Currently, Void Interactive is working on Ready or Not, an action game where the player controls a member of a police SWAT team that responds to hostile and tense situations. Previously, the game was set to be published by Team17. The game released in early access a few weeks ago, bringing newfound interest in the game and discussions of future content.
In a recent Reddit thread, a user was asking if the game will include a school shooting scenario. Past trailers, dev updates, and in-game files implied that it would. Some said no, thinking that it would be TOO controversial and would jeopardize the games success. Other members of the community remarked that itd make sense, given the dark, gritty nature of the game. One user named Gruntr, who is represented as a developer for Void Interactive, posted a now-deleted comment, saying you better believe its gonna.
A good 24 hours later, the Void Interactive Twitter posted a statement, revealing that Team17 would no longer be their publisher for Ready or Not.
VOID Interactive and Team17 have mutually agreed that Team17 will no longer publish Ready or Not. We are confident that this is the right path for the future of Ready or Not, and we thank Team17 for their partnership and wish them great success with their spectrum of games!
Team17, on the other hand, issued a statement to Kotaku regarding the decision.
Team17 Digital and Void Interactive have mutually agreed that Ready or Not will no longer be published by Team17 Digital. We wish the team at Void Interactive all the best for the future and the continued development of the game. [We] have [no] further comment on it at the moment.
While nothing is conclusive in their statements, the timing of this, paired with the now deleted Reddit comment, really makes us think that the school level is the motivating factor. At the moment, Ready or Not is instead being self published. Theres no certainty as to whether the developer will continue with plans for a school level.
Over the last few years, both police violence and school shootings have been a rising topic of political discussion and general area of controversy in the United States. While there are valid reasons for a SWAT team, many folks feel that those resources are overused and often abused in the real world, which would make a game based on such a topic unsavory. This is amplified further when you introduce the concept of a school shooting.
The idea of someone going to a populated location full of children with the intent to harm them is absolutely terrible, no one disagrees with that. But with the rising frequency of school shootings in America, there have been political discussion regarding concepts like mental health, the educational system, and firearm regulations.
Throw all that into a video game, and its no wonder a publisher wouldnt want to support it. Them confirming the information with such enthusiasm certainly doesnt help.
We do have one concern for this game: the community. There exist communities of people online that gravitate and cultivate around the idea of controversy. Theyre the ones making offensive jokes with the intention of upsetting people. Theyre the ones that encourage concepts like sexism and racism with the community. And theyre the ones that get upset when snowflakes dont want their offensive lifestyle in modern media.
Ready or Not has all the ingredients to become a game centered around this exact community, if it hasnt already. Weve seen it happen to other games, and it will continue to happen. Void Interactive needs to make a firm and active effort to quell any of this behavior. But alas, we have a feeling they wont. Even the game's title implies an overly playful nature that gives us little faith they'll handle sensitive topics with any tact. But when confronted about it, they will respond with resistance, citing free speech and artistic representation.
Maybe were just cynical. But regardless, wed rather not support a game with a school shooting in it, in any context.