Destructive Creations has been working tirelessly on the Unreal Engine-powered shooter, Hatred. The twin-stick game features destructible environments, multiple weapons and the very rare ability to brutally kill civilians in the game without instantly getting the “Game Over” screen. Destructive Creations has undergone a ton of scrutiny from the media for Hatred, but they haven’t been idle targets for moral crusaders and media pundits pontificating on their eroding soap boxes, attempting to belie the over-used stereotype of games causing real-life violence to the general public.
The outrage from the media eventually landed the game with the dreaded ‘AO’ rating from the ESRB, which stands for Adults Only. It severly limits the potential market reach for the game. The rating did rub the development studio the wrong way given that they mentioned that it would be harder for them to get the game onto home consoles. But that hasn’t stopped them from working on the title.
Given all the controversy surrounding the game and a lot of the talk about media influence and control over how some titles are received by the general public, as well as how sales can sometimes be affected based the kind of coverage (or lack of coverage) a game receives, I decided to reach out and ask a few questions to the very busy Destructive Creations about Hatred. You can check it out below.
Billy: There was such a huge media backlash over the original Hatred trailer. If the game was announced a few years ago before McIntosh and Sarkeesian reintroduced the narrative about games causing violence/sexism, how do you think the game would have fared under the media’s scrutiny?
Destructive Creations: It is hard to predict, really. I mean who would predict that Hatred will become one of most commented games in last months, and that it will be so loud because of Steam rejection and acceptance?
It’s really hard to say what would be the outcome, but I think it would cause a loud discussion anyways. In the past games like Postal or Doom or Mortal Kombat, also gave a loud outburst ,they were called brutal, satanic, etc. Topic of game violence has always been the same in media: those games are wrong and they need to be banned/controlled. I don’t think there would be much difference, it would be under media magnifier no matter what happens.
Billy: Some people believe that a lot of this is faux media outrage so the games journalists and media at large can cash in on the clickbait, while some think that there really are old fashioned moral crusaders behind the keyboard. With all the media coverage Destructive Creations and Hatred has received, have any of the journalists ever reached out to you and asked you to just stop making the game?
Destructive Creations: No, we haven’t been asked directly by journalists for this. There were only emails from haters that wanted to force or convince us to stop the development of Hatred.
Billy: Do you worry about how this game will be rated on Metacritic and whether or not political agendas forcing a low score could affect the overall sales scope of the game?
Destructive Creations: We are aware that we will be criticized, attacked, but take a look how much publicy the game already had, it went much further than a single review . Also, take a look how many support from fans we get. Even if we would get low rating because of context, violence, etc, gamers will be the our most valuable judges, and I’m sure that most of them won’t worry about reviews.
Billy: Despite all the negative media buzz surrounding Hatred, have any media outlets approached you about providing positive coverage for the game in exchange for funds?
Destructive Creations: No, there wasn’t anything like that. We had mostly neutral coverages with some exceptions of positive and negative feedbacks.
Billy: I know it was mentioned before about modding support for Hatred, but I’m sure a lot of gamers following the game would be curious to know if the game will have Steam Workshop support?
Destructive Creations: Yes, we will plan support Steam Workshop, we will also release MOD version separately.
Billy: Inevitably, modders will do what modders do. If some modder decides to add kids or babies or cute puppies to the game – or game journalists like Ben Kuchera, San Francisco hipsters or Anita Sarkeesian and company – would you would step in to prevent certain mods from being made available for the game or is it going to be like the Wild West, a bit like Garry’s Mod, where anything goes?
Destructive Creations: Most of those mods will be available via Steam Workshop, I suppose, and if someone will report offensive content, it will be taken off from them by Valve. But we ourselves, don’t really want to step in the way of modders, we don’t have time for this and honestly – we can’t be responsible for what modders will do with it, we are preparing a tool only.
Huge thanks to Destructive Creations for taking time to answer the questions. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in a follow-up and ask a few more their plans for console ports and trying to get around the ESRB. The team is busy right now trying to finish up Hatred for a second quarter release on Steam for PC.