Video game developer Valve Corporation has pulled the “Active Shooter” game from Steam, the company’s online store. Valve had faced intense criticism from mass-shooting victims, their families, gun-control advocates and lawmakers from across the political spectrum, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Valve said, “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.”
In the “Active Shooter” simulator, players can control a school shooter or a responding SWAT officer and “protect and extract or hunt and destroy.” The game drew condemnation from those on both sides of the gun debate ahead of its June 6 release date for being insensitive to mass shootings like those at high schools in Santa Fe, Tx., and Parkland, Fl., in which more than two dozen people were killed. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he was “shocked” that Valve would consider releasing the game in light of recent events. He said, “It is painful and offensive to the families of the victims of school shootings and to parents and students everywhere. As you know, many fear violent video games desensitize players to violence and could influence a student somewhere to act out the violence portrayed in the game in real life.” “Active Shooter’s” Steam listing includes a disclaimer telling players not to take it seriously, and that those who feel like hurting others should call 911 or get psychiatric help.