Few people that are really into video games have probably not heard of the soon to be released controversy whirlwind and video game, Hatred.
Before addressing any of the moral outrage against it, this is what I think of what the game seems like to me; a violent isometric shooter along the lines of the awesome Hotline Miami games and the awful Postal series. In terms of if it’s more like the former or the latter in fun gameplay is yet to be determined. But its developers, Destructive Creations, don’t hide their motive in creating what is a violent game for the sake of violence.
The quote on their website is this:
“The question you may ask is: why do they do this? These days, when a lot of games are heading to be polite, colorful, politically correct, and trying to be some kind of higher art, rather than just an entertainment – we wanted to create something against trends. Something different, something that could give the player a pure, gaming pleasure. Here comes our game, which takes no prisoners and makes no excuses. We say ‘yes, it is a game about killing people’ and the only reason of the antagonist doing that sick stuff is his deep-rooted hatred. Player has to ask himself what can push any human being to mass-murder. We provoke this question using new Unreal Engine 4, pushing its physics (or rather PhysX) systems to the limits and trying to make the visuals as good as possible. It’s not a simple task, because of the game’s non-linear structure and a lot of characters on the screen. But here at Destructive Creations, we are an experienced team and we know how to handle the challenge!”
I don’t think that they need to try to defend themselves with the starting statement. If you are going to make something, just do it and don’t apologize for it. That makes them appear somewhat ashamed and full-knowing that it is bound to create some kind of moral uproar.
And, needless to say if you haven’t been avoiding the internet and gaming websites for the past year, it has. Hatred is one of the few games to receive the ESRB’s Adults Only rating. Steam considered not selling the game for a while and Good Old Games (currently) does not intend to release it on their DRM-free digital store.
I’m not the first to acknowledge this – but I completely agree – that those saying that this game goes too far in its graphic violence but don’t say anything about other very violent video games are hypocritical. At least the “moral crusaders” that hate all violent video games and erroneously think that video games are causing people to commit violence in real life, that mere uttering of swear words somehow hurts people, and that the exposure of women’s chests is damaging to “family values” and children’s minds are consistent. However, Steam, GOG, and Twitch have no problem selling and showing other brutal games like Hotline Miami and Grand Theft Auto. And a big irony regarding GOG (which is a site I really have nothing against and think is great for the distribution of early classic games) is that it is owned by CD Projekt, the developer of The Witcher games. As for Twitch, the streaming service has an age gate for certain games and those that stream can talk about whatever they want, no matter how vulgar the conversation. So why can’t adults choose what they see for themselves?
The problem regarding the morally outraged conservatives is that people like them have been railing against new things for generations, claiming the new generation’s form of entertainment will be the world’s downfall, despite the world becoming far safer, less violent, and more moral. The 50s and 60s had comic books and rock music. Later, it was violent movies. But the hypocrisy with many of those conservative moral crusaders is that, while they didn’t want kids “corrupted” by violent media, they were the ones that pushed to send these same kids off to atrocities such as the Vietnam War. One hundred years ago, the leaders of the world sent unfortunate kids off to the senseless global deathmatch that was the First World War. 16 million people were slaughtered. Again, despite all of our violent media, the western world wouldn’t tolerate something like that today. Meanwhile in the middle-east and Africa, there are thousands being brutally killed. Children as young as five are being taught to kill the “infidel” and are witnesses, perpetrators, and victims of beheading.
That’s going on now, in real life with real lives being obliterated.
I can only speak from personal experience, but the fist violent video game I played was Wolfenstein 3D when I was about six years old and have been playing ever since. I can’t bear the idea of innocent people being murdered and am disgusted by the videos of carnage uploaded by the IS. In 2000, when I was 14, I discovered the ultra-violent PC game Soldier of Fortune. The bullet wounds and ability to maim was unique for the time and I had a blast playing it. The violence was a novelty that drew me to it, but the enjoyment of that novelty in the game wore thin eventually.
And that is what I can imagine happening to Hatred. It seems to be all novelty of extreme violence and lacking any real substance beyond that and its dark, artistic black-grey atmosphere.
But, above all, the stir of controversy only seems to do the opposite of what its critics want; drive people to want to see what all the fuss is about. And that is exactly why I am looking forward to playing Hatred on June 1.