Active Shooter, a new video game that mimics a school shooting from the point of view of the shooter, is prompting outrage days in advance of its release, Fox News is reporting. The game is being released on Steam, “a digital distribution platform” that allows developers to share their games without having to go through a major distributor.
Set for release next month, Active Shooter is what the video game industry calls a First-Person Shooter, or FPS. That means that players use virtual weapons and navigate through challenges from the point of view of the person holding the weapon (see the feature image of this article).
Most FPS games take place where you would expect: battlefields (real and fictional), post-apocalyptic cityscapes, abandoned insane asylums, that sort of thing. But Active Shooter, which takes its title from the police term used to describe an armed person who has already fired shots, will take place in a school. In other words, it mimics a school shooting.
“Pick your role, gear up and fight or destroy!”
Players will be allowed to choose the role of either a SWAT Team member sent to neutralize the shooter, or the shooter himself (or herself).
“Depending on the role, your objective might be to protect and extract or hunt and destroy.”
Players playing the role of the shooter will be able to earn “game stats” such as how many police officers or civilians they kill.
Needless to say, the timing couldn’t be worse: just last week, a school shooting took place in Santa Fe, Texas – the latest in a host of school shootings this year.
Speaking to BBC News, Charity Infer Trust called for the game to be banned.
“It is 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? We’re appalled that the game is being marketed.”
Similarly, according to PC Gamer, the Steam forums are filled with horrified reactions.
The game’s developer, Acid, insists that it’s all fun and games and is not to be taken seriously.
“This game does not promote any sort of violence, especially any sort of a mass shooting.”
PC Gamer writer Andy Chalk points out what he believes is the hypocrisy in the way Steam monitors the content of games distributed on its platform. Specifically, the platform monitors games for sexual content, seemingly turning a blind eye to games with violent content.
Active Shooter will be released on Steam on June 6.