Video games have received all manner of attention over the last week, much of it negative. Now the release of the first trailer for Hatred, a game where the only objective appears to be the mass murder of as many innocent civilians as possible, is bringing the industry to a new low.
The trailer for the video game, which is designed by Polish developer Destructive Creations, begins with the appearance of an obscure, long-haired figure dressed in black and brandishing a host of weaponry including machine guns, knives and grenades. After a brief monologue about this character’s “hatred” for the world and the “human worms” that reside within it, the character then proceeds to embark on a “genocide crusade” which showcases several brutal executions of men, women and police officers with no apparent purpose.
While video games and death have come hand in hand for years and such scenes of excessive violence are commonplace, the real shocking element of Hatred is that senseless murder and violence seems to be the only real purpose of the game. From what the trailer shows, none of the victims in the game are symbolised as an enemy, an invader or a “bad-guy,” the usual target for the host of first-person shooters and role-playing games that include violence.
In Hatred, not only violence, but violence against innocent civilians seems to be the whole purpose of the game. Since the trailer’s release a fierce debate has sprung up about the morality of such violent and destructive game-play, adding fuel to the massive fire currently surrounding moral game-play, the sexualization of women in video games and the threats directed against outspoken women in the industry.
As technology develops and video games are designed to appear more and more like real-life, the ability to purposely or accidentally kill civilians is not usually prevented. But though many titles do contain the option of killing civilians, such action in-game usually results in some sort of game-based punishment or hindrance. Even Grand Theft Auto, a franchise which is often used as an example of some of the worst things possible in modern game-play, responds to civilian death with a swarm of police officers and swat teams that aggressively attack the player and make following the story line virtually impossible.
While some argue that the actions in Hatred are allowed in other video games and therefore nothing to raise an eyebrow at, the fact remains that while many games do allow for similar actions, none of these games are constructed with the entire story line and game-play based around the senseless murder of innocent civilians. And while video games that allow for civilian deaths as a side effect or accident do so in pursuit of life-like and “freedom of choice” game-play, Hatred glorifies it in a way rarely before seen in modern-day video gaming.
The release of the Hatred trailer could not come at a worse time for the gaming world, which has lately been the center of much media attention after the threats against prominent industry feminist Anita Sarkeesian and the emergence of the “Gamergate” controversy. Hatred’s untimely appearance will most likely drag the video game industry even further into the firing line as people speak out against the somewhat frightening existence of such a title, where the only objective is to murder as many civilians as possible in a pointless and violent crusade.
By Mathew Channer