Newell death threat dev Maulbeck leaves Code Avarice

Ben Parfitt
Newell death threat dev Maulbeck leaves Code Avarice

The developer whose game was removed from Steam after he threatened the life of Valve boss Gabe Newell has left studio Code Averice.

Mike Maulbeck courted controversy yesterday when he flipped his lid after his title Paranautical Activity was accidentally listed as an Early Access game on Steam.

[It was] a statement I obviously didn't mean but was regardless completely unacceptable,” he has since stated. I feel is it my responsibility to step down from Code Avarice completely so that Steam has no reason to harbour 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 [co-owner] Travis [Pfenning]. 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.”

Sadly, despite the apology Maulbeck continues on Twitter to play down (often via retweets) the significance of the death threats – calling them ‘sarcastic - and saying that he lacked the intention or the means to carry them out. Which is of course completely beside the point.

Pfenning in a separate statement made an official apology on behalf of the studio.

I have been recently affected by my now (ex) partner's lack of civil control and inability to understand that words have consequences. I do not condone what he said,” he said. I do not believe he was in anyway justified or entitled to represent our company in this way.

I extend my hand to all of you in hopes that you can understand, that to err is human. We have all done it, at one time or another. This is not to say that what Mike said is acceptable. It most certainly is not.

I ask for support from those who really knew us as people. To stick with us if you really like the games we make. I ask you have empathy for two people who should have just stayed out of the spot light. Who should have known that saying things like this has very real life consequences.

I want to thank those who do support us. I want to thank Valve for the original opportunity to be a legitimate force in gaming. I also cannot stress to Gabe how sorry I am for this situation. This is not how I do business. Hopefully Valve and Gabe will accept our apology. This is not a ruse to get back on the platform. This is a serious apology for poor behaviour.”

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