Hatred - Exclusive interview: "Most games are about killing, we're just telling it straight"
Last Thursday, the independent Polish developer Destructive Creations announced their game Hatred, an isometric shooter, in which the player is supposed to shot as many civilians as possible. We contacted the developers and spoke with them about their controversal project.Hatred - Trailer
The following interview was held via e-mail. A German translation can be found here.
gamona: Were you surprised by the harsh reactions triggered by your trailer?
Jarosław Zieliński: No, we were expecting this. But we didn't expect such scale of it and how famous our project will become.
- Schon gesehen?
gamona: Was there any specific moment or a specific event that preceded your decision to create Hatred ?
Jarosław Zieliński: Well, there was no particular moment. I always wanted to make a spiritual successor of the first Postal game. Many years have passed and then the perfect moment arrived. I gathered the team and funds and there we go. Anyway - it's just one of some projects I've had in mind, but the only one we can afford right now.
gamona: A lot of games out there allow their players to randomly kill people, but those aren't nearly criticized as much as Hatred. Do you have any explanation for that? Is there any difference between games like Grand Theft Auto and Hatred?
Jarosław Zieliński: In Hatred we don't justify the players deeds in any way. This is the main gameplay feature – killing. We are not trying to mask it by any "higher values" at all. Killing is always evil, therefore we decided to make an evil game about killing. By the way - in GTA you always play a greedy criminal who kills to get money. I still prefer the honest way of Hatred's main character - he kills because of his hate.
gamona: A lot of gamers are worried, that Hatred might be exactly the kind of game, that gives the mainstream press the fuel to brand all gamers as violence loving, rough and aggressive people. Do you understand those concerns?HatredErschienen für PC kaufen: Jetzt kaufen:
Jarosław Zieliński: No, they're simply exaggerating. Let's face it - most games are about killing, we're just telling it straight. There is also no simple, plain evidence that games are pushing people to go on a killing spree. Such controversy as ours happened before and will happen again. And we gamers and developers are still standing here, aren't we?
gamona: Why did you chose a isometric view for the camera in the game? Why not develop a first person shooter or something similar?
Jarosław Zieliński: Everyone in our team was developing FPS for a while now. We're sick of the genre, really tired of making it. Isometric view is something new for us, new problems and new challenges (more than we thought) and finally - it's a spiritual successor to Postal 1 as I mentioned before and with this kind of view it's even more obvious.
gamona: What do you think about the contradictory reactions your game triggered among people? Is Hatred just a matter of taste or do some people just don't get your point?
Jarosław Zieliński: It is a matter of taste. Some people don't get it, so they want to decry our product because of it's theme. But there's still many people who want to play this and we're not worried about future sales to be honest. I hope we're right.
gamona: Did you make certain enquiries about mass shootings, like watching actual footage of rampages?
Jarosław Zieliński: No. It's not some kind of simulator, it's an arcade game, for Satan's sake. I would rather mention movies like Rampage or Natural Born Killers. You have to know that mass shootings aren't a problem in our country, so we're not especially touchy about them.
gamona: What would you say to someone who lost a loved one in a mass shooting and feels hurt by your game, who can't understand how anyone can develop a game where the player is supposed to shoot as many innocent people as possible?
Jarosław Zieliński: Innocent virtual people. That's the main point. Nobody get's harmed by our game. Anyway - war is a terrible experience for all soldiers out there, what would you say to them while playing Battlefield? But the difference is that soldiers are tough guys, not some moaning pussies, so they don't complain about their experiences being reference for virtual entertainment. Back to the beginning of your question: I'm really sorry for anyone who has lost beloved ones, but it doesn't have anything to do with our game.
gamona: What does Hatred play like? Are there missions to keep the player going, is he going to be rewarded for certain actions?
Jarosław Zieliński: There are seven opened levels with some objectives and side-objectives, connected by the main plot.
gamona: You're saying on your page that Hatred is “just a game” but is it really possible to see the gameplay and plot/setting as two separated things? Doesn't a game necessarily consists of its different parts which make it a whole?
Jarosław Zieliński: But it's still a game. Setting and plot are just an artistic envelope of the actual gameplay, which is the most important thing here.
gamona: Wouldn't it be easier to avoid the rage your facing now, by choosing a different setting for your game? You could have easily chosen to kill zombies instead of innocent people or to use a different art style which would make Hatred less realistic.
Jarosław Zieliński: And then nobody would hear about Hatred. We're too small to fund a huge marketing campaign, so the controversy was one of our tools here. Anyway - did you see zombies running away from player? No and that's what makes Hatred's gameplay quite special - you hunt down virtual victims for the most time. You are the hunter, you are "the one who knocks" the door, as Walter White would say.
gamona: Were you influenced by similar movies like God Bless America or Falling Down?
Jarosław Zieliński: ...and Rampage and Natural Born Killers. Of course! Great movies and all respects for their creators.
gamona: Are players supposed to reflect on their actions?
Jarosław Zieliński: We hope they will but if someone will treat this game as just simple "after work" entertainment - it's great too.
gamona: For now we have no clue, why the antagonist is going on a killing spree. Can we hope for a deeper explanation in the final game? Is he going to have a back-story?
Jarosław Zieliński: No, I don't want that. I want to keep him as a mysterious psychopath. We don't want to justify his deeds, we don't want people to understand him, nor sympathize. He's a lifeless weapon of mass destruction. Telling his past would make him too human.
gamona: Your trailer hit the internet just a few days after Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel a speech because of a mass shooting threat. Is this just a coincidence or have you brought forward your announcement?
Jarosław Zieliński: We've had no idea about this. We don't follow all the news from the western world, while there is a war right outside our border, you know.