Active Shooter is a new independent game set to launch on Steam, once again highlighting the platform’s difficulties with moderating the content that is published to it. Allowing the player to either fill the role of the police or the shooter in a school shooting, the game’s trailer depicts the assailant exclusively targeting women, only one month removed from the Toronto attack in which a self-described “incel” (involuntary celebate) killed 10 people with a van as part of an “incel rebellion.”
Steam allows developers to publish their own games on the digital distribution platform, though moderates the content that is submitted. “Before your store page or game build can go live, there is a brief review process where we run your game, look at your store page, and check that it is configured correctly and running as expected and not doing anything harmful,” the Steamworks Partner Program reads. “This takes between 1-5 days.”
However, Steam has come under fire for its lax moderation, with plenty of games not following creator Valve’s own regulations. Active Shooter is yet another release that goes against its policies for harmful content, depicting a school shooting in which the player can mow down civilians and the police. On top of this, the trailer and screenshots for the game depict women as the sole targets for the shooter.
Active Shooter has been developed by Revived Games and published by ACID, a duo that has worked together in the past on similarly outrage-baiting games. Zucc Simulator sees players filling the role of Mark Zuckerberg on a social network, deciding whether to ban Donald Trump memes that have “triggered snowflakes.” Another one of their games is titled White Power: Pure Voltage.
While controversy is clearly something that Revived Games and ACID are looking for, Active Shooter serves as yet another reminder of Valve’s incredibly poor Steam moderation. Even a cursory glance of Active Shooter‘s theme would indicate that it isn’t suitable for public release, and that it’s passed Valve by is another sign that the approach to Steam publishing needs to change.