Ready or Not developer reveals vision for the game: “We didn’t feel the genre was well-represented”

Ready or Not key artVOID Interactive

Ready or Not, a new tactical shooter from VOID Interactive, has been steadily gaining in popularity since launching in early access last year. We sat down with the game’s community manager to discuss its inspiration, and where it could go next.

Ready or Not is a tense new tactical shooter in Steam early access that puts players in the boots of armed response Police units, tasked with dealing with armed suspects while minimizing collateral damage. While positively received, it drew its fair share of criticism for developer comments about a planned school shooting level.

We sat down with Guinevere Parsley, VOID’s community manager, to discuss the game’s inspirations, the reaction to the comments, and more.

Ready or Not developer interview

Ready or not screenshot showing a team moving in the darkVOID Interactive
Ready or Not is tense and tactical.

In an increasingly popular tactical shooter genre, away from the battle royales of the world, we asked Parsley about what inspired Ready or Not. For the uninitiated, players work to arrest or kill suspects through tense shootouts, while also attempting to save civilians.

“Our founding team didn’t really feel the genre [tactical police shooter] was well represented on the market, and hadn’t been for a while,” Parsley tells Dexerto.

“We wanted to pay homage to the police tactical units that respond to dangerous, life-changing situations. By focusing on the ‘police’ element of a police tactical shooter, we’re able to better stand out – less-lethal options like the pepper ball gun and taser are encouraged, and are in fact the only way to get the game’s highest ranking. You have to be able to deal with and manage civilians without losing your cool, and using a gun should be treated as a last resort.”

When asked about the game’s inspiration, Parsley said that the team took inspiration from 2005’s SWAT 4.

“It’s a cult classic for a reason, and it still holds up incredibly well to this day. Our goal is to take the elements that made these games so great – their tension, their environmental storytelling, their planning and execution, and apply that to a game on a modern engine with a greater focus on realism,” she tells Dexerto.
“Additionally, we were heavily inspired by real-life SWAT and elite police units, who are often put in the position of facing unknown danger in the interest of preserving lives.”
Ready or not screenshot showing a squadVOID Interactive
Ready or Not’s commitment to realism has caused a stir.

“The words that we always come back to when we’re discussing Ready or Not are tense, immersive, and authentic,” Parsley reveals.

“We want to maintain that grouping and it’s important to our game design. At the end of the day, there are several ways to make a game fun to play, and by putting the player directly in the shoes of these SWAT officers, they’re able to experience that intensity either alone or with other players.”

“The oppressive atmosphere and difficulty of the game make it all the more satisfying when you succeed, and it helps to emphasize the importance of tactics and mindful shooting. At various times during development, we’ve tried making the suspect A.I. a bit easier to deal with, and the result is always the same — it’s less fun when they’re not difficult enough.”

That real-life inspiration has gotten VOID into hot water too, though. Situations in the game range from active shooters to hostage situations, but a Reddit comment from one of VOID’s team caused controversy last month when asked about a potential school shooting mission. The comment, now deleted, read “You better believe it’s gonna.” We asked Parsley if the reaction to that comment has caused any changes to upcoming plans for the title.

“Ready or Not is a tactical police shooter, and that means showcasing elite police units engaging in their duties – which sometimes include uncomfortable realities that the world faces today,” Parsley explains.

“We don’t apologize for this, as we want the game to be an honest interpretation, but we are aware that this is something that requires a deal of responsibility. We know that we need to be careful in how we portray things like an active shooter, and that includes consulting with those who have been impacted by these traumatic events.”

“While we do not intend to change our vision for Ready or Not based on controversy, we will always listen to our community to try and understand how we can best tackle difficult issues in a respectful manner.”

That community is growing, too, with the game’s hardcore nature clearly impressing players, even at this early access stage. In many ways, it feels akin to a horror movie, except you’re the one bursting through the door – something VOID has been planning to expand upon.

“We’re excited to say that we’re currently testing a sizable content update that players can expect this month,” Parsley reveals.

“On top of new weapons and weapon models, new voice lines, two new test maps (still in gray box format), and improvements to existing maps, you’ll be seeing a of bug fixes and tweaks to both civilian and suspect A.I. to make them more engaging and immersive.”

Ready or Not is currently available in early access through Steam.

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