Hatred: The Commercialzed Middle Finger to the Games Industry

Hatred, created by Poland-based Destructive Creations, places you as a disturbed, lone-wolf killer going on a rampage slaughtering unarmed people. The game’s trailer opens with an unnamed man loading weapons. “I just fucking hate this world, and the human worms feasting on its carcass... and I always wanted to die violently” he says, before heading out and opening fire on random bystanders, who later beg for mercy as the protagonist stabs them or literally blows their heads off with a shotgun.

Many are condemning Hatred for its subject matter. Disturbed by game’s glorification of mass murderers, Hatred seems to want players to revel in the pain they cause. However, some hopeful buyers look forward to this game, admiring Hatred’s brazen use of violence and single, simple goal of killing average people.

Hatred's press release pitches to anyone who thinks gaming is too obsessed with social issues and artistic statements. It claims to push against and away from the more intellectual an increasingly popular branch of indie games  by offering “just an entertainment” game, made for “pure gaming pleasure." It's similar to the “we just want games to be about having fun again” argument trotted out by people who criticize the supposed PC, socially-inclusive, liberal direction of the games industry.

It is also bullshit.

I do not believe many people are supporting this game because the trailer made it look like a well designed, expertly crafted gaming romp. Judging from the trailer, Hatred looks like a mediocre isometric/top-down shooter that is lacking in features. It does not seem to have multiplayer support and level building like Alien Swarm, nor does it seem to have varied playstyles and a bumpin' soundtrack like Hotline Miami. At best it looks like Renegade Ops without co-op, and since co-op was the best part of Renegade Ops, that is not a positive statement.

The crowd supporting Hatred does not care about getting better games, it cares about getting games with themes that support their world view.

But that hardly matters to those who are interested in Hatred. Similar to TOMS shoes and Veggie Tales DVDs, the quality of this product's construction is not nearly as important to its target market as what the product represents.

Hatred is a commercialized middle finger to the trend of inclusivity that games have been following. Even if it turns out to be a buggy, poorly-made game, Hatred will still sell copies to people who hate that gaming has become less homogeneous and more socially complex. They will love how “rebellious” the game is and rebellious they are for playing it. Then they will go on the Internet and make posts on forums saying “It's great cause it's all about shooting people and causing mayhem and doesn't have any artsy crap in it. Game of the year for me.”

The value of Hatred, and the focus of its sales tactic, is in the controversy it creates and enables others to create, not in its quality as a game. Look at the comments on many of the stories about Hatred on gaming websites and you will see most of the people supporting it are also spouting out phrases like “screw you, hippies!” or “don't censor my games!”. Hatred has aligned itself against political correctness and good taste, and that social stance is how it is drawing most of its audience.

It seems like a lot of games these days take some kind of political or social stance, whether it is as simple as Shovel Knight including a gender-swap mode or as big as Star Wars: The Old Republic adding an entire planet with gay romance options as a hamfisted way to rectify the lack of gay romance options in the main campaign. With the gaming community polarizing their beliefs in the wake of Gamergate, will developers feel more pressure to make social issues the focus of their games?

If games like Hatred are the result of that pressure, I certainly hope not. I would rather not have the industry inundated with dull games coated in a layer of shallow social preaching, sparking vitriolic comment wars before fading into obscurity. Although, given how much of a reaction Hatred's trailer is getting, that might be where we are headed.

Gabe Wood is an LA-based comedian currently working through the meat grinder that is the entertainment industry. He spends his free time working through his Steam backlog when he can pry himself away from DOTA 2 and League of Legends

Editor's Note:  Hatred is an extremely violent and disturbing game. We do not condone viewing content for this game, let alone playing it. Despite this game's unseemly hype, Sevencut also believes this article deserves to be written, despite giving in to the Streisand effect.