By now, anyone who cares has heard about Hatred, or seen it’s grimdark trailer. There’s a concerted effort to get the game cancelled. I will come out now and say that I do not support the censorship of this game. And here’s why:
I’m old enough to remember reading about Thrill Kill in EGM and awaiting it’s release, if only because it was another M-Rated game. To my childhood self, games like Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill occupied a special place in my mind’s eye. They were dark, they were dreary, they dealt with the unknown, and of course, they were violent. Most of these games also happened to be exceptionally well designed. Duke Nukem 3D for example, is a blast to play even to this day. Despite its now apparent technical limitations, it is a shining example in level design.
Thrill Kill was, by all accounts, a violence simulator. It wasn’t a very deep game, and didn’t have the most content. It definitely had a dark vibe, not unlike Twisted Metal, but since that series focused on mechanical destruction, the psychotic violence and character motivations were less of an problem to outsiders. Thrill Kill became a bit of a political issue and was cancelled in the name of good taste. In the name of protecting children. While it would likely have sold well enough to get a sequel, it was not to be. There were plenty of other titles that were more violent, but there was something about the overall vibe of Thrill Kill that they absolutely could not allow. MK4 for example, was more violent. Even Kiss’ Psycho Circus was more violent.
Thrill Kill would later be retooled into the cult-hit Wu Tang: Shaolin Style, and so the developers eventually made some money. Game development costs have skyrocketed since then, and so I don’t know that the developer of Hatred could afford having all of its work scrapped.
The original Thrill Kill was eventually leaked but it never was released when it would have been relevant. It would have been a big deal based on it’s 4-player 3D fighting engine alone. You can see it’s archaic, late-90’s grimdark vibe below:
There was a prevailing thought during the 90’s that only children played videogames, and that games were warping our minds. The industry has grown far past this point, and in this day and age, most children are very tech-savvy and will find and experience the worst of human nature well before puberty. If you are looking to protect children, consider pressing for legislation on cell-phone age. While videogames offer an outlet for aggression, cell phones (and by extension, Social Media) contort the world into a sterile, ugly place. They shrink your world and destroy your ability to socialize. Modern children have their interpersonal interactions filtered through a digital cheerleader, encouraging them to think and act in such a way as to appease as many “people” as possible. Head to any bar and have a look at how many people defer to their digital womb rather than the distressing reality of being present and alive. This is a stark change from just 10 years ago.
If on the other hand, you just don’t like the game, well then too bad. People’s livelihoods are at stake, and you are not the arbiter of morality or good taste. Let the free market sort it out. The game doesn’t appear to be big enough to be getting a mass-market advertising campaign. Except for the vocal minority, the only way you’d hear about it is by frequenting hardcore and niche communities.
But let’s be real: You’re only upset about the game in order that you can post about it on your Social Media services, and let everyone know what a great person you are. If someone hadn’t done exactly what I just described, you would never have known the game existed. And you’d go on looking for other hot-button topics to “weigh in” on. From your fainting couch, you fan yourself with your iPhone and hyperventilate about how improper it all is. You could be helping people across the world with tangible problems, but that’s nowhere near as easy.
My take? I do enjoy games that play like Robotron. Although the game looks silly, it might be fun. Had there been no fuss over the game I likely would have never even looked at it. I make judgment calls all the time without appealing to Social Media to back me up. There’s lots of games I don’t bother playing. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to exist or have a place in the market. This is precisely why I do not support a boycott or a ban. Per the Streisand Effect, all you’ve done is increased the exposure of this game. Tasteless or not, I’m sure that’s what they were going for.