UPDATED 7:12 p.m. ET: Following major backlash, Valve has announced it will remove the Active Shooter video game from its popular gaming platform Steam. Deadline reports the company also removed content from Active Shooter's developer Revived Games as well as its publisher Acid.
Valve announced its decision in a statement to the publication Tuesday night:
This developer and publisher is, in fact, a person calling himself Ata Berdiyev, who had previously been removed last fall when he was operating as “[bc]Interactive” and “Elusive Team”. Ata is a troll, with a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation. His subsequent return under new business names was a fact that came to light as we investigated the controversy around his upcoming title. We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve.
The broader conversation about Steam’s content policies is one that we’ll be addressing soon.
Read the original story below.
A new video game is facing backlash for its simulation of school shootings, BuzzFeed News reports. On June 6, the gaming platform Steam will debut Active Shooter, a first-person shooter that will allow players to kill students and police officers. Many people are calling on Steam and its parent company Valve to cancel the release of the game, pointing to its insensitivity in the wake of the Parkland and Santa Fe shootings.
"It’s disgusting that Valve Corp. is trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country," Ryan Petty, the father of 14-year-old Parkland victim Alaina Petty, wrote on Facebook. "Keeping our kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities and is in no way a 'game.'"
Petty also went on Twitter to denounce the game.
Fred Guttenberg, the father of Parkland victim Jaime Guttenberg, also criticized the game online.
Stream has already released a demo of the game. Per BuzzFeed, Active Shooter lets players pick the role of a SWAT member or of active shooter whose mission is to "hunt and destroy." Russia-based game publishing house Acid is behind the game. In a statement shared on Steam’s platform, Acid’s lead developer Arthur Belkin defended the game. "This game does not promote any sort of violence, especially any [sort] of a mass shooting,” the statement reads. “There are games like Hatred, Postal, Carmageddon and etc., which are even worst compared to Active Shooter and literally focuses on mass shootings/killings of people.”
A disclaimer on Active Shooter's demo video reads: "Revived Games believes violence and inappropriate actions belong in video games and not real world."
A note on the game's Steam page adds: "Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable)."
Parkland student and survivor Samuel Zeif shared a petition against the video game, asking Valve not to launch it in the coming weeks. As of this post, more than 112,000 have signed the petition of its 150,000 goal.
The petition was created by Seattle mother Stephanie Robinett. "How can anyone sleep at night knowing that they are profiting from turning deadly school shootings into entertainment?" Robinett wrote on the petition’s page. "The company is taking the stand that this game is legal because of free speech and everything else that tech billionaires hide behind when they are doing something the public knows is absolutely, morally corrupt but legally fine—but we cannot stand for this.”