No thanks

FPS with a ‘school shooting’ level loses its publisher

But those two things may not actually be related.

An image from Ready or Not
Void Interactive

The tactical first-person shooter Ready or Not was slated to be published by Team17, but that's apparently not the case anymore, as developer Void Interactive announced on Twitter that the two parties have split. But while we don't know why Void decided to go independent, it might have something to do with a planned "school shooting" level, which was confirmed to exist by a Void developer just a few days ago.

Ready or Not is often described as a spiritual sequel to the SWAT series, where players team up to defuse violent situations and free hostages, usually with as little gunfire as possible. The game released on Early Access just a few days ago on December 17, and it already has very positive reviews on Steam, with many players referring to it as a worthwhile successor to the SWAT name.

Good idea, bad idea — However, in one trailer, it seems that the developers of the game previously have shown off a level based around a school shooting scenario. This led one fan to the games subreddit to ask if that idea will actually appear in the final game. Void developer Gruntr replied "You better believe it's gonna." The next day, Void announced that Team17 will no longer publish the game. Coincidence? Perhaps. (Team17 told Kotaku that they have no comment on the topic.)

It's worth noting that this level would presumably cast the players in the role of stopping the school shooting, rather than participating in it. (Or perhaps it's even more tasteless than we could imagine!) That said, the idea is offensive on its face and doesn't seem particularly sensitive to the current epidemic of school shootings in the US, of which there have been 149 in 2021, if you really wanted to know.

Operation flashpoint — According to Kotaku, the game's Discord is currently "debating" the merits of including such a mission in the game, which we're sure is a very enlightening discussion indeed. While depictions of mass slaughter are common enough in games — most notably "No Russian," the infamous airport level from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — it's a shame that this puerile "controversy" is overshadowing one of the most promising indie games in a genre that could use a little juice.