“They’re trying to profit off of it, and I think it’s disgusting,” said Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter, Alyssa, was killed after being shot 10 times at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. “We are trying to prevent this from happening again, and they are encouraging it. It is despicable. It is vile.”
The computer game is to be released via the digital marketplace Steam, and is developed by Revived Games, which is marketing it as a “dynamic SWAT simulator.” It offers the option to play either the shooter or a SWAT team member.
Acid, the publisher of the game, addressed the controversy in a confusing blog post last week on Steam’s forums, writing: “After receiving such high amount of critics and hate, I will more likely remove the shooters [sic] role in this game by the release, unless if it can be kept as it is right now.”
The post is attributed to a developer named Arthur Belkin, who lists the Russian Federation as his home country.
Anti-gun activist Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was killed in the Parkland shooting, tweeted, “Everyone, please contact this company ASAP and tell them they need to pull this game.”
And Ryan Petty, whose daughter, Alaina, also 14, was killed in Parkland, said in a statement, “Keeping our kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities and is in no way a ‘game.'”
A disclaimer at the beginning of the game’s demo says its intention is not to glamorize violence.
“Revived Games believes violence and inappropriate actions belong in video games and not real world, and insists that in no event should anyone attempt to recreate or mimic any of the actions, events or situations occurring in this game.”
The game’s description also says players should “not take any of this seriously” and urges them to get help if they feel like hurting anyone.
But many critics say that’s not enough.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., called the game “inexcusable” and tweeted, “Any company that develops a game like this in wake of such a horrific tragedy should be ashamed of itself.”
Of course, “Active Shooter” isn’t the first video game of its kind. In 2011, another game, “School Shooter,” which portrayed the Columbine school shooting that took place in 1999 in Colorado, was pulled after public outcry.