With school shootings happening in Florida and Texas, the issues of school shootings have been an extremely sensitive topic. Despite this fact, publisher ACID had planned to publish a game titled Active Shooter on steam in June.
The title was slated to either have players assume the role as an active shooter at a school, or a SWAT member responding to the shooting. The active shooter was tasked with killing civilians and SWAT member, and SWAT members were tasked with taking down the school shooter. To dissuade the public from thinking Active Shooter was another controversial civilian shooter, similar to HATRED, it was advertised as a simulation of sorts. With the school shootings happening this year, though, there was an enormous amount of push back against the game.
Ryan Petty, the father of victim Alaina of the Parkland shooting, spoke out against the game, writing “It’s disgusting that Valve Corp. is trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country. Keeping our kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities and is in no way a ‘game,'” on Facebook. The father of victim Jaime Guttenburg also spoke out against the game on Twitter:
I have seen and heard many horrific things over the past few months since my daughter was the victim of a school shooting and is now dead in real life. This game may be one of the worst.
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) May 27, 2018
With all of this controversy, ACID made strides to try and dissuade further controversy by planning on removing the active shooter role from the game before release. With the game set to release on Steam on June 6, everything seemed ready to go, but Valve pulled out of publishing the game on Steam a week before it was to be released. In a statement revealing why the game will no longer be on Steam, Valve writes:
This developer and publisher is, in fact, a person calling himself Ata Berdiyev, who had previously been removed last fall … 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.
It is an interesting plot twist to say the least for an already sensitive topic. ACID has not made any comments about the refusal of publishing as of yet, and the future of Active Shooter being on any digital distributor is now up in the air.