Not Even Gabe Newell Death Threats Can Keep This Game Off Steam

Illustration for article titled Not Even Gabe Newell Death Threats Can Keep This Game Off Steam

You might remember that roguelike FPS Paranautical Activity was yanked—with a large cane of plus 12 unceremoniousness—from Steam after its developer threatened to kill Valve head Gabe Newell. Now, amazingly, it's back. I imagine it helps that the dev in question is no longer involved.


It all went down after Valve accidentally mis-classified the finished game as an Early Access product, leading developer Mike Maulbeck to go on a Twitter tirade. After some prodding from others on the service, he angrily wrote (and quickly deleted) a tweet that read, "I am going to kill Gabe Newell. He is going to die." Obviously not the smartest thing to do when you're an indie dev scrambling for any crumb that might be jostled loose from Newell's beard. Maulbeck immediately regretted his flippant comment, but the damage was already done.

Late last year Maulbeck quit his company, Code Avarice, in penance... only to rejoin it weeks later. This time, however, Maulbeck and Paranautical Activity have finally parted ways for real. The game has been purchased wholesale by another company called Digerati Distribution, and they're now selling it on Steam as Paranautical Activity: Deluxe Atonement Edition.

Eurogamer got in touch with Digerati to find out if Valve was hesitant to accept the game back into Steam's mighty embrace—the endless game expanse, the Gabefinity—after all that's happened, and it doesn't sound like there was much trouble. A Digerati rep said, "No, [there wasn't resistance on Valve's end] at all. It involved a number of discussions but they were really responsive." They added that it only took about four weeks to get everything settled.

So that's that, then. The moral of the story? Don't bite and/or shoot off death threats at the hand that feeds unless you're willing to sell your game and start from scratch. Or something. Now there's only one question left: is Paranautical Activity any good?

You're reading Steamed, Kotaku's page dedicated to all things in and around Valve's stupidly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you've found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us an email to let us know.


To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @vahn16.



To me, the biggest revelation from this whole saga was how perverse the gaming community has become.

After it occurred, many gamers, astonishingly, saw it as a perfectly normal and uncontroversial statement.

There were constant comments (thankfully not so much at Kotaku) along the lines of: "that was just smack talk... stop overreacting and taking it seriously", and "death threats are just part of gamer culture, it was just venting".

Which is true. Go online with any game that offers voice chat, and you'll probably be threatened to be killed, disembowelled and raped within a few minutes.

But that doesn't excuse the ridiculous behaviour, either within the gaming community in general, or by this developer. I'm glad he lost the rights to his own game over his immature meltdown. If only we could do something to similarly eradicate the immaturity and vulgarity that plagues the larger gaming community. It would be nice if one day, this sort of thing wasn't seen as "normal behaviour" in any way shape or form.