Almost as quickly as it was taken down, the Steam Greenlight campaign for controversial shooter Hatred is back up again. Not only that, the game has rocketed to the top spot among all Greenlight games, capturing more than 27,000 up votes since its return.
Some may remember that Valve stepped in earlier this week and took Hatred off Greenlight citing the game's controversial subject matter as a key factor. Since Valve would eventually become the publisher and distributor should Hatred's campaign prove successful, they wanted to distance themselves from the project. However, that decision was not made by every member of the higher-ups at Valve, chief among them Gabe Newell, who decided the cancellation was the wrong thing to do.
And so late Tuesday, Newell e-mailed Hatred developer Creative Destructions to tell them that their project's removal “wasn't a good decision” and that the game would return to Greenlight. Shortly thereafter, the campaign drew massive up votes from the Steam community, and currently sits as the #1 game among more than 2,000 on Greenlight.
Here's Newell's message to Creative Destructions:
Yesterday I heard that we were taking Hatred down from Greenlight. Since I wasn’t up to speed, I asked around internally to find out why we had done that. It turns out that it wasn’t a good decision, and we’ll be putting Hatred back up. My apologies to you and your team. Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers.
Good luck with your game.
Immediately after Valve removed Hatred from Greenlight gamers began to criticize the decision for many reasons, not the least of which was the hypocritical nature of singling this game out. While Hatred may have a very controversial approach in its depiction of violence and character motivations, it's hardly the worse thing to come around. In fact, some gamers had no problem finding similarly unseemly games within Steam's library (e.g. Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty).
Whether or not Newell was motivated by the strong fan outcry is unclear, but he's now made a controversial move in support of a controversial game. Some will see it as the right move, while others will likely chastise the publisher for changing their mind.
Either way, it seemed pretty clear that Hatred was going to get published regardless of it was on Steam or some other platform. The project had already generated a ton of buzz (both good and bad) and so it was only a matter of time before someone stepped in after Valve dropped out. However, we never expected Valve to pull a complete 180 on their decision, nor did we expect that the move would come straight from Gabe Newell.
Now, Hatred is likely to get the attention it needs and should end up on Steam whenever Creative Destructions finishes the project. And the developers have Gabe Newell to thank for making it happen. Now if only he could help push Half-Life 3 along.
Do you think Valve made the right call in returning Hatred to Steam Greenlight? Will you buy the game when it eventually releases?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina