2015 has been the birth of a number of things, one of them being silly challenge trends on Facebook involving ice, dresses which seemingly change colour, and pandas hiding amongst snowmen. But there was one thing which caught everyone’s eyes, especially in the video game world, and that’s a little game called Hatred.
It was a game which reached a certain level of notoriety thanks to its poorly timed announcement around a certain “activist” movement becoming more of a threatening mob than a stand for rights. It was a game which had people wondering whether it was an actual legitimate game, or just something to stir up the politically correct crowd.
As it turns out, it was the former. Hatred was the brain child of Destructive Creations, a new development studio out of Poland. The game, in its simplest form, had players take the role of a cliché disturbed character set on going on a killing spree. The aim: cause as much devastation as possible.
Its intention was to cause shock. Players had one objective and that was to kill anything and anyone. It was a hope to resurrect the shocking and controversial games of yesteryear which had become banned, like Manhunt, Postal, and others. However, what it actually turned out to be was a repetitive and almost comedic attempt at becoming the next shocking release.
Despite receiving mostly positive reviews on Steam (though most of which are daft attempts at being funny), the game wasn’t really that well received by critics – of those who’d actually received the game ahead of release. It was described as a lacklustre attempt at creating shock and disgust, but ultimately becoming more humorous and pathetic than actually shocking.
Kotaku’s Chris Suellentrop said this about the game:
Hatred looks like a parody of what a Columbine-era parent feared about video games. Yet the experience of playing it is more American Movie than American Psycho. I began to think of it as an interactive Coven (pronounced, as devotees know, with a long “O”), the misbegotten short horror film chronicled by the cult 1999 documentary. On the other hand, that’s unfair to Coven.
Eurogamer’s Dan Whitehead said:
This is a game that wants to have the wider world clutching its pearls, wringing its hands and demanding something must be done to protect us from such a mean and nasty experience. It so desperately wants to be notorious and dangerous, but it’s really the gaming equivalent of a stroppy 14-year-old slamming his bedroom door because his parents won’t let him wear his Cradle of Filth t-shirt to Grandma’s house for Sunday lunch.
Destructoid’s Chris Carter said:
Where Hatred partly fails is that it doesn’t really make any meaningful statements in regards to its violence. That that it needs to, mind, it kind of just “is.” The main character (who is not named) hates the world, so he’s going to take down as many people as he can before he dies. That’s basically it. He starts in his neighborhood, then branches out across the surrounding area, using various forms of transportation to do it.
Other sites, like Polygon, didn’t even review the game.
Hatred was ultimately the most perfectly marketed game of 2015. It had controversy, it had publications from all over writing about the game, it also had slight main-stream interest. It was also said to be so disturbing, that it became an Adult Only game.
What was released however was a poor attempt at being noticed. The game has since fluttered off the radar. Sure, the developers are still supporting the game for the few which insist on playing it. Hell, the game only has around 83,000 owners, and the average play time is around 4 minutes, according to Steam Spy.
Frankly, before release, Hatred was hot shit. It had the ingredients to be the next must-have banned game. Unfortunately, it was released a couple of decades too late where aimlessly killing people in video games has sadly become a commonplace feature. We’ve got GTA, we’ve got Call of Duty, we’ve got games like DayZ, RUST, and more, where players are laid bare to get slaughtered, often in the name of politics and war, or in GTA’s case, because you can.
That’s why I believe Hatred is this year’s biggest flop.