Hate is a word that is bouncing around gaming far too much, from the early days when the word gamer was an insult in itself, to today where everyone appears to be hating everyone else for one reason or another. It could be online bullying via chat, calling the bomb squad on people you don’t like, or, of course, the murky waters of #gamergate. What the game space really didn’t need was more hate, however today this is what we got.
Hatred is a thinly-veiled piece of self-defined propaganda promoting and glorifying white supremacy and violent racism. In the game’s reveal trailer below (we do not recommend you watch it – it’s pretty horrible), the rising body count is comprised of primarily non-Caucasian NPCs.
We all know about rape games. Politicians love to talk about them every time they are trying to score points at the expense of the millions of gamers out there. Yes, they exist. At the same time though, these games are repulsive, disgusting and should never see the light of day. This game is similarly awful.
Hatred is set in New York state “with a disturbing atmosphere of mass killing” – but what might be more disturbing is the development team behind the project, a group of right-wing Islamophobes from Poland. The game is the first “murder simulator” I have seen – just like the naysayers predicted. A pissed off guy, fed up with the world, decides to go out and kill everyone. Does this sound familiar? It should, it is the story line behind every mass murder that has ever happened. Do we need this in a game? Hell no. In fact anyone who even comes up with the premise needs to be slapped around until the last shred of the idea is so far removed that the next game he creates is a My Little Something title for kids instead.
Ultraviolent games are nothing new, but new indie game Hatred has a specific target in mind. The development team behind the project are reportedly members of white supremacist neo-Nazi hate groups (or at least sympathisers with these groups and their ideals), so it’s no surprise it’s the non-Caucasians in Hatred who seem faced with the most explicit deaths.
A picture of Destructive Creations shows the ten men behind the game. One is wearing a shirt advertising a heavy metal band (now identified as Black Witchery). One wears a Dying Light t-shirt (a game from another Polish developer, who we’re sure is horrified to be associated with this one). A third, front and centre in the picture, wears a shirt supporting the Żołnierze wyklęci (Cursed soldiers, a historical anti-communist military group remebered as heroes but also heralded by right-wing activists). This is Jakub Stychno, who is also a supporter of the Obóz Narodowo Radykalny, Poland’s extreme right, nationalist, anti-communist National Radical Camp.
The man in the heavy metal shirt is Jarosław Zieliński, “CEO and Animator” of the group. His (formerly) public Facebook page proudly shows that he is a supporter of the nationalist, anti-Muslim hate group Polska Liga Obrony (Polish Defence League) – and these are the ideals and sentiments he carries through into the game.
Other connections to hate groups also evident – FX artist Marcin Kaźmierczak is also a supporter of homophobic, racist, unpleasant Facebook pages, as well as a supporter of the nationalistic, homophobic youth organisation Młodzież Wszechpolska (All-Polish Youth).
After all that, it’s no surprise that companies are rushing to distance themselves from the project. Epic Games has already asked Destructive Creations to remove the Unreal Engine logo from the game’s debut trailer.
A statement from Epic reads:
Epic Games isn’t involved in this project. Unreal Engine 4 is available to the general public for use ‘for any lawful purpose,’ and we explicitly don’t exert any sort of creative control or censorship over projects. However, the video is using the trademarked Unreal Engine 4 logo without permission from Epic, and we’ve asked for the removal of our logo from all marketing associated with this product.
Zieliński explains that the logo’s inclusion was actually an oversight on his part:
I worked on titles and trailers in the past with the Unreal engine license, that is different from the current EULA. Putting Unreal logo at the beginning of our trailer was an obvious choice for me, as the engine is an amazing tool and in fact I considered it mandatory. So I guess I was simply wrong thinking it’s a must.
This is Destructive Creations‘ first game, but most of the developers previously worked together at The Farm 51 (Painkiller: Hell and Damnation and NecroVisioN), before deciding to create Hatred, a game they describe as “something different, something that could give the player a pure gaming pleasure”.
APOLOGY: An earlier version of this post mistakenly referred to the Żołnierze wyklęci (Cursed soldiers) as a neo-Nazi group. We have since learned more about the Cursed soldiers and amended the post. We offer sincere apologies to anyone we may have offended by this comparison.
Polska Liga Obrony and Młodzież Wszechpolska are both right-wing nationalist groups, with Obóz Narodowo Radykalny identified by the European Human Rights Association as perpetrating hate speech.