Do you hate this world and the human worms feasting on its carcass? Is your whole life just cold, bitter hatred? Do you want to die violently? If so then Hatred, an upcoming shooting spree simulator from Polish developer Destructive Creations, could be the game for you.
The main character’s dorky trench coat, the bad voice acting, the screaming death metal soundtrack, the cringeworthy dialogue that seems to have been lifted directly from the diary of an angry teenager going through a goth phase, and the fact that Hatred‘s logo is a flagrant Doom rip off all amount to this not being a particularly great game trailer. More than anything else, Hatred is trying way too hard to be edgy and, to use internet speak, “grimdark.”
The 3D isometric shooter was built using Unreal Engine 4, and the current version of the trailer includes the Unreal logo, though Destructive Creations did not get permission to use it. Epic Games has since contacted the developer and asked for the logo to be removed, and in a statement to Eurogamer Epic was quick to disassociate itself from the game.
“Epic Games isn’t involved in this project. Unreal Engine 4 is available to the general public for use ‘for any lawful purpose,’ and we explicitly don’t exert any sort of creative control or censorship over projects. However, the video is using the trademarked Unreal Engine 4 logo without permission from Epic, and we’ve asked for the removal of our logo from all marketing associated with this product.”
The negative reaction to Hatred isn’t necessarily because it shows the main character killing people (since that’s the single most common theme in AAA games) or even because the gameplay involves killing innocent civilians (a popular activity in the Grand Theft Auto and Postal series). The trailer is mainly disturbing because it seems deliberately designed to emulate the attitudes and activities of mass killers like Elliot Rodgers and Anders Breivik, with no indication of satire or self-awareness. More than anything else it comes across as a transparent and rather lame attempt to court controversy.
There are certainly ways to explore very dark subject matter effectively in video games. In Yager Development’s Spec Ops: The Line the player commits a number of terrible war crimes as part of a narrative about the horrors of war, and even the highly controversial Flash game The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary communicates an overt political message and purposefully captures the cold horror of the tragedy that inspired it. Also speaking to Eurogamer, Destructive Creations CEO Jarosław Zielińskistates said that Hatred was created as an antidote to games that aspire to be “higher art.”
“In times where a lot of games are heading to be polite, colorful, politically correct and trying to be some kind of higher art, rather than just an entertainment, [we] wanted to create something against trends. Something different, something that could give the player a pure gaming pleasure. This is how the idea of Hatred – the team’s first game, was born.”
While it might succeed at being politically incorrect, Hatred doesn’t look thought-provoking and it doesn’t look fun. Despite the developer’s insistence that people shouldn’t take it seriously, the game seems to be taking itself far too seriously.
Hatred will release on PC in Q2 2015.