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Dev who threatened Gabe Newell has returned to Code Avarice

Announces new first-person shooter Spinal Destination.

Last month Paranautical Activity developer Mike Maulbeck found himself in hot water when in a fit of rage he threatened to kill Valve founder Gabe Newell following an ad error on Steam erroneously listing his game as still being in Early Access. Maulbeck later apologised for his behaviour, then promptly resigned. Now he's back at the studio he co-founded, Code Avarice.

"Mike couldn't commit to his decision to leave Code Avarice," the studio said on its official blog. "In the weeks following his official stepping down Mike had second thoughts. Looking for a new source of income was extremely overwhelming and when it finally came time to put pen to paper, Mike and Travis [Pfenning, co-founder] agreed the best thing to do would be to have Mike return to Code Avarice. In retrospect we should have waited until everything was finalised before making the announcement, but Mike was extremely eager to just get out and never look back."

The studio is taking steps to spruce up its professional image, such as launching a separate Twitter account just for the company, in which each post will be proofread by both Maulbeck and Pfenning. "We're taking steps to make Code Avarice more about the games and less about the people making them. From now on rather than blog posts being written and signed by one of the developers, they will all be co-written by Mike AND Travis, and written from the perspective of the company rather than an individual," the studio explained. "Interacting with Mike and Travis will now be completely optional."

Following the brouhaha surrounding Maulbeck's threat, Paranautical Activity was removed from Steam. An online petition has since been launched to get it reinstated. So far it's reached 857 signatures out of its seemingly arbitrary goal of 1000.

The developer clarified to Eurogamer that the petition wasn't initially launched by the developer, but rather its fanbase.

"The petition was initially started by a fan," Maulbeck said in an e-mail exchange with Eurogamer. "It's been really nice to see tons of people supporting Code Avarice and Paranautical Activity even after this whole ugly situation, but I don't think it will make any tangible difference to Steam. Even if it meets it's goal I'd be shocked if Steam put the game back up."

The developer then confirmed to us that he hasn't heard anything from Valve since the incident.

In other Code Avarice news, the studio has just announced a new game entitled Spinal Destination, which it described as "Left 4 Dead meets Timesplitters meets Painkiller."

"We're really excited to use all we learned making Paranautical Activity to make something even better," Code Avarice stated.

The question remains: will it come to Steam?

What do you think, dear readers: You reckon the developer ought to remain blacklisted, or should the companies hug it out and move on?

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Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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