On the ESRB, No More Heroes, and shits
I’ve heard a few people say that part 1 of our interview with Destructive Creations, the developers of Hatred, was “surprisingly fair”. It’s a shame that some have come to expect that this website, or any other gaming site, would be unfair to game developers, but I understand where the sentiment comes from. Tempers often run high in this new politically charged world of videogames, likely due to how many of us have been made to be afraid of each other.
It makes me miss the old days when the largest divide you’d likely find between gamers was about console preferences, not stances on social issues. Those old Sega Vs. Nintendo debates might have gotten pretty heated, but they were nothing compared to the long standing hatred that a lot of gamers seem to feel for each other today. It’s probably best not to get to wistful though, as there is no going back to those more innocent times. Not as long as there is money and power to be gained from manipulating gamers into following whatever ideology-of-the-month is trending on Twitter at that moment.
We didn’t talk with Destructive Creations CEO Jarosław Zieliński about any of that, but we did ask him how old he would want his children to be before they first played Hatred, how he feels about the way his studio and his game have been pained by the media, his rumored interest in The Insane Clown Posse, and a lot more. His answers often surprised me, as did the smiles he regularly flashed my way. Thanks again to Mr. Zieliński for the interview. I hope it’s not the last time we have the opportunity to chat.
Destructoid: Why do you think that Hatred game got an AO rating while games like GTA, Hotline Miami and Manhunt received a M? Is there any chance you’ll make changes to the game so that it can get an M rating for consoles and/or be streamed on Twitch?
Jarosław Zieliński (Destructive Creations CEO): The rating we got was premature. It was based only on gameplay video. ESRB didn’t actually played the game. It’s the context of the game that made the rating. We would be better off with M rating, but we didn’t have any influence on the rating company decision.
We rather won’t change the game concept and gameplay, as the game wouldn’t be as it was announced and released on PC.
The most interesting fact is that many believed that it will be so gruesome and scary that even gamers won’t be able to play it because of fear they could have before launching it. And after release, it came out that the game is pretty cool, kind of a horror with some black humor and a bit of a gore. Even some critics admitted that it aint as evil as they thought. Even if we told many times before that we don’t understand people who are expecting “most violent ever”, because it’s simply not the one. That’s the reputation created by media, which gave us giggles sometimes (smiles).
Dtoid: In a recent interview with with Edmund McMillen (Cunt, The Binding of Isaac, Super Meat Boy) for Nintendo Force, I head that in High School, Edmund was the kind of kid that would mod Duke Nukem so that it took place in his school, and he’d play his mod like a “sociopath”, shooting everyone in sight. He said that it was a safe and innocent way for him to push boundaries and experiment with right and wrong, though he felt that he was often judged as a “troubled kid” as a result.
Maybe the difference with Hatred is, it isn’t just a fan project made by a curious teenager It’s a commercially developed game created by a large and dedicated team of professional adults. How do you think that change in context effects how the work is judged, morally or otherwise, and do you think any of those judgments are unfair?
J. Z.: Firstly, I’d like to tell you that our team isn’t big – there is 13 of us only, and totally independent. And for the most of the development time, there was just 10 of us.
We have heard many rumors about us, many false accusations towards our team, because people think that if the game is about a bad guy, then its creators are also some weird freaks. It’s like if you would consider Battlefield development team to be real soldiers. We are bunch of regular guys who have friends, families, and we do everything to have a cool, happy life.
There is a lot of miss-judgement in our society and we really cannot put ourselves in a position of a victim because our creations are something “bad”. Our game for many fans is a “stress reliever”, a fun game where you can unleash your anger and not doing it in reality. That was the whole point of Hatred when we created it. I would suggest to try something out before judging it, and that the best summary I guess.
By the way, I was very much involved into Duke Nukem 3D modding community in the past, that’s how I’ve landed into gamedev industry. I still can find some of my Total Conversions on the web. Hail to the king, baby!
Dtoid: Edmund also said that there is nothing in the The Binding of Isaac (a game that Nintendo initially refused to allow for sale on the 3DS eShop) that he feels would likely do psychological damage to children, despite the fact that it features poop, monsters, murder, and drug use. He said the exception to that statement lies with kids who are already suffering from trauma or other debilitating psychological ailment. Do you feel the same way about Hatred? If you had children, at what age would you let them play the game?
J. Z.: I wouldn’t let my kid play it when he is 7,8 or 13. The psyche of a child at this age isn’t mature enough to distinguish good from wrong. Young human needs to learn that for years, a child doesn’t understand some mechanics our world is based on. I would observe my kid and figure out if he is ready, but it wouldn’t happen before his 16th or 17th birthday, probably. Even if I played Postal being a kid and I’m still normal… quite normal (smiles).
Dtoid: Any truth to the rumors that you’re big fans of The Insane Clown Posse. To be direct — are you a Juggalo?
J.Z.: Um, no. First time I heard about that character (smiles).
Dtoid: No More Heroes is another game about an antisocial loner who murders people for fun. Suda 51, the game’s creator, once said that his creative process is a lot like taking a shit.
Most of the time when you take a shit, it feels totally natural and satisfying, though the process and the end result might be gross or unsettling for others to deal with. Still other people may watch you shit in public, and think it’s fun and funny for you to defy social norms and politically correct standards by shitting wherever you want. They may cheer you on, or even join in with their own shits.
Do you feel like creating Hatred was like taking a shit for your team? If not, is there another bodily function that would make a more fitting metaphor?
J. Z.: Nah, not really. Taking shit is like an elevator to relief, not really a creative process, because the only reason of doing it is your physical need. We’ve had a lot of fun, dedication, emotions and stress while making this game and it wasn’t even near any shitting experience (laughs). I would rather say that creating this game was like a loud “FUCK OFF” towards many people, and I’m not talking only about SJWs here.
We know what we want to achieve and how we want to achieve it. We always have a plan, so we are sure that what comes out from D.C. studio in the future won’t be a shit, but our pride and a best project we can possibly make.
Thanks a lot for interesting questions!