Under Valve’s new content policy, the company would still reject the controversial “Active Shooter,” pulled from the distribution platform earlier this month, according to the company’s vice president of marketing, Doug Lombardi.
In “Active Shooter,” players could simulate a school shooting, controlling the gunman or the SWAT team meant to take the shooter down. The game was taken off the Steam platform before its release date of June 6 after public outcry called for its removal.
“We rejected ‘Active Shooter’ because it was a troll, designed to do nothing but generate outrage and cause conflict through its existence,” Lombardi said in an email to Variety. “In addition, the developer had been involved in numerous misrepresentations, copyright violations, and customer abuses.”
Valve drew criticism and praise from various individuals and companies for their new policy, in which everything legal and “not trolling” can be published on the Steam Store. The broad nature of the new policy has also left many to question how Valve will define “trolling.”
Ata Berdiyev, the developer behind “Active Shooter,” used various personas, including Revived Games and ACID, to publish controversial and copyrighted materials that were removed by Valve. With Berdiyev’s repeated history of user review manipulation and abuse, his content would have eventually been removed from Steam for violating their policies. However, Lombardi further stated that the school shooting simulation would have been rejected regardless.
“There are no second chances for ‘Active Shooter,’ or its developers,” Lombardi said. “And to be explicit, while the developer behind it was also a troll, we’d reject ‘Active Shooter’ if it had been submitted by any other developer.”
Since Valve’s statement Wednesday, they have removed more titles from their store, according to data from the Steam database, including “AIDS Simulator” which had the tagline, “Welcome to Africa, you’ve got HIV! Now you’re mad and want to kill all Africans that gave you AIDS to get revenge. AIDS Simulator is a very short first-person shooter with boring gameplay, bad graphics, and generic assets.”
“ISIS Simulator,” “Suicide Simulator,” and “Triggering Simulator” were also among the titles removed on Thursday.