So… I didn’t immediately comment on Hatred because I wanted to be able to approach the topic as neutrally as possible (there was a veritable press shitstorm at the time of its first announcement, and it was just too easy to get a colored opinion about it due to the pressure of popular consensus).
Pretty sure you’ve heard of it by now, but in case you haven’t, here are the official trailers:
1st Hatred Trailer by Destructive Creations (released October 16, 2014)
2nd Hatred Trailer by Destructive Creations (January 29, 2015)
Some things to take note of:
- Most of the actions the main character (jokingly nicknamed Not Important by some pundits) are shown to be capable of doing can also be executed in Grand Theft Auto III, a game that came out nearly 14 years ago. So, although the presentation of the virtual violence is different (in Hatred, it seems to be the main objective; in GTA3, it’s optional, not something you’re required to do in order to advance the game), the level of violence is nothing new.
- A game that ‘rewards’ the player for brutalizing virtual people isn’t anything new, either. Tecmo’s Deception series has been going at it since 1996. The first game in the series even touts a comparably disturbing premise – your goal as the keeper of the Castle of the Damned is to harvest as many souls as possible for the Devil, using horrific-looking traps.
- A more recent game, Hotline Miami, similarly showcases unnervingly sadistic killling animations.
So it’s not the amount of violence the press was mad about. It wasn’t the graphical depictions of manslaughter that concerned them. It was the context. The trailer for the game featured a man who was slavering at the thought of his impending mass murder spree! Atrocious! This game should be banned! And if it can’t be banned, you shouldn’t buy it! Right?
…I don’t know about that.
The fact is, the trailer is just showing the character’s worldview. It’s not telling the audience that ‘this is the right way to think’. It’s basically just telling us, the viewers, that this is how this character perceives his world, and these are the actions that he’ll be taking in that world as a result of his worldview.
What will be the consequences of his actions in the virtual world Destructive Creations has made for him? Will he have an in-game rival who will hunt him down and deny him the ‘glorious’ death he seeks? Will he, like many neutral evil characters in George R.R. Martin’s ‘The Song of Ice and Fire’ series, escape justice time and again, only to perish ignominiously due to his own carelessness?
These are all things we won’t know until we play the game, since Hatred’s plot remains a tightly-guarded secret (the trailers have been hyping nothing but the ‘action’ – hopefully it’s just part of the game’s marketing scheme and not the sole thing driving the game). Until then, I think we should give the developers the benefit of the doubt.
Why? Well, look at films like A Clockwork Orange and Goodfellas. If you only watch 1/3rds of the way into them, you’d end up thinking, “Are the directors pandering to a demented demographic or something? Why are those characters getting away with all that sick shit?” It’s not until the end that you are able to extract the meaning behind all the barbarism.
I mean, if a ultra-violent game like Kagero: Deception 2 could make me think about serious topics like when should followers start challenging their superiors’ decision-making, and can you justify an immoral act if it produces a positive result, then maybe, just maybe, there might be more to Hatred than it seems.
Much Better Hatred Trailer by Dave Oshry
FOR FURTHER CONSUMPTION
- The worst trailer of the year revels in slaughtering innocents
- CEO behind Hatred responds to accusations of neo-Nazi, anti-Islamic affiliation
- Epic Games distances itself from ultraviolent mass-murder game Hatred (update)
- We Need Games Like Hatred
- Interview: Destructive Creations (Hatred)