Hatred. It’s a strong word and if anything sums the word up nicely it’s the game bearing the same name from indie studio, Destructive Creations. It is a violent and over the top game that involves a lone gunman going on a killing spree in his neighbourhood. It’s equal parts sickening and fascinating and reactions to the game’s trailer have varied from outright disgust to vocal support. For me, it turned my stomach and left a bad taste in my mouth but for others (perhaps those less well adjusted than myself… har har har) they were prepared to throw hard earned cash at Jaroslaw Zielinski and his team from Poland.
If you’ve followed any news over the past couple of days you’ll know that Hatred was put up on Steam Greenlight and pulled late on Monday evening. A statement from Valve spokesperson Doug Lombardi indicated that Hatred is something they’d never allow on the Steam platform. While Destructive Creations was respectful of Steam’s decision they did question it by making comparisons to games such as Postal and Manhunt still being readily available on the platform. In a quick 180 degree turn it would seem that Gabe Newell himself has reversed the decision and given the game a full reinstatement. This has resulted in a huge boost in awareness for the game and a skyrocketing to number one on the Steam Greenlight Top 100.
Now in the eyes of this writer I’ll admit a game like this is not something I would ever choose to play. I find the game to be a sad attempt at using controversy to generate interest. Moreover I find that it’s riding on the back of a problem we’re seeing far too much of in our society these days. Whether it’s at a school or a theater or a local mall there are maladjusted people toting guns and mowing down innocent people multiple times a year. Do I agree with these horrible tragedies being used as inspiration for a game? Absolutely not! The killing of innocent people in this manner isn’t something to be made light of. Do I think that Destructive Creations has every right to make the game and sell it without censorship? You’re damn right I do.
“Hopefully, if nothing else, this sparks more open dialogue on censorship in gaming rather than just lining the pockets of Destructive Creations”
This situation has raised an important question when it comes to viewing video games as more than just entertainment but an art form. If video games are art do we have the right to censor them in such a way? It’s not a question of whether or not any one person agrees with the content but of whether or not creators have the right to make said content without prejudice. Obviously, Valve has every right to do what it wants on its own platform but the decision to reverse the banning of Hatred was indeed the right one. Hopefully, if nothing else, this sparks more open dialogue on censorship in gaming rather than just lining the pockets of Destructive Creations.
In the end the success of Hatred will come down to the consumer. There’s a good chance that the carnival show aspect of this campaign will result in high initial sales but in the end the gameplay will dictate whether or not Hatred stands the test of time. I hope it fails miserably (which after this PR boost is highly unlikely), but I also hope it makes it to market so the people can ultimately be their own decision makers in regards to supporting it or not.
What are your thoughts on this whole situation? Do you agree or disagree with Hatred’s reinstatement on Greenlight?