For the most part, they seem pretty nice
For better or worse, many in the gaming world might have come to take Destructoid for granted. If you follow gaming closely enough to know who we are, then you’ve probably also formed a general opinion about us, and regardless of what that opinion may be, you likely don’t think we’re all violence-obsessed monsters. However, when I tell people outside of gaming that I work for a website called “Destructoid,” their first response is usually something like “What’s that mean? Like a a killer robot?” or “Sounds pretty angry.”
When I go on to tell them that we’re a video game blog, they usually nod in a knowing but not-necessarily-approving way. You put the idea of video games and any form of the word “destruct” together on the same sentence, and many will be quick to make unflattering assumptions.
It’s with these ideas in mind that Destructoid approached Destructive Creations, the developers behind the popular twin-stick shooter Hatred, for a two-part interview. These developers have been making headlines for over a year, attracting all kinds of controversy, despite the fact that no one had actually played their game yet. Some called them racists, while others saw them as the victims of discrimination. Either way, it seemed pretty clear that many people had already made their minds up about Hatred well before the game was released.
We tried to avoid those kinds of preconceptions in the process of drumming up these questions, but that doesn’t mean we made much effort to to be polite either. Politeness doesn’t seem really seem to be their thing, anyway.
Destructoid: For people who don’t already know, what is Hatred about and how does it play?
Jarosław Zieliński (Destructive Creations CEO): Hatred is a dynamic isometric twin-stick shooter where you take a role of cold-blooded Antagonist who hates the whole humanity and goes out for a hunt. But, when the police and army walks in, you will be hunted, and you’ll struggle to survive in order to achieve the main game goal (but we won’t spoil it). The game is quite challenging, unless you play on easy difficulty. On hard or extreme it shows its teeth and that’s the way it was meant to be played.
You can steer with a combination of mouse and keyboard or with a use of a gamepad. There is a wide selection of weapons, and you can also use some vehicles to perform the mayhem. The environment is almost completely destructible; the game offers very advanced physics and uses UE4.
Dtoid: If the Antagonist of Hatred played Hatred, would he love it or hate it?
J. Z.: He wouldn’t like it, because he would consider it as an easy way of venting out his hatred. He is clearly a heroic fella in his own opinion; he does things in reality and that’s what matters to him. But I’m just guessing here.
Dtoid: You’ve said in prior interviews that the GTA series is largely about killing for greed and self interest, while Hatred is about killing out of an honest urge to destroy. Yet, Hatred has been demonized by many of the same people who seem to adore the GTA games. Why do you think that is, and do you think the Antagonist of Hatred is in any way more honorable or deserving of respect than the criminals of GTA?
J. Z.: He isn’t hiding anything behind what he does. He is full of emotions, because hate is also an emotion as the love is. His aim is to eliminate the targets. He is not getting anything out of that – no money, no fame, no satisfaction for sadistic intents. As a sociopath, he only wants to watch the world burn. His actions aren’t motivated by greed. There is a kind of purity in his behavior, because he is not trying to justify who he is and what he does, contrary to what we can see in GTA, because there, we also play criminals, but motivated by something less pure. You may try to look deeper and figure out on your own why Antagonist is like this. We left the explanation of his behavior to the gamers.
Dtoid: You’ve also said in prior interviews that you were never interested in using pixel art for Hatred, as you don’t like the look and you don’t think it would fit the game. Hotline Miami is another twin-stick shooter about being a sociopath, but it uses sprite-based graphics, and it’s done very well commercially and critically. [Spoilers] It also has a twist at the end that comments directly on how the player likes to hurt people. [/Spoilers]
Have you played Hotline Miami, and/or do you have any thoughts on how the game was received vs. Hatred‘s reception? Do you think people are more willing to accept an ultra-violent game about being “the bad guy” if it has “sprite-based graphics and/or a veneer of self-awareness and deeper meaning”?
J. Z.: To be honest – I’ve never played Hotline Miami and that’s exactly why: I don’t really like its colorful style, it is not in my taste. We wanted to stick with more realistic approach to the looks of the game. We aren’t fans of pixel art graphics; that was never in our interest to do something like that in Hatred. Why HM is more acceptable to the public than Hatred is?
I can only guess, but if you would have exactly the same story and gameplay features, but it would be shown in a realistic mood, with people’s faces reflecting fear and pain, there would be much more controversy about the game. And there’s also a matter of a plot. I don’t really know what the storyline is in HM, but I doubt it’s “evil deeds for evil deeds” as it is in Hatred. And mostly – that’s the reason many people are so obsessed by our game, in both ways – love or hate.
Dtoid: Do you think people would have reacted differently to Hatred if it starred a woman or a member of an ethnic minority? Or a man who’s dying of cancer, like in Bobcat Goldthwait’s film God Bless America? How about a gun-wielding baby who just doesn’t know any better?
J. Z.: Possibly some would react differently, some wouldn’t. I wouldn’t like to give an answer for everybody as each of us has his own perspective on such things. We thought it would be better if we create a character that leaves more questions than answers to the audience. As you have seen, many people accepted the game design, theme, and the character, and we are happy about that, as we are sure that our game reached the audience we aimed for. I would also like to add that killing is always wrong in terms of morality – doesn’t matter if you’re a soldier, a person dying of cancer, or a psychopath wearing a trench coat. Justification of evil deeds is a cancer of humanity and will probably put it into the grave at some point.
Dtoid: Hatred involves near-constant killing of innocent people, but it does not feature the violence towards children or animals, or any sexual violence of any kind. Were you concerned that allowing the Antagonist to engage in those acts would somehow make the player feel bad about themselves? Or are those monstrous actions just not monstrous in a “fun” way?
J. Z.: We didn’t plan to put animals, children, or rape into the game; that wasn’t in our interest. And you’ve got the exact point – some things are so bad that even on the screen they would be too much for me, but it’s a matter of personal approach. I didn’t kill children in Fallout, even if I could. I was never interested in games like Rape Lay, never even seen it. As for killing animals – let’s face it – we’re used to doing it in games. We didn’t put animals into Hatred, because it would be too much work and keep in mind we’re a very small team, with small budget. And it wouldn’t add anything worthwhile to the game itself.
Dtoid: You’ve jokingly said in prior interviews that unlike Anita Sarkeesian, your team hasn’t gotten any death threats, maybe because the people who make death threats are probably fans of Hatred. When things are funny, it’s often because there is at least some truth to them. What do you think of all the conflict swarming around the release of your game, and what advice would you give to fans who are trying to fight “Social Justice Warriors and Unethical Games Journalists” on your behalf?
J. Z.: Actually, we got more positive feedback than negative. You could count hate emails we received on two pairs of hands, and the positive feedback can be counted in thousands. It’s rather a problem with media, when they found out that some “rebels” had made a game that worked against all trends. The “crusade” against us didn’t really work out, as our game became more and more recognizable and successful. And who said that thing we’ve said had to be funny? I think it’s kinda true.
To anyone who opposes “Social Justice Warriors and Unethical Games Journalists” I would say: “keep fighting, we’re on your side!,” while we don’t really care about the voice of SJWs, they are just loud minority in the gaming world and most people don’t care about reviews or Metacritic anymore. Me included – many games I liked were heavily bashed by media. And besides – submission is for the weak. We won’t submit to the values we don’t accept. We like to do things the way we want.
Dtoid: Indeed you do.
Thanks for reading everybody, and be sure to come back for part two of this interview where we discuss AO ratings, if Hatred is appropriate for children, Juggalos, shitting, and more.