Spintires developer denies sabotage claims


A strange and troubling spot of drama recently swept through the Spintires community, in the form of allegations that developer Pavel Zagrebelnyj had inserted crash-inducing “time bombs” into the game's code in retaliation for the failure of publisher Oovee to pay him for his work. Four different bugs appeared in quick succession, each of them fixed by Spintires users, before sales of the game on Steam were suspended outright. Oovee said in a statement that nothing untoward was happening, that the problems were simply the result of conventional bugs, and that it was actually working with Zagrebelnyj to fix them. And even though the whole situation looked dodgy as hell, Zagrebelnyj has confirmed that it is in fact the case.

“I did not do anything to make the game malfunction intentionally. Programming is a tricky business and everybody creates bugs—the problem is, that one was a critical bug that wasn't fixed in time,” he said in an email. As for why the bugs seemingly appeared out of nowhere, so long after the game's release, he continued, “There were multiple big updates—last one some two months ago, which fixed many old bugs... and introduced new ones, apparently.”

Zagrebelnyj doesn't know why it was necessary to remove the game from Steam, nor does he have any control over getting it back. “This can only be done by Oovee,” he said. But he did confirm that the game is now fixed, “and what happened shouldn't happen again.”

As for his reported dispute with Oovee over lack of payment, he attributed the claim of missed payments reported by Eurogamer to the fact that he's just not very good at interviews, adding, “[I] say a lot of things that make everything worse.” He declined to comment on the state of his relationship with the publisher, however, or to say whether his dispute with it has been resolved.

Spintires is now back on Steam, and Oovee has promised a “full and frank statement regarding the cause of the problem and how we plan to avoid this happening again” within the next few days. It also warned that the DLL fix created by forum user Localhost must be removed if it was installed, and Steam restarted, before the game will work properly.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.