this is an example of how not to act when you release a game.