Hatred is one of the most juvenile, pornographic, disturbing games revealed in recent memory. It’s also one of the most interesti— no, wait, come back! Hear me out, sceptics.
To be clear, let me state upfront that I don’t like the premise of Hatred. I find it uncomfortable at best, downright vile at worst. The trailer’s choice of close-up victims is also worrying, given the dev’s alleged political views (more on this in a bit). And if Hatred existed in a vacuum, it’s relevance would be zero. The developers declare it’s a response to video games languishing under some imagined politically-correct critatorship, which seems absurd if you look at the release schedule for next quarter, or the following one, or forever.
Instead, its value lies in its role as a foil to other games, a mirror that reflects rote mechanics, shallow motivations and lazy rationale for the many in-game activities we engage. Similarly, Hatred stands in contrast to the thoughtful and benign approach the industry has taken in the kind of games it puts front and center of the public eye; while the medium is evolving, it still remains a highly commercial enterprise and one where hard-won PR with the general populace is rigorously defended.