Hatred (video game)
Logo of Hatred
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Genre(s)||Shoot 'em up|
Hatred is an isometric shoot 'em up video game developed and published by Destructive Creations that was released on June 1, 2015 on Microsoft Windows. The player-character is a misanthropic mass-killing sociopath who begins a "genocide crusade" to kill as many human beings as possible. The developer described Hatred as a reaction to video game aesthetic trends such as political correctness, politeness, vivid color, and games as art. Its October 2014 announcement trailer was characterized as "controversial" by multiple video game journalists. The game was shortly removed by Valve Corporation from their Steam Greenlight service due to its extremely violent content but was later brought back with a personal apology from Gabe Newell. It was greenlit for a second time on December 29, 2014 and released on June 1, 2015.
Hatred was released to negative reviews, with critics panning the game as being repetitive and lacking variation.
"Hatred" is a shooter video game presented in isometric perspective in which the player-character is a mass-murdering villain who "hates this world, and the human worms feasting on its carcass" and embarks on a "genocide crusade" against the entire human race. The player can carry three weapons and an assortment of grenades, as well as drive some vehicles. Health is regenerated by performing executions on incapacitated people; the moves made to kill those victims involve cinematic switches of camera perspectives. If the player is killed, the level restarts entirely unless the player completed additional sidequests that provide a limited number of respawn points. The character's voice acting is deliberately kept to a minimum, with his ideology and motivations largely left open to interpretation.
The plot of Hatred revolves around a disturbed man whose name and background are not given, with him only known as "The Antagonist". Disgusted by humanity's general existence, the Antagonist arms himself with an AK-47 assault rifle, three fragmentation grenades, and a military combat knife in his home to start a spree of killings in New York City. The man begins by slaughtering his neighbors and the police that arrive on the scene. He then travels to the police station at 1 Police Plaza to kill more police officers. After escaping, he flees into the sewers, pursued by a full team of S.W.A.T. officers, but the Antagonist uses the sewer layout to ambush and kill them all. After exiting the sewers, he arrives at a marina where he slaughters the civilians present there before taking a train to escape more law enforcement.
During the train ride, the Antagonist discovers that there is a nuclear power plant in New Jersey. En route to the plant, he kills everyone on board the train, including armed civilians, mafia members, soldiers, and the train's operator. He stops the vehicle and makes his way on foot to a truck station where an additional S.W.A.T team arrives; the enemies are killed by the Antagonist who then leaves by hijacking their van.
The Antagonist arrives at the train station and massacres everyone present. He then murders a group of local gun dealers, stealing their weapons. He learns that the United States military is hunting him and heads back to New York City to kill even more civilians.
The Antagonist arrives armed with a flamethrower at a rally for local politician José Morales. He attacks the rally, killing hundreds before engaging in a street battle with police and the army. The Antagonist steals a Humvee and heads for a nearby military base to procure explosives in the hopes of attacking the nuclear plant.
The Antagonist arrives at the military base at Fort O'Connor. Despite facing seemingly insurmountable opposition, he overwhelms its defenses and kills every soldier on the base; he remarks that he has succeeded in personifying the cliché of a "one-man army". He exits Fort O'Connor with C-4 charges and heads for the nuclear power station.
The Antagonist storms the power plant and engages in battle with the security force, intending to overload the reactor and trigger a nuclear explosion. After entering the code (666, though the same ending occurs if a different code is entered), he is attacked by a security guard. Arriving soldiers shoot him multiple times in the chest as he collapses. Severely injured on the ground, he activates the trigger, wondering if the explosives will truly work. The power plant explodes, leveling the city and killing millions; the Antagonist remarking in voiceover: "Well, they did."
Destructive Creations announced Hatred on October 16, 2014, releasing the game's controversial trailer. The developer described Hatred as a reaction to a trend of political correctness in video games, and sought to make a game that eschewed politeness, colorfulness, and games as art. In this way, they sought to make a game that recalled the industry's history as "a rebellious medium" and surface-level entertainment with no insertion of "any fake philosophy". While the trailer was intended to be provocative, Destructive Creations CEO Jarosław Zieliński did not anticipate the large reaction and the amount of supportive fan mail. He added that he did not think the trailer crossed a moral boundary, and that those who disagreed could choose to not play it. In an interview with Vice's Motherboard, Zieliński noted that the dark ambient music within the game as well as the character design were intentionally made to be devoid of joy, stating that "I don’t want to justify anything. I want the player to ask: why." The game uses the Unreal Engine 4 game engine and Nvidia PhysX physics. The Unreal logo was removed from the trailer at the request of the engine's developer, Epic Games.
The player character's dialogue was written by Herr Warcrimer, vocalist for Polish death metal bands Infernal War and Iperyt; the song "Particular Hatred" by Iperyt appears in the game. The voice for the player character was provided by a voice over actor using the pseudonym "Clint Westwood"; Zieliński claimed the actor "wanted to stay anonymous".
The team chose to work on a single platform due to the team's small size, hoping to distribute the game through Steam and GOG.com if allowed. On December 15, 2014, Hatred briefly appeared on Steam Greenlight, but was removed, with a Steam representative stating that the company "would not publish Hatred". On December 16, the game was returned to the service, and an apology to the development team was sent by Gabe Newell. Following this, it became the most voted game on the service and was approved successfully on December 29.
In January 2015, Hatred was given an "Adults Only" (AO) rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The rating effectively prevents any mainstream retail distribution of the game in the United States, or on video game consoles as all three major console makers forbid AO-rated games on their platforms. It is the third video game that received an AO rating for extreme violence rather than sexual content, behind Manhunt 2 and the unreleased Thrill Kill. One of its developers disputed the rating, stating that they were "not quite convinced" about the rating due to its association with sexually explicit games, adding that "it's still some kind of achievement to have the second game in history getting AO rating for violence and harsh language only. Even if this violence isn't really that bad and this harsh language isn't overused."
A second trailer was released on January 29, 2015, along with pre-order details. It showed new weapons (such as a flamethrower) and new execution animations. Developers claimed that shortly after the release, developer tools for Hatred would be made available.
The first set of additional downloadable content, titled Survival, was released on September 10, 2015, for free on Steam. The content adds three new maps for Survival mode, three new playable characters, "Story" and "Insane" difficulty modes, new sidequests, new rank systems, new leaderboards and new achievements. The content contains the ability to use several cheat options, including unlimited ammo, "God mode", and all weapons unlocked.
Several video game press outlets responded negatively to the game's announcement trailer, particularly in condemnation of its "portrayal of wanton violence". The review site Goodgamers.us interviewed Destructive Creations' PR manager Przemysław Szczepaniak, who responded to the outrage by saying that "[t[here is a huge difference between violence in real life and the one showed in games". Polygon's Colin Campbell wrote that the site's staff responded to the game's first trailer "with genuine revulsion". They described the trailer as "grisly", "extremely violent, and very tacky". PC Magazine's David Murphy wrote to "get ready for the backlash about the ultra-violent shooter ... if this game is ever released". He compared the game to Manhunt, Postal, and Mortal Kombat—other video games considered controversial for their amount of violence—and felt that Hatred "will generate just as much controversy". The trailer attracted defense of the game's right to freedom of expression, but Polygon reported that no outlet requested censorship of the game.
Mike Splechta of GameZone questioned the game's timing and how it could become the "next scapegoat" in a climate that already held video games responsible for school shootings and other violence. Polygon's Ben Kuchera wrote that the trailer was a "rhetorical failure" in that it attempted to shock viewers, but ultimately reflected the 1990s "shock culture" aesthetic. In response, Zieliński said that the trailer's "so called 'shock tactic' [did] its job very well", and added that the industry reaction to the trailer reflected the political correctness—"the way we are told and taught to think"—that the game's existence sought to oppose. When questioned about links between the company and the Pro-Polish group Polska Liga Obrony (Polish Defence League) based on a public Facebook like, Destructive Creations responded that they did not support the organization, were against "totalitarian ideologies", and appreciated the publicity despite its malevolence.
The second trailer, titled Devastation, received similar criticism, with Polygon calling it "just as vicious and cynical as the first trailer".
GameSpot gave Hatred a score of 3 out of 10, noting that the game's novelty wore off quickly due to a lack of variation or "thrilling five-star moment[s]", and concluding that "the fact that the final product fails even to be worth a primal psychotic scream of victory against society at large for the people it might encourage means it laughably fails even at being dangerous." Similarly, Jim Sterling, while criticizing the tone, concluded that "worse than that—we got a damn boring game". Rock, Paper, Shotgun said that "Hatred fails in every way", claiming the game falls short in terms of entertainment, technical competence, and "to be a controversial, shocking experience". Chris Carter of Destructoid was also critical of one-note gameplay while noting several technical issues. Softpedia praised the game's mechanics, calling the game "a good twin-stick shooter that manages to offer an interesting experience only through the actual theme".
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