The Spintires saga rumbles on. Yesterday, we reported on the apparent 'timebombs' in the game's code, which were causing crashes. Reverse-engineering of the code led to the belief that these crashes had been implemented intentionally and may have been the result of a well-documented breakdown in the relationship between developer and publisher. Now, the game's creator Pavel Zagrebelny has denied any responsibility for the issues. Meanwhile, the game is no longer for sale on Steam as publishers Oovee work to fix "a major bug". Full comments below.
Pavel spoke to Gamasutra, denying that he would do anything to compromise players' experience with the game.
...I would never do something that would affect the gamers! In fact I do my best to make sure the game only brings joy to whoever plays it.
He then explained the issue that may be causing the crashes:
"I dont understand who and why started the rumours of sabotaging - apparently they are based on reverse engineering Spintires code? But there is in fact a time-related bug (a self-check uses time functions to see if game wasn't cracked by pirates) which was not fixed in time (because we have little to no communicating with Oovee.)"
The fix for that bug has already been passed to Oovee, he says:
The bug was fixed a day ago and should be uploaded to Steam - I dont know what actually prevents Oovee from going with it now.
In addition, Pavel repeated claims made to Eurogamer recently that Oovee have not fulfilled the terms of his contract:
"...it's true, they violated our contract from day 1 basically and still owe me lots of money. What makes it worse is that they dont ever comment on that if I ask if they plan to resolve the issue anyhow. I was compensated but not in full."
For their part, Oovee have released a statement expressing their "displeasure" about reports of "sabotage":
"We are aware of recent press speculation relating to sabotage of the Spintires game by the lead developer Pavel. We wish to express our displeasure at this speculation and totally refute these and other recent allegations. It is a shame that some press are reporting this without talking to us, and even saying in some articles they are yet to talk to us.
"The situation on the bug is that we became aware of a major bug last week that caused the game to stop for some users. We have been working on this with Pavel since it came up.
"Progress on the next planned update has been suspended while we sort the bug issue.
"We believe we have now identified the problem and are now testing at this very moment a hot fix provided by Pavel, who is also ready to help further if needed. We're fully focused now on making the game work properly again, so please allow us to get this sorted first and we'll then be able to explain what has caused this and then carry on with future updates we have planned."
It is a shame that Oovee didn't reply when I contacted them for comment yesterday. If we piece together the two statements, Pavel's claim that he doesn't know why Oovee haven't gone ahead with the fix he provided is actually answered in the publisher's statement. They're testing the fix. What isn't clear is how the two parties have been managing to work on fixing the bug "since it came up" if there really is "little to no [communication]", or what the status of the contractual disagreements are.
I've contacted Oovee to ask for comment on those points.