Everyone hates Hatred

Hatred, the new mass-murder shooter from Polish dev Destructive Creations, seems to be universally hated by the press, despite the fact that no one has had a chance to play it or assess it on any fair terms beyond the trailer. The almost universal reaction against the game rubbed me the wrong way when I first saw it. There’s nothing wrong with criticizing a game on its own merits, but when those merits have yet to be revealed, the carpet-bombing of hate against the game starts to sound like a call for censorship — even if that’s not the intention at all.

“We all hate your game and we want to wish it away,” is all I was hearing. Everyone might be tired of gamings’ ultra-violent leanings, but I saw potential in something that could dare to go THAT dark. I was nearly upon my soapbox, ready to call out how unfair the reaction was, but I stepped down after reading an interview with one of the developers on Polygon.

In it, creative director Jarosław Zieliński more or less confirms everyone’s worst fears about the game:

“Our target is basically a gamer that is coming home after a long, tiring and overall a shitty working day. So we give him the opportunity to just sit by his computer and let some of the steam go by shooting NPCs and destroying the level.”

Ugh, crap…

That, to me, translates to: “We have no artistic aspirations for this game but we wanted to throw a bone to the angsty, miserable gamer dudes seething in their parent’s basement.”

It’s a shame because I was ready to defend a game that portrays violence in its ugliest, darkest manner. Yes, there are more than enough violent games out there, but most of them glorify violence and empower you with epic ways to behead your enemies. What I saw in Hatred was a game that could suss out some more complicated emotions, forcing you to question your own actions.

I think there’s a genuine value to any media that can turn you off to violence rather than glorifying it. There are many examples of films and books which portray the ugliness of human nature. They aren’t easy to digest, but they’re valuable art for the emotions they illicit and the self-reflection that follows.

But hey, apparently Hatred is just another game about shooting people for high scores when you feel bad about yourself, so I guess I hate it too.

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