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Spintires creator claims publisher has frozen him out of his own game

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Spintires is an off-road driving simulator in which you take hard-as-nails Soviet-era vehicles on excursions through the rugged Russian wilderness. The outstanding physics make for a very realistic simulation of hardcore off-roading, but as a game, it doesn't have a whole lot else going on. You're not racing for the flag against other players or hurrying to evacuate Strelok from the Exclusion Zone; you're just driving around muddy woods. Andy Kelly said in his June review that it felt like an Early Access game because its scope is so limited, and now it appears that it could stay that way forever.

In a message posted on the Russian social network VK and translated on Steam, developer Pavel Zagrebelnyj accused UK-based publisher Oovee of taking the money and skipping town, leaving him unable to update the game. "Sad news... just seemed like the development process started, I almost finished my map and tools to develop mods (free upgrade)... as our Englishmen from oovee together with the loot disappeared," he said. "I don't have permissions to upload the update to Steam. So now I'll complete and release map editor, in the version it is now, and this will be end of Spintires."

He also claimed that Oovee was deleting his posts from its official English-language forum, effectively cutting him off from a large part of his audience. Oovee, however, has denied the allegations, saying Zagrebelnyj has been paid in full and that there is no breach of contract on either side. It also expressed hope that development will resume soon, and said that talks to expand the team to allow for faster and more wide-ranging development were also planned.

"Unfortunately there have been some communication issues recently which appear to have lead to this post being made by Pavel on the Russian forum," it wrote on its own forums. "Oovee has not been notified of any contract terminations or anything of that matter—a discussion will be held on the subject to rectify any misunderstandings."

As for future updates, it added, "As Oovee owns the rights to Spintires, we have no plans of our own to halt and/or cease to develop the game further."

Zagrebelnyj said he still holds the rights to the technology and source code, however, and may use that to create another, similar game.

Andy Chalk
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.