Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Too Much Hatred for Steam?

First a couple of clarifications. I saw the first trailer of Hatred, and based upon it I decided the game is not my cup of tea. I saw the "gameplay" videos of Dear Esther and came to conclusion that visual novel is a more correct term for it than calling it a video game. You might call it elitist, but I actually expect certain level of gameplay out of a game, not just walking around doing nothing. But then again, to each his own, and even that is on Steam.

Now some of you might want to argue that Dear Esther in comparison to Hatred is nowhere near as violent and homicidal. You would be right. But then again, a lot of other games on Steam are far more both violent and homicidal than Dear Esther, and are still on sale on Steam. Many games on Steam are already more gory, brutal, and horrific than Hatred. We cannot really judge what kind of game Hatred really is, because it is not out yet, because it doesn't seem to have any platform where it can be sold, and because many of will not even give it a chance. Two of the three facts require no arguing, while one of those three is rather weak reasoning appealing to our morality.

What do we know of the game from the trailer? Nothing. It's protagonist is a bitter sociopath killing left and right in most gruesome manners imaginable. As far as video games go that is more a rule than exception. In this description fit the protagonist in Saint's Row, War from Darksiders, protagonist from Far Cry, and many more. But don't tell me this is shocking all of a sudden. How can it be, that you can watch television shows and films with just as much violence and gruesome crimes, but when it comes to games some people decide to draw the line for everyone in order to stay morally "pure"?

Are we still in the past where people believe games make you violent, or homicidal? Was it really so naive of me to expect of people to abandon this myth already in this day and age? You do realise that just because a new game came out you are not obliged to go and play it?

While we could discuss about what is and what is not art, I do not see any reason why anyone should not allow the developers to sell their game to their audience. Of course their game will not be for children, that was obvious from the get-go. It is obviously made for adults. And people should be the one to decide if they want the game or not. There are plenty of games that I will never play just because they are not after my taste. There are some that I refuse to play because of my personal believes. One such game is GTA4. I found out who and what is the protagonist, and I decided I will pass on the game. What I did not do, is try to impose my will on everyone else, just because the protagonist does not sit well with me. I did not go and judge the people that decided to play that game. Because I have no right, everyone makes their own choices, and as long their own choices do not harm others, then those choice are nothing you should or could have any say in.

Maybe some of you would like to argue that in other games protagonists have reasons to kill people. Well, in that case, Hatred's protagonist has reasons as well. They might not seem valid to you, but they are certainly valid to him. I mean, he is killing because of those reasons. Even if he does not have any special reason, that is a reason unto itself. There is nothing about Hatred that was not already done in video games before, so it does surprise me there is such uproar about a game that seems to be rather boorish and full of cliches.

I will agree that the developers are at fault here as well. Their aim must have been to create controversy in order to get some free marketing by media. And since they seem to believe there is no such thing as bad publicity they are certainly to blame. Now let me present you how this would go if people did not decide to make a fuss about nothing.

There are two possible scenarios. The first on being that the game is mediocre at best, broken at worst. People who bought it, would criticise it, decide it is worthless garbage, and Hatred would be forgotten in a week, as one of the worst games. Just like that game that looked like they want to copy Sons of Anarchy that I cannot recall the name of. (you see what I did there)

The second scenario would be that the game ends up being called a masterpiece, one of the best in the last decade, the Lolita of video games. Critics and public agree that through its excessive use of violence and a protagonist so full of hate, it brings the player a catharsis and new enlightenment on the way of being a better person.

Unfortunately it does not seem we will be able to decide what the game will turn out to be. Because for one, Steam already decided that even Greenlight is not an option for this particular game. And I once again would like to know what are the conditions for Steam to sell a game or software in its store or not. I would really like to see this list, but I am afraid this would only lead into more games being removed from Steam than other way around.

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