Following Parental Outcry, Video Game Simulating School Shootings Will Not Be Released

A shocking online video game that turned players into virtual school shooters was pulled ahead of its release date. The eleventh-hour decision follows days of criticism and concern from parents — including some parents of school shooting victims. 

“Active Shooter” was set to be released on June 6, on the online video game store Steam, owned by software and technology company Valve. Early screenshots from the game show what appears to be a gunman inside a school firing at officers and civilians.

The game would have allowed users to play the role of a SWAT officer, or an actual shooter.

Swift Backlash

News of the game’s release followed a pair of deadly school shootings that are still fresh in the minds of every parent. Ten people were killed at Santa Fe High School in Texas on May 18. Another gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

Fred Guttenberg’s 14-year-old daughter Jaime was one of the students who died in Parkland.

In a statement on Twitter, Guttenberg said, “I have seen and heard many horrific things over the past few months since my daughter was the victim of a school shooting and is now dead in real life. This game may be one of the worst.”

He went on to say, “Do not buy this game for your kids or any other game made by this company.”

Another father called the game “despicable.” Ryan Petty’s 14-year-old daughter Alaina was also among those killed in Parkland.

“It’s disgusting that Valve Corp. is trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country,” Petty said in a statement.

One mom organized a petition which is still active. There are more than 266,000 signatures against the launch of “Active Shooter.”

Why The Game Was Pulled

One might think the company’s reasons for canceling the launch would have something to do with the growing backlash. Instead, Valve seems to blame the cancellation on poor business practices.

According to Valve, the game’s developer and publisher had previously been banned from Steam and was operating under a different name. Valve only learned he was developing the new game for the streaming site while investigating the controversy surrounding the game.

parkland florida photo
Getty Images | Don Juan Moore

In the meantime, Parkland students are continuing to make their voices heard by embarking on a nationwide bus tour to educate voters and encourage the end to gun violence.