Valve has removed the indie roguelike first-person-shooter Paranautical Activity from Steam after the game's developer tweeted a death threat toward Valve head man Gabe Newell. The issue that led to Paranautical Activity being removed began when it became apparent that the final release of the game, out in time for Halloween, was still marked as being in Early Access despite its full retail launch happening yesterday.
Paranautical Activity’s developer Mike Maulbeck chose the very public sphere of Twitter to vent his frustration at Valve’s error in no uncertain terms. However when is tirade of anger culminated in a tweet that read “I am going to kill gabe newell. He is going to die”, Valve decided to put an end to the fiasco once and for all at that point and the pulled the plug on its Steam storefront activity. Despite the tweet in question being hastily deleted by Maulbeck, the damage was already done.
Valve removed the game from Steam and closed down Maulbeck’s admin accounts, cutting all ties with the developer. According to Maulbeck the game had sold roughly the same amount of copies in an hour on all other platforms as it was every minute on Steam, so any chance of commercial success from the game will have to be put on hold unless Maulbeck does some serious grovelling to Valve.
In an email reportedly sent to Maulbeck Valve explained that it was tolerant of partners expressing issues over social media but “death threats cross the line”. A firm stance from Valve, and some would argue well within its rights to protect the safety of employees. However, Maulbeck, despite apologising, seemed defiant and angry at the company for having such a monopoly over the PC gaming industry.
For the foreseeable future Paranautical Activity will not be available on Steam. However, the developer is reporting through Twitter that it is available on Humble, Gamersgate and Desura. A quick check on Humble however reveals that it is no longer on the Humble store, so it seems other digital storefronts may be following suit.
Do you think taking down the game was well within Valve''s rights, or is it an alarming demonstration of the platform's power to effectively ruin a games chance of success? Let us know in the comments section!