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Controversial tactical shooter Ready or Not returns to Steam after brief removal

Ready or Not
(Image credit: Void Interactive)
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Update 6/18/22: Ready or Not is once again available on Steam (opens in new tab). According to a tweet from Void Interactive (opens in new tab), the developer removed Ready or Not due to a copyright claim regarding trademarked material in a nightclub level added on June 12, the sixth anniversary of the deadly mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. According to the developer's statement, it willingly removed the potentially copyright-infringing content from the game as a "show of good faith," rather than dispute the claim. The removal was not, as some speculated, any form of moderation by Steam or Void in response to the level's release on the mass shooting's anniversary.

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Original Story: As reported by NME (opens in new tab), tactical FPS Ready or Not was removed from the Steam store without warning on June 16, with the developers claiming it was a backend error that will soon be addressed.

On Twitter, Void Interactive described the game as "temporarily MIA" and promised an update for players in the near future. On a pinned discussion (opens in new tab) in the game's community page, a developer by the name of Kaminsky stated that "There is an issue somewhere with Steam's backend and it's resulted in the game being taken off the store for some reason, but Ready or Not is still on the platform." Kaminsky then stated that the pinned thread and the game's Discord would be updated when the store page was back online.

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Despite that explanation, players in the thread, as well as NME have speculated that Ready or Not was removed over objectionable content recently added to the game. On June 12—the anniversary of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Florida in which 49 people were killed and 53 wounded—Ready or Not was updated with a level set in the aftermath of a mass nightclub shooting. The nightclub in the game is called Prysm.

Late last year Void Interactive split with Publisher Team17 (opens in new tab) after promising in the game's subreddit that it would include a "school shooting mission" (presumably where you stop rather than perpetuate one, but still); Void has denied that this statement contributed to the split.

I find both concepts, especially the introduction of a nightclub level on the anniversary of the Pulse shooting, to be in extremely poor taste, but there are many games on Steam with objectionable content that remain on the platform untouched. There's the indie gladiator game whose creator slips transphobic and anti-mask screeds into patch notes (opens in new tab), for example, or, of course, Furry Hitler (opens in new tab). I've reached out to both Valve and Void Interactive, and will update this story if we hear back. 

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.