Studio Behind Gabe Newell Death Threat Formally Apologizes

"Hopefully Valve and Gabe will accept our apology," dev says as it launches petition to get Paranautical Activity back on Steam.

No Caption Provided

Code Avarice, the indie studio whose co-owner Mike Maulbeck recently threatened to kill Valve boss Gabe Newell, has now formally apologized for the now-former employee's actions.

"I want to issue a formal apology from Code Avarice to all of you, and the teams at Valve," Travis Pfenning wrote on the studio's website. "Especially to Gabe Newell."

No Caption Provided

Valve removed Code Avarice's game, Paranautical Activity, from Steam last week following Maulbeck's statement that "I am going to kill Gabe Newell. He is going to die." Maulbeck was upset that Paranuatical Activity was mistakeny caption as an Early Access game, despite being a finished product.

Pfenning says he does not condone what Maulbeck said, and that his comments should not be seen as representative of Code Avarice. He hopes that the studio can move on and put this issue behind them.

"I extend my hand to all of you in hopes that you can understand, that to err is human," Pfenning said. "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."

Pfenning went on to say that he is not going to close Code Avarice and launch a new studio under a different name to escape the controversy. This would be easy, he said, but it wouldn't be right.

"Since this has happened, I have been forced to realize how fragile my love for this business has become. With success comes hate in my experience, and I have never succumbed to such behavior," he said. "This was a real threat to my livelihood and ability to take care of my family. It makes me realize that because of what he said, many of you might hold this against me as I was his partner and now am the sole owner of Code Avarice. I should probably dissolve this company and re invent myself in some other guise. I am not going to do that. I am a strong individual and admit my shortcomings. This will not be treated any differently than anything I have ever been a part of."

Pfenning added that he hopes fans continue to support Code Avarice, despite the actions of one employee who has since left the company. Going forward, Pfenning added that he will create a special Code Avarice Twitter account that will only tweet about game-related items.

"In closing, I want to thank those who do support us," Pfenning said. "I want to thank Valve for the original opportunity to be a legitimate force in gaming. I also can not 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 behavior."

Code Avarice is hoping that Paranautical Activity will return to Steam some day, and has even launched an online petition with the aim of making that happen. "We know that we've had our problems. We want to put those problems behind us and focus on what matters--providing amazing gaming experiences to you. We're not here to pretend this never happened, we're here right now, asking for your help, to prove that at the end of the day, we've learned from our mistakes and we're better now than ever before."

The petition currently has 304 signatures.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 147 comments about this story