With the recent release of Hatred, I thought it was time to examine just how violent and disgusting this game really is and if the controversy behind it is justifiable. According to most gaming sites, I should have felt horror and disgust at the game that was promoting the murders of innocent lives. However, I fortunately felt nothing except disappointment in an overhyped game.

Let’s start with a bit of background. Hatred was announced via a trailer on October 2014 announcing, “The death is coming Q2 2015.” The trailer showed our faceless, trench coat donning protagonist preparing a host of weapons while spouting frankly hackneyed dialogue about how he “hate[s] this world and the human worms feasting on its carcass” and that he “always wanted to die violently” which seems laughable to the point you could mistake it for extremely dry humor. It was monochrome, it was considered ‘edgy’ and it garnered the attention of a lot of people but for completely the wrong reasons.

The game initially made its way to Steam Greenlight, but was quickly removed without explanation apart from “Based on what we’ve seen on Greenlight, we would not publish Hatred on Steam,” which came from Valve’s VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi. This was even more confusing considering at the time of removal, Hatred was ranked #7 on the service.

Hatred Greenlight

Following its removal from Steam Greenlight, as well as the hundreds of articles popping up on pretty much every gaming media outlet, Epic Games, the makers of Unreal Engine 4 used by Hatred, were attempting to distance themselves as much as possible from the title and the controversy surrounding it by stating:

“Epic Games isn’t involved in this project. Unreal Engine 4 is available to the general public for use ‘for any lawful purpose,’ and we explicitly don’t exert any sort of creative control or censorship over projects. However, the video is using the trademarked Unreal Engine 4 logo without permission from Epic, and we’ve asked for the removal of our logo from all marketing associated with this product.”

Amidst all of this, including the backlash on Valve for pulling the game without reason and against a community that clearly wanted the game, Hatred was allowed back onto Steam Greenlight with a message from Gabe Newell.

Email from Gabe Newell apologising for the removal of Hatred.

Email from Gabe Newell apologising for the removal of Hatred.

The game was now back on Greenlight and the controversy died down slightly as the months went on to release.The game has only recently been released on Steam and attained average and above reviews from websites. The controversy surrounding the game dissipated among games press, because after playing the game it was understood that it can only be considered slightly more brutal and violent than some games due to the fact the game was targeting only civillians. But in my opinion, it was considered more brutal and violent because games press made it so.

The corny dialogue and ear-wrenching music mixed with dollop of screaming and a dash of blood made for a trailer that mistook a lot of game critics into believing it was some sort of over-the-top genocide simulator, or if not that then something that depicted unnecessary violence when in reality it turned out to be a fairly average top down shooter and nothing more than that.

The problem, in my opinion, with the controversy of the game was the reaction by games media into creating controversy where none existed and pursuing ‘clickbait’ articles based on reaction from the consumers and the developers themselves. Around announcement of the game, sites like Polygon rushed to discuss how ‘vile’ the game seemed to be without realizing that it was the developers intention to make such a thing. Of course, it was also the developers intention to create this amount of discussion in the first place as on their

” target=”_blank”>facebook page they were quoted saying:

“Love it, or hate it. There’s no in-between! 😉 Spread it on the web! Share it! Bring it everywhere and let the haters hate! (And they will, oh they will…)”

Screenshot showing the controversial gameplay of Hatred.

Screenshot showing the controversial gameplay of Hatred.

Destructive Creations seem like a development team that appreciates the humor behind these things, and from my standpoint, seem like they were trying to create the controversy all of their own, though games media didn’t exactly reason that this was the tasteless intention of the developers. Although one of the developers, in an interview, stated simply that “I really do understand it’s not a game for everybody and there are people for whom the whole idea will be hard to understand. On the other hand, it’s just a game and we don’t do anything wrong by developing it. So if that’s the case then why not do it?”

Hatred has ultimately proven itself a mediocre top down shooter. Sure, you can murder innocent civillians and defending police officers, but in the end, the game is so ridiculous from its dialogue to its respawn counters that any chance of taking this for anything more than hyper-fantasy violence is unlikely. Hatred is a game that was well aware of the welcome it would have in the gaming community, but was one that decided ‘f*ck it, we’ll do it anyway.’

Sources: Eurogamer, Polygon, Destructoid.

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