Despite the game mainly receiving favourable ratings from thousands of players on Steam, the controversial school level announcement was met with massive backlash from fans, who deemed their decision insensitive. Moreover, the announcement came just a day before the company officially revealed their divorce with publisher Team17.
The timing of the divorce resulted in many people suspecting that the school level was a significant determinant leading to the publisher's departure. However, the company recently denounced those claims, saying that the school level controversy had nothing to do with their split from Team17.
Ready or Not devs comment on school shooting level controversy
On 20th December, Void Interactive issued a tweet announcing that they were parting with publisher Team17, citing that the decision was "mutually agreed" upon; however, the game development studio failed to provide a reason for the split.
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!— VOID Interactive (@VOIDInteractive) December 20, 2021
The split was arguably fueled by Void Interactive's decision to maintain a somewhat controversial "school shooting level," which many suspected did not sit well with Team17.
More recently, however, Void Interactive denounced previous claims and clarified that their divorce with Team17 was not connected to the school level at all, issuing a public statement addressing the issue on Twitter.
Excerpts from the statement read, "At its core, the game honours the work of dedicated law enforcement officers across the world and in no way intends to glorify cowardly criminal acts. We are dedicated to promoting a level of authenticity and realism in our videogame, Ready or Not, that carries with it difficult subject matter."
The company continued, adding that the school level "is not just a part of Ready or Not's story, it is part of the fabric of thousands of people's stories worldwide. It is the story of those who have died too soon at the hands of a deranged gunman, the story of family and friends waiting for a phone call that might never come, the story of the first responders who do everything they can only for it not to be enough."
"It is a look at an uncomfortable reality that has become all too common, and we hope that we can play some small part in honouring those who have been impacted by these real-world tragedies with a portrayal that does not trivialize their experiences."
At present, there is no school level in Ready or Not. However, PC Gamer writer Andy Chalk noted that if such a level were to exist, "players will presumably be intervening in a shooting, not committing it." Given Void Interactive's stance on the subject matter, I would certainly agree.
The game is currently available on Early Access on Steam.
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Featured image courtesy of Void Interactive.