School Shooting Game Removed From Steam; Valve Calls Creator A "Troll"
"We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve."
Valve has pulled a game from Steam that allowed you to play as a school shooter targeting students in some situations. In a statement to Motherboard, Valve confirmed the game--Active Shooter--was yanked and further commented on the person behind it who has a history of being problematic and controversial on the platform.
"We have removed the developer Revived Games and publisher ACID from Steam," Valve said. "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.'"
Active Shooter was due to launch on June 6. You could either play as a SWAT team going in to neutralize a school shooter or play as the school shooter. According to Eurogamer, the publisher defended the game in a forum post where it claimed that the title "does not promote any sort of violence." The publisher said it planned to remove the ability to play as the shooter before launch in response to the "high amount of critics and hate."
Valve's statement did not include any specific reasons for removing School Shooter from Steam. However, the company told Kotaku that Beriyev is a "troll [with] a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation."
"We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve," the representative said.
According to Motherboard, Valve previously booted Berdiyev from Steam after he released the game "Piccled Ricc," which took inspiration from a Rick & Morty episode. Berdiyev was accused of "asset flipping," which is a process where developers make games quickly and cheaply by using pre-made assets and doing little of their own work. Valve allows anyone to release and self-publish games on Steam using the Steam Direct system, so games like Active Shooter and others do not face the same kind of scrutiny as they do on other platforms.
According to SteamSpy data, more than 7,600 games were released on Steam last year, which works out to 21 per day. That's a lot of games, so it's expected that some amount of controversial titles will eventually get flagged by Valve in time.
While Active Shooter may not be released on Steam, it could theoretically come to other platforms.