Companies face backlash for creating school shooting video game

Companies face backlash for creating school shooting video game
© Screenshot / Active Shooter

The companies behind a video game called "Active Shooter" — in which players can pretend to be a shooter in a school environment — are facing backlash in the light of recent school shootings.

The game offers players the opportunity to play as either a SWAT team member or an active shooter in a school setting. In the active shooter setting, players kill police officers and civilians.

"Active Shooter's" developer, Revived Games, reportedly plans on releasing another mode of play in which players can be civilians in the mass shooting as well.

The game is set to be released on June 6 via digital store Steam, according to a report by Variety.

Steam, which was created by video game company Valve, allows users to publish games to the platform for a fee, but places restrictions on certain content. Valve also forbids "patently offensive" content or games "intended to shock or disgust viewers."

A disclaimer posted on the page asks players not to "take any of this seriously," calling the game a "simulation and nothing else."

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"If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable). Thank you,” the disclaimer reads.

Revived Games also said in a statement online that the "game does not promote any sort of violence."

Despite their defense of the game, it has received heavy criticism from those who accuse it of being insensitive in light of deadly mass shootings at schools. 

As of 8:50 p.m. Saturday night, a petition that was launched to stop the game's release had more than 6,000 signatures.

An anti-gun violence organization also condemned the game as being "in very bad taste" and "horrendous."

"Why would anybody think it’s a good idea to market something violent like that, and be completely insensitive to the deaths of so many children?" Infer Trust told the BBC. "We’re appalled that the game is being marketed.”

The game comes amid a renewed push for gun control and a heated debate over guns across the country. The push has largely been led by student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead and others injured. 

Last week 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, and on Friday a shooter opened fire at a middle school in Indiana. 

— This report was updated on May 27 at 6:47 a.m.