Uncomfortable With Hatred

Hatred in the general sense, but more so in the upcoming gaming title. Watch the trailer:

First off “May Contain Content Innappropriate for Children?” Seriously? Do I need to make a snarky/sarcastic comment here? The polish studio Destructive Creations is behind this upcoming shooter.

Secondly, let me guess – this falls under First Amendment rights somewhere? I feel guilty for even linking to it in some regards, because it adds to the attention and hype this game is getting already.

Thirdly – maybe I am a hypocrite for complaining about this.

See, fair and balanced.

Typically in my FPS games I justify my mass slaughtering and shootings based on a few principals that make me feel okay, or even good about it. They are not all present in all of my shooting games but usually more than one is (in no particular order):

  1. its just a game
  2. the “other” side is trying to hurt me (unprovoked)
  3. the “other” side is trying to hurt a group/people I feel responsible for protecting
  4. something external/out of my control justifies my actions
  5. its a preset match/game between two or more teams or cooperatively between people

Pretty clear cut and as far as list goes, covers pretty much all FPS games I have played. Halo:1,2,3. Battlefield:1,2,5. Destiny: 1,2,3.  Left 4 Dead: 1,2,5. Team Fortress: 1,2,5. Bioshock: 1,2,4. Etc. You get it.

As far as I can tell, Hatred (the game), only has one from that list. The first. No other FPS I have played relies on just the first one and it makes me uncomfortable. I am also a non-violent person and it is hard to watch the clips.

The reason I used “hypocrite” comment is that I didn’t make a big deal when Payday came out – the game where you are a criminal robbing banks, killing cops (and my dad is a retired cop). It still has 1, 2, a dash of 5. I never played Payday: The Heist but I believe that you actually get penalized for killing innocents (not so for the boys in blue, however.) There is also an awful lot of killing in general in shooters, and not all of them are morally clear if you really dig deep. Even Destiny isn’t – I posted in the past (tongue in cheek) that we are slaughtering tons of aliens for no clear reason that the story supports. Heck, we go into THEIR planets and do it. They are just defending themselves.

Almost all of our games contain violence of some sort – against animals, monsters, each other – you name it, combat is a part of our gaming lives. So why does Hatred get under my skin? What makes it so uncomfortable for me? I think it is because of the helplessness of the innocents portrayed in the video. Violence for the sake of violence with no other goal or outcome but death feels senseless.

But wait, can’t you do that in GTA games? Just blow up bystanders, run over them?

Perhaps then it isn’t the senselessness that bothers me, but the personal, up close nature of it? (The woman crying for her life, the multiple stomach stabbing wounds..) Once you cross into a title like this it makes me wonder what is next. Game about rape? Suicide bombing? Doing bad things to children? (that last one makes me squeamish to even think about)

Thing is, I also like horror movies. At least in those it’s usually a group of people trying to escape the horror and not commit it.

As a marketing ploy, it’s brilliant. People are, and will, talk about this game. A lot. I’m curious if that will turn into sales.

Personally I hope not. I’m still trying to sort out why I feel about it the way I do, and looking forward to reading the thoughts of others while the game is developed and the video circulates.

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Yeah this looks like the point of the violence is just to be violent. You get to play a sociopath, and that seems like a flimsy idea for a game. As you pointed out, in other shooters at least you feel like you are being provoked into combat, be it because of a threat to you or your comrades/country/family or something to that effect.

    This reminds me of a couple of movies that I watched semi-recently, called Rampage, and its sequel Rampage: (something I don’t recall). It came down to a guy who saw a problem, and mindlessly killed a shitload of people just so he could have his voice heard. I rather enjoyed the films, because they made you care about the “bad guy.” I don’t see this happening in this trailer, though that could be wrapped into the story.

    I want to believe that there’s something that we aren’t seeing that is the catalyst for all of this violence, but I somehow doubt it. This looks like violence for the sake of violence and that is a little concerning.

    1. I almost think it would be better if it was some sort of commentary about how society can leave people behind, or how tragic upbringings/social status can lead to things like this. I just think an angry guy in a trenchcoat killing innocent victims on a suicide run has little value to anything or anyone. Curious to see how it develops. Personally, at this point, its just a (successful) marketing ploy.

  2. “Ah, but is the game itself any good?” is my first train of thought. I think I’ve pretty much become rather cynical about gaming controversies – a lot of it just appears to want to be extreme one way or another, just to piggyback on media reactions in order to get free marketing.

    I would never have even had games like Postal or Rapelay in my personal radar or experience until all of these names start showing up in the media and one starts wondering exactly what heinous act they’re trying to depict with polygons now. Is it any more or less deplorable if done with words, entertained in thought or acted out on film or over a personal computer?

    For those who feel a veneer of rationalization makes them feel justified in “shooting the bad guy,” I suggest playing Spec Ops the Line to prompt some thought and discussion.

    Me, I’d prefer it if more people were crystal clear about what’s make-believe, and what’s not. And correspondingly, what’s acceptable in the real world and not.

    1. This type of thought is why I insinuated maybe I was being hypocritical. All of our games are absolutely dredged in violence and who is to say what is good or bad violence? Is it my personal discomfort / tolerance the issue here, or the game?

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