The game began development early 2016, a few months after PAYDAY 2's "Black Market" Update, which introduced micro-transactions to the game despite the developers saying on several documented occasions that they would never do so. This, after a number of other public relations incidents over the last year, led to a massive upset among PAYDAY fans, leading a number of small teams to attempt making replacement products.
Earlier the previous year, Unreal Engine 4 was released with a new license agreement that made it free to use until a certain level of profit had been reached, which opened up the possibility of making such the game without purchasing a studio license. This was the key thing that made The Take! possible at all, as prior to this, there were few engines available without expensive licenses that could produce a product on par with PAYDAY 2.
DJ spent three years learning the engine and developing the concept. She built a short tech demo and released it as the first demo update, "Exit Strategy", on February 19th, 2019. This first demo did not feature any real gameplay, but demonstrated the most crucial features: weapon mechanics, enemy stealth and combat AI, and online multiplayer.
The game borrows heavily from the gameplay of PAYDAY 2, but is designed to simplify many of the resource systems so as to be more approachable to new players. The stealth mechanics also take influence from other games such as the Hitman franchise, Crookz: The Big Heist, and The Marvelous Miss Take.