UPDATE 9:19 p.m. ET: Since the original publication of this story, Valve has confirmed to Variety that Active Shooter has been removed from their Steam storefront window, and the game's developer, Revived Games, and publisher, Acid, have been removed as well.
Amid an ongoing debate over whether violent video games influence violent acts, some critics — including victims and families of recent mass shootings — are calling for Valve to pull Active Shooter, a forthcoming school shooting simulation game, from its popular Steam online game distribution platform.
The game, from Russia-based developer Acid, allows players to step into the role of a shooter (as well as a law enforcement officer) from a first-person perspective in a number of scenarios that simulate mass shootings and other real-world-based scenarios, as well as more fantastical ones, such as an announced “zombie survival” mode.
An unnamed Acid representative said on the game’s Steam page that Active Shooter is “essentially a dynamic SWAT simulator in which dynamic roles are offered to players.”
Backlash over the game has lit up social media debates over the past few days, as gun control advocates and some affected by shootings this year in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas called for Valve to drop the game from its release schedule.
Fred Guttenberg, parent of one of the students killed in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, tweeted that Active Shooter is among “the worst” of the horrific things he’s seen this year. Some politicians and advocacy groups, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, shared similar opinions.
The heavy criticism has prompted Acid, via its Steam page, to announce that it is considering dropping the portion of the game that allows players to take up the role of a school shooter.
“After receiving such high amount of critics and hate, I will more likely remove the shooters role in this game by the release, unless if it can be kept as it is right now,” the Acid poster said, after maintaining that the game “does not promote any sort of violence, especially any so[r]t of a mass shooting.”
Valve has not yet indicated whether it will respond to calls for the company to remove Active Shooter from Steam ahead of the game’s scheduled June 6 release. A petition at Change.org calling for Valve to do exactly that had amassed 109,000 signatures at the time of this article’s posting.
SYFY WIRE has reached out to Valve marketing vice president Doug Lombardi for comment.