The developer of Active Shooter, the video game that let players play as a school shooter, says he may still release the controversial title, despite its removal from Steam, the largest digital storefront for PC games.
Anton Makarevskiy, a 21-year old developer from Moscow, says he was surprised at the furor surrounding the game and he’s considering giving it away for free online, despite the protests from survivors and the families of victims.
“It’s not promoting violence, definitely no,” Makarevskiy told PC Magazine.
Active Shooter, which Valve Software removed from Steam earlier this week, describes itself as a simulation of an active shooter situation, where players can opt to be either the killer or the SWAT team tasked with neutralizing the situation. Screenshots from the game show attacks taking place in both an office and school environment.
Makarevskiy, though, says the game’s school setting levels exist only because the 3D model for them can be purchased by developers at an affordable price. And he believes the critics focusing on Active Shooter are ignoring the real issues behind the rash of tragedies in the U.S. this year. (On average, there has been nearly one school shooting per week in 2018.)
“From my point of view, they have to focus on the real issues rather than video games,” he said.
Makarevskiy says he began work on Active Shooter two months ago as a way to escape a “crappy job” printing posters for businesses and events. He claims to have left the job to focus full time on game development right before Valve and Steam banned him from the service.
“He didn’t think the game would be as controversial as it turned out to be,” said Ata Berdyev, who translated for Makarevskiy in the interview and was also banned by Steam for his role in the game. “He doesn’t like the idea of people fighting with each other over such a topic.”
That’s unlikely to win any sympathy among opponents, though. Ryan Petty, father of 14-year-old Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old who was slain during the fatal shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, called the game “disgusting” on Facebook, adding “keeping our kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities and is in no way a ‘game.’”