A much-criticized video game that would let players shoot up a school has been pulled from a digital storefront just days before its release.
The PC game, “Active Shooter,” was set to be released June 6 on Steam, an online gaming store and platform owned by Valve Corp., a video game developer.
News of the game’s release had sparked widespread outrage, including among students and parents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people died in a shooting in February.
Marketing materials for the game, developed by Revived Games and published by a Russian company called Acid, promised to let players choose between portraying a SWAT team member responding to a shooting or portraying an actual shooter whose objective was to “hunt and destroy.”
Valve sent a statement to CNN on Wednesday saying they removed Revived Games and Acid from its Steam platform due to past misbehavior.
In the statement, Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi said the game’s developer and publisher is a man who had been banned from Steam last fall when he was operating under a different name. Lombardi described the developer as “a troll, with a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation.”
Valve discovered the man was the developer behind “Active Shooter” when they began investigating amid controversy surrounding the upcoming game, Lombardi said.
“We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve,” he added.
Valve will be holding broader conversations soon about Steam’s content policies, Lombardi said.
Revived Games and Acid did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment.
News of the game’s upcoming release had drawn fierce criticism in recent days from classmates and parents of students slain in Parkland, who demanded Valve remove the game from its platforms.
“THIS IS DISGUSTING… Everyone that cares about school & public safety should be OUTRAGED. Sign this petition to DEMAND the game isn’t launched, ” Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, tweeted Tuesday.
That online petition, created Friday by a Seattle-area mom, now has over 200,000 signatures.