Leave it to a game called Hatred to become the most criticized title in years. The controversial title has even grabbed a “most offensive” title against prostitute-murdering, car thieving Grand Theft Auto.
While the game is certainly grisly, it’s the lead character’s deranged nature that really seems to divide audiences. Developers describe him as a “psychopath” who “wants to watch the world burn.” In fact, Destructive Creations says they wanted to move away from the video game world currently en vogue — “where every protagonist’s actions need to be justified, where everything needs to be explained.”
Instead, DC business developer Przemysław Szczepaniak told Vice, their protagonist is meant to exhibit utter depravity as he embarks on a spree to kill as many people as he can, no motivation required.
“By playing it, you will expose your mind to a totally different experience. You will go into the mind of a maniac and you will play him. If you are a healthy and balanced person, you will know that Hatred is a game with fictional characters, and you will know that it will not harm you or anyone around you. It will be your choice to play it, and it will be up to you what conclusion you will get out of the game.”
[Warning: The following trailer for Hatred is extremely graphic.]
Hatred‘s developers were aware that people would call their game offensive. After all, it comes at a time when mass killers are all too much a part of modern American life. Hatred‘s team justifies their use of innocents as targets as a means to shake up the psyche of gamers, without playing into specific violent fantasies, Szczepaniak told Vice.
“We’ve used as [many] generic clothes, faces and hairstyles as possible. There are no real-life references for those NPCs. Who does he kill? If we would even reference a computer-generated character as “who”, I would say, ‘He kills everyone.’… [Human characters] can surprise you in gameplay. Would a zombie surprise you? Not really; they just run towards you and moan, growl… nothing more.”
Using something as perverse as mass killing as your central story arc is bound to attract those who say it may lead to people doing it in real life. Though specialists are still split about the effects of simulated violence, Brad Bushman, a psychologist at Ohio State University, told PBS that an overview of studies from more than 130,000 subjects did seem to indicate that “aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, and physiological arousal” are provoked by violent video games. Still others, like Ryan Hall, a psychiatrist at the University of Central Florida, also said that there is “no indication at this time that violent video games are training killers.”
Hatred‘s creators firmly support the latter position, saying that their game is far from the primary cause of violence.
“Violence has been present in human history since the beginning, and it has always had social, psychological, political or religious roots. It never came from computer games… Killing is always wrong. We show with Hatred how killing can be cruel; we did not justify anything about [it] – this is our honesty.”
Critics and fans alike will soon find out if Hatred really is the most offensive game of all time after all. The mass-killer groundbreaker is set to be released in spring of this year.
[Image via Destructive Creations]