Controversial title Active Shooter was finally taken down from Steam yesterday, Valve confirmed.
The game, due to release on June 6th, simulated a school shooting, from the perspective of an armed officer responding to the situation – though you could also play as the actual shooter. It immediately faced controversy, and rightly so, with for instance anti-gun charity Infer Trust asking for the game to be removed. Valve was also caught in the maelstrom over its lack of control (and care?) over what ends up being on Steam. Now, not only Valve has removed Active Shooter from Steam, but also the entire portfolio of both the developer and publisher.
In a statement shared to both Motherboard and Kotaku, a spokesperson from Valve said: “We have removed the developer Revived Games and publisher Acid from Steam. 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’.”
The statement continued: “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.”
Earlier this week, Berdiyev updated the Steam page following the controversy, saying that Active Shooter didn’t “promote any sort of violence” nor mass shooting (can you see me rolling my eyes right now?). He added: “Originally when this game started its course of the development, I have planned on having SWAT only based game-play. Then I thought about adding more gameplay to it by adding additional roles: of the shooter and the civilian. While I can see people’s anger and why this might be a bad idea for the game, I still feel like this topic should be left alone. As I mentioned on Steam discussion forums, there are games like Hatred, Postal, Carmageddon and etc., which are even worse compared to Active Shooter and literally focuses on mass shootings/killings of people.”
Motherboard pointed out that Berdiyev was already banned from Steam in November 2017 for a Rick and Morty parody game called Piccled Ricc, as reported by Polygon back then. The spokesperson from Valve concluded that “the broader conversation about Steam’s content policies is one that we’ll be addressing soon” and we have to say it’s about bloody time.