Thursday, October 16, 2014

Watch the Hatred trailer. A lot of people are gonna' be talking about it.

It's pretty... disturbed. 

Press release:

"Destructive Creations is an experienced indie team that, in times where 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, wanted to create something against trends. Something different, something that could give the player a pure gaming pleasure. This is how the idea of Hatred – the team’s first game, was born.

Hatred is an isometric shooter with a disturbing atmosphere of mass killing, where player takes the role of a cold blood antagonist, who is full of hatred for humanity. It's a horror, but here YOU are the villain. Wander the outskirts of New York State, seek for victims on seven free-roam levels. Fight against law enforcement and take a journey into the antagonist's hateful mind. Gather equipment of the dead 'human shields', to spread Armageddon in the society. Destroy everything on your way of hunt and fight back when it's disturbed.

The game is planned to be released in Q2 2015 on PC."

We live in an age of mass shootings.  This is something that happens - something that has torn countless families apart - and when they raise pitchforks and call for the lynching of Destructive Creations, I can't feel they'll be wrong to do so.  What the developer is offering, here, is supernaturally insensitive.  The purpose of this game is to be the best Columbine shooter, the best Virginia Tech murderer, the best Sandy Hook monster. That's unbelievably offensive.

That being said...

...there is a place for games like this.  For obscenely, mind-numbingly violent and grotesque games.  I'm enjoying one right now - the latest work of legendary creator Shinji Mikami - and as a young teenager, I loved the most vilified, shocking, literally-full-of-Satanic-imagery game of the nineties, DOOM.
"By now, you may be aware of this video game, whose effects have been highlighted on the CBS 60 Minutes program and the NBC Today Show. On both shows, a former Army Colonel described the game as a "mass murder simulator" that provides military-type training."
-Video Games Can Kill By Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid | May 10, 1999-
I played the fuck out of DOOM when I was a kid.  I played it so much that it became a sort of meditation - I was so good at that game, I could 100% every level without actually paying attention to it - and while I did, my mind would wander and I'd stumble across thoughtful solutions to whatever was bothering me that day.

We've all had fantasies of violence.  A co-worker told me about a particularly annoying bank teller she met this week, and was terribly proud that she hadn't punched the woman in the face - and video games offer a safe place to express that.

I feel it's worth noting, at this point, that I've never killed anyone.  Millions of kids and adults played DOOM, and our society has trucked on pretty well - in fact, North America is more inclusive, supportive and open-minded than it's ever been before.

It's not an accident, I feel, that the logo for Hatred bears more than a passing resemblance to DOOM's.

It's going after the same thing.  It offers the same fantasy - the fantasy a lot of video games offer, but no ostensibly mainstream game (if you're prepared to accuse Hatred of such) has been so... honest about what it's doing.

There are a lot of video games in which you slaughter countless nameless human analogs - Hatred is simply obfuscating that less.

If nothing else, it may just be some very canny marketing.  A lot of people are going to be talking about it.  A lot of people are going to get very upset over it - once they're made aware of it - and then you can bet they'll be talking about it, and I can promise that a lot of kids with gaming rigs are going to be playing it, regardless of whether or not it's a good game.

I feel there are arguments to be made.  That such games offer a catharsis that can't be found anywhere else.  That, perhaps, some disturbed individuals will be able to flex their darkest fantasies within Hatred, and won't feel such a pressing need to live it.

There's arguments to be made that it will inspire... terrible things.

Hatred may, itself, prove to be a force of evil in the world - but it may also simply permit discussions to occur which could not have happened any other way.

Destructive Creations are quite consciously attempting to skirt the more high-minded principles that have wound their way into gaming development in the past decade, but in doing so they may have unintentionally created the next game that will have a lot of people talking.  A game that will be drastically different things to different people,

It's been said that when two people look at something and come away with entirely different messages, it can then be considered art.

I'm reminded of that line from The Simpsons when Lisa goes to a military prep school and a student says, "truth is beauty, beauty truth, Sir!"

The teacher barks back, "but the truth can be harsh and disturbing! How can that be considered beautiful?"

I don't know.

But it's a question worth asking.


  1. "games are heading to be polite, colorful, politically correct and trying to be some kind of higher art, rather than just an entertainment"
    Good! I want more games to be like that.

    Hatred feels like it's being irreverent solely for the sake of being irreverent, all while lacking anything meaningful to say.
    It looks immature in the same way a teenager would do shocking things in a failed attempt at being "deep" or "mature."

    I'm not offended by the purposefully inflammatory imagery that Hatred puts on display in its trailer -- I've played too many games to be shocked or offended by this kind of junk. What has me bothered is that this just looks like a bland, boring, backwards, cynical, soulless product that relies on shock value alone.

    1. This is the harshest thing I've ever said on this site.
      If I had to be curt, I'd just say that this game looks like shit.

    2. No no, I'm not bothered in the least. I'd go so far as to suggest that - the way the game is presenting itself, at least - it's literally glorifying the actions of the most monstrous monsters of North American culture.

  2. Honestly, the more we talk about shootings in America the better off we're going to be. There have been a myriad of them since sandy hook that nobody wants to acknowledge actually happened. they blip on the national news and then get swept under.

    This game is callow and pointless, but the pot needs to be stirred. It's going rotten.

    1. I absolutely agree - but I worry that conversation is controlled too heavily by the lobbies who want to ensure guns continue to be sold, and fanatics who can't appreciate that the founding fathers didn't necessarily want all citizens armed - they wanted them free to wear T-shirts and tank tops.

      Get it? Bare arms?

  3. that was the case, now they're trying to stifle it. They've lost 60% of the public's approval and it's never going to improve. I'm sorry, we can get back to wherever you want your blog's discussion to go now. The soapbox is yours.