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Code Avarice: Valve "pulled the rug out from under our feet"

Paranautical Activity facing a battle to publish on Steam

Independent gaming studio Code Avarice is facing a battle to publish its Paranautical Activity on Steam, after an old Greenlight page lead to Valve blocking the developer's publishing deal with Adult Swim.

"We had a deal with Adult Swim to publish our steam release," said Code Avarice's Mike Maulbeck.

"However since we had an old Greenlight page set up for the game Valve decided they 'didn't want to send the message that indies can seek out publishers to bypass Steam Greenlight' and pulled the rug out from under our feet. All of our promotion and planning has been done expecting to get on Steam with no problem, so we're in a pretty rough spot."

Code Avarice is a two man team, Maulbeck and Travis Pfenning, and the creators of DimensionZ. It set up its Greenlight page for Paranautical Activity in September last year.

"So now we're just dead in the water, we've got a Greenlight campaign that we haven't touched in months and we have to resurrect it from the ashes," Maulbeck said in an interview with Green9090.

"Whose dick do I have to suck to get on to this f***ing platform?"

Travis Pfenning

"And Adult Swim, I've contacted them because really the only reason I even considered giving them a chunk of our profits is because they said 'we'll get you onto Steam' so now are you going to help promote this Greenlight campaign? Because if not then I'm not going to give you 40 per cent of my money. And then they hit me back and they were like 'well we don't really want to get public with this yet because we don't want any backlash from Steam', so they're not even going to help us with the Greenlight campaign at this point."

The pair also revealed they currently had no commitment to Adult Swim, but were still tempted by the funds they could provide to support advertising and travel expenses.

Pfenning also suggested that the pair could explore other publishing routes, away from Steam, if the situation continued.

"If that is the case and we're going to get boycotted from Steam or we're going to have to jump through this hoops then we might want to make a move pushing towards something like Sony Entertainment or something like that."

They've actually been approached by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe about the game appearing on console, but admit they'd have to do some "tricky business" to make it run properly on the machine.

Press surrounding the situation has caused much discussion on the Paranautical Activity Greenlight page, but whether that will translate into votes is yet to be seen. Unsurprisingly the events seem to have made both men a little cynical about the whole Greenlight process.

"It's not about having a good game, it's about knowing how to trick people and convince people to click that little button. You can see that by, no offence to the developers of some of the games, but some really poor stuff that's not seemed quality that's been getting onto Steam," said Maulbeck. Pfenning had a blunter take on the situation.

"I feel like it's one of those things, whose dick do I have to suck to get on to this f***ing platform? And I really don't think that that's fair."

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Rachel Weber avatar

Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.

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