Since I first watched its infamous debut trailer, which seems like an age ago, I was not a Hatred fan. Many people weren't, and I personally thought that was refreshing.
As violent as videogames can be, and often are, it was comforting to see entire communities take to the internets to lambast the actions of the game's protagonist (antagonist?) as he swept his way through the suburbs, murdering wave upon wave of pleading civilians and hapless cops, fueled by little more than an exaggerated "Fuck the World" mindset, usually held in reserve for angsty teens having just fought with their parents. We are always being told that we, as gamers, have become desensitised to violence, and the disgusted outrage at Hatred went someway toward addressing that issue.
I don't like Hatred, I find its gleeful murder of innocents deplorable and its Nu-Metal mentality cliched and childish. As Darren Nakamura put it succinctly: "Hatred is gross." Plus, I tried to watch that seven minute gameplay video posted on Chris Carter's review, and I was bored as fuck by it.
In the game's favour, it has good atmospheric lighting, and the physics seem very solid, but I could also say that about Sonic Boom.
Wait...No I couldn't.
Hatred's actual offence, the one that does disappoint me, is the potential harm it can do to us all as an already vilified community of gamers.
I took a ton of shit off of people throughout my childhood for being into videogames. I was labelled by school-friends and family members alike as being a outcast at best and a massive dork at worst. This was in the late 80s/early 90s, way before the days of "geek chic" sold out comic-cons and billion dollar Marvel movies.
As I got older, these labels became more sinister, and being mocked in the playground matured into being mocked on the news, hearing straight up lies about how I was now this "basement dwelling weirdo", someone who lived purely to destroy. As the years passed I went from wanting to murder innocent women in Night Trap to lavisciously drooling over all that sodomy in Mass Effect.
All gamers supposedly lived in this fantasy world where we couldn't make friends, couldn't get laid, and never saw the sun, roundly heralded by news, sitcoms and movies as pathetic loners to be ridiculed and ignored.
This was bad enough but then, in 1999, The Columbine tragedy happened. All of a sudden, in the eyes of the world's media, we weren't just laughable nerds anymore, we were now potential killers (as you'll remember, Columbine happened entirely because Doom is a thing, that and Marilyn Manson.)
In recent years, the socio-political furore has exploded with force, with online movements, internet anonymity and the casual handing out of disgusting rape threats allowing vocal minorities, or straight up trolls, to become an easily Google'd hive of soundbites. These can be used by news outlets at will, in whatever context they choose, to paint videogamers as Fucking Monsters.
In the ever-hysterical eyes of the mass media, encouraged by the Breivik massacre and similar violent acts, Gamers have transitioned from the mean-spirited stereotype of pasty-skinned, virgin misfits to this modern, more alarmist stereotype of human-hating sociopaths, thirsty for digital carnage and merely one step away from tooling up and taking to the streets, eagerly acting out our depraved GTA-inspired fantasies in the real world.
We are the Kill-Bot Factory.
So, why do we need a product such as Hatred adding fuel to this ridiculous fire? a game that you could throw up on any TV show, display to the world without context for 10 seconds and falsely claim "This is what videogames are now and this is what gamers love playing"
As you're well aware, many people have had a negative reaction to Hatred, from devs, to distributors, to gamers themselves. But we are, all of us, way too savvy to know that such a viewpoint is irrelevant to the news.
The stance shown by the press wouldn't be "This game is viewed as morally reprehensible by many gamers" it would be "Gamers are LOVING this new game, some are saying its 'really funny' and 'the best game ever!'" (whilst quoting some anonymous Youtube comments)
I've already seen such an article in a popular UK tabloid, which only espoused positive reactions that Hatred had received, as well as being sure to tie-in the games supposed links to Columbine with the seemingly forever-blameable trope of "black trenchcoat".
Destructive Creations have claimed that Hatred was born out of their frustration of the increasing "political correctness" in gaming. Hatred was designed as an answer to the loss of videogames as a form of pure entertainment, to be played without agenda. But, if Destructive truly cared about games as a medium, then why on earth would they conceive a product that can only cause negative press? Merely furthering the ill reputation of the industry in the eyes of the world. To be a videogame lover and to create a game like Hatred is self-destructive, you have made a weapon to be turned against the very business you aspire to hone your craft in. You are doing your harshest critics work for them, and you are making it really easy.
At first, I didn't want to weigh in on this debate at all, and although I am firmly of the belief that the game will fade into obscurity (as even AAA games tend to do in this day and age of rapid-fire releasing) I was in the camp of "Don't talk about it and let it quietly go away"
But that's when I realised why I should write this, because, in my own small, totally insignificant way, I want to be one of the articles that, should Hatred blow up, people can point at and say "See, many gamers DON'T view products like this as acceptable entertainment, some of us ARE turned off by its cruel violence, innocent slaughter and hate-filled protagonist"
I'm just another guy writing on the internet about yet another flash-in-the-pan subject of controversy. But if the witchhunt starts or if, God forbid, Hatred ever gets scapegoated down the line for some miserable real world event, then when the finger of blame is inevitably pointed squarely at us "the gamers" I want to be able to stand up and say "Hey yo, don't lump me in with your bullshit, catch-all headlines" such is my right to defend against accusations levelled at myself, my fellow gamers, and anyone reading this who feels the same way.
Hatred, If you do ever recieve the mass media attention you clearly crave, then congratulations, but wave that banner of infamy on your own.
Not in my name.
Thanks for reading my personal opinion on this touchy subject, I need to clarify a few points:
- I respect Hatred's right to exist and to be sold, as much as I respect the people's right to critique it, or the rights of distributors to not sell it.
- I don't think people who want to play Hatred are "wrong" Each to their own, it certainly isn't for me though.
- This isn't an "outrage" article. I'm not overly offended by Hatred as a product, I'm disappointed the media has a new "easy weapon" to use against gamers.
- I'm fully aware there is no mass mainstream hysteria about this game yet, and hopefully, there may never be. This is more a pre-emptive strike.
- My thoughts on Hatred's violence are minor compared to my thoughts on how irresponsible I feel it is to make such a news-baiting game.
- This is my opinion. I don't expect everyone to agree, and I understand that. No offence was intended toward any reader.
So many have already had their say on this old-hat subject, and are likely dang tired of repeating it, but if you'd like to express your thoughts, all feedback is welcome. I'm not looking to have an argument with anyone, so any views on the matter will likely go untested by myself.
Thanks once again for reading, It's always appreciated. The floor is open, so grab the mic, friends.