But just because Hatred’s out, doesn’t mean you should actually buy it.
Picture, if you will, indie darling Hotline Miami and its sequel. Fast-paced, super-violent, anarchistic kitschy silliness. Kind of like someone took an old-school, top-down Grand Theft Auto rampage and turned it into a game. It’s OK though, because it’s low-res pixel-art, quite obviously not altogether that realistic, and actively asks the question “Do you like hurting other people?”
Now, imagine Hotline Miami, but take away all the things that make what could be a very unpleasant situation into something rather fun. The campy visuals. The pumping soundtrack. The surreal, psychotropic disembodiment from the eighties gangster setting and the ludicrous plot (such as it is). You’ve done that? Good. What’s left doesn’t really sound very appealing, does it?
What you’ve created there, in your mind’s eye, is Hatred.
Hatred is a game about killing people… and I could stop this article there. There is literally nothing more to it than that. But I’ll try to be fair and even-handed about it.
Hatred is a game about killing people… because, well… they’re there. Your character is angry, for some reason, with the general existence of humanity, and thinks the best solution is to kill as many people as possible before himself inevitably being killed by law enforcement. It’s essentially glorifying a senseless, indiscriminate (and very graphically, realistically violent) massacre.
If Hatred sounds distasteful, then, that’s because it really, really is.
America has a history of disenfranchised loners shooting up public spaces/schools/movie theaters/shopping malls “just because” – in the aftermath, it’s attributed to the fact they’re angry and nobody understands them – and the playable character (I flat-out refuse to refer to them as the protagonist) in Hatred fits that stereotype perfectly. Long black hair? Check. Black trench coat? Check. Concealed arsenal of weapons? Check. Self-obsessed belief that they’re making, you know, a nihilistic statement, man, when really it’s just something incredibly fucking callous and stupid? Check.
Why does this game exist? I honestly can’t say. Does it serve any purpose as art or entertainment? Absolutely fucking not. Is its sensationalised violence simply designed to whip up a media frenzy that drives sales, like Grand Theft Auto in days of yore? Probably. Might the developers try and pass it off as some sort of satire? Perhaps, but it’s simply not satirising anything.
Do I appreciate the irony that in taking time to write about how awful it is, I’m giving the developers exactly what they want, in drawing attention to it? Abso-fucking-lutely, but it still needs to be said.
Thankfully it’s not likely to succeed, because unlike Hotline Miami (and Grand Theft Auto before it) there’s no fun here. There’s no hook. It’s just unpleasant. And for the first time in the history of ever, Hatred has caused me to write a release announcement article with no images, no trailer, and absolutely no links telling anyone where to buy the bloody thing.