An online gaming platform that was set to sell a game called ‘Active Shooter,’ pulled the video game before it was released after an outcry from mass shooting victims' families.
In the game, which was scheduled to be released on June 6, gamers could play from the point of view of an active shooter, firing at civilians and SWAT team members, or from the point of view of a SWAT team member.
“Pick your role, gear up and fight or destroy! Be the good guy or the bad guy,” a description for the game, developed by Acid Publishing Group, read on Steam before the game was removed on Tuesday night. “The choice is yours!”
People who lost loved ones in shootings quickly worked together to protest the game.
"These active shooter games encourage copycats and those with violent tendencies to become desensitized to the carnage we know too well,” Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Redfield Ghawi was one of 12 victims shot to death inside a movie theater playing “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, told Oxygen.com.
After her daughter's death, Phillips and her husband founded a non-profit called Survivors Empowered. She said her group is "glad they chose to pull the game but saddened that the game was ever designed at all."
Acid Publishing Group, which has an online page in both English and Russian, aimed to sell the game for 10 dollars or less on Steam. The developer wrote a blog post last week stating, "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 post went on to claim that the game doesn’t promote violence.
Many parents of kids who died in the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida said they felt otherwise.
"They're trying to profit off of it, and I think it's disgusting," Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting, told NBC News. "We are trying to prevent this from happening again, and they are encouraging it. It is despicable. It is vile."
An online petition to pull the game garnered over 200,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday night, Valve, which runs Steam, announced they were pulling the game, citing issues with the game’s developer and publisher. They wrote in a statement that the developer and publisher was "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.”
Valve went on to say that because of the controversy surrounding “Active Shooter,’ they discovered that Berdiyev was trying to conduct business under a different name.
“We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve," the company said.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.