Hatred - A Game About Massacring Innocent Bystanders for Fun
Okay, so let me begin with a trigger warning: I'm going to be pretty subjective here, because I really don't think there is any way to cover a game like 'Hatred'. If Polish developer Destructive Creations weren't expecting at least a small bit of uproar to occur regarding their new game 'Hatred', then they must not have paid anyone to do public relations for them.
Their recently announced game is literally what the title teases, and what the in-game trailer depicts. The player inhabits the roal of a hateful, spiteful sick bastard with a disdain for the entire world, and he doesn't intend to change the system by getting into politics. It's way easier to just grab an assault rifle and a few grenades, and go on an aimless rampage against innocent civilians until the cops show up and shoot him dead.
It's not like the developers aren't aware that the game is rather sick. They even explain it on their own website in case you're wondering:
"Hatred is an isometric shooter with 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 upon society."
Now, surely, there must be some other, deeper purpose to the game as well? Apparently, there isn't. The developer are pretty black and white about that:
"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."
While many games - like the GTA and Saints Row franchises - let you go on a rampage if you so choose, it's never the explicit goal of the games. You won't win the game by killing innocent people. In fact, more often than not, it'll lead to your own death. And another thing to consider, is the fact that going on a rampage is but a VERY small part of GTA or Saints Row. There are countless other activities you could do. GTA in particular, has activites like tennish and pool, you can eat at a restaurant, or go for a swim if you like. Or fly a helicopter, or jump a dirt bike onto a moving train. Never once are you rewarded for killing civilians. Even in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's infamous airport sequence, killing civilians was optional. Postal 2 also let you do all kinds of crazy things with civilians. But there too, it was optional. Postal 2's goals involve things such as purchasing milk, picking up a paycheck, getting a signature from a celebrity. Crazy things happen around you, but you always have the choice of running away, and not taking part in the mayhem. And even when you do kill people, it's clearly with a comedic effect. The developers intentionally made it comedic. But with Hatred - the isometric "mass murder simulation" - the only apparent goal is to kill as many people as possible, and go out in style. And it doesn't seem very tongue-in-cheek at all. The art style, the alienating isometric perspective, the screams of the civilians as they are maimed to death. There is no social satire to be found.
We gamers know that violent games don't make for violent people. And it's even been settled in court; there is NO correlation between violent games and real-world violent behaviour. So what's the problem with Hatred? Well, let's look at that quote up above again. Games are "just entertainment". And yeah, sometimes it is. Sometimes it's just pure entertainment. Games don't always need stories or loveable characters. Look at Spec Ops: The Line. It's a game that tricks you into mass-murdering civilian people. It's a game that preys on the simplistic goals of modern-day shooters. "Move through the levels, kill the bad guys who shoot at you, and win". And when you do that, the game tells you "you know those guys you shot? Yeah, turns out they weren't bad guys at all. You screwed up!". It's a harrowing experience, but it's clearly done with some sort of purpose. It's meant to make you feel. Developer Destructive Creations on the other hand, don't seem to want anything like that out of their game. It's "just entertainment".
Well let me ask you; would you find this entertaining? To walk around in a game killing people who scream and beg for their lives? With absolutely no self-wareness, no tongue-in-cheek social satire or humor to be found? If you've got a slightly disturbed sense of humor, you'll have fun doing that in Grand Theft Auto. But only for a half hour or so, before you get bored and go back to doing the main missions - or one of the game's other two billion side activities. With Hatred, you're forced to do it to progress through the game's seven open-ended levels. You must kill people. Otherwise, you won't win. Where's the entertainment in killing helpless NPCs for hours on end? And where is the challenge in that?
If anything, Hatred is at least an interesting piece of gaming history, and I'm frankly intrigued to hear more about the game as the development carries on. I can't say I'm all that interested in actually playing the game, but the social implications alone make it worth at least paying attention to.
We'll keep you updated as we get to know more.