Destructive Creations talks 'Hatred', Greenlight, and morality in videogames / by Benjamin Sawyer

 

Przemysław Szczepaniak, the Business Development Manager of Destructive Creations, agreed to answer some of Nerdybits’ questions regarding their current project Hatred. R. Alex Holton’s questions are normal font, and the italics are his response.

Interview begins here:

I have to admit, you guys are in an interesting position when it comes to your relationship with Steam. Would you be at all willing to give your side of the whole saga? You submitted your game to greenlight, and it was the most popular title on the service. But then its' eligibility was revoked in an effort by Valve to curate the greenlight section.

There is nothing more that you have already heard or read in the press. What happened after we submitted Hatred to Steam, was something that we didn’t really expect - both, the rejection and the way we have been put back on Steam Greenlight (Gabe Newell’s intervention). It was a shock at first time, and then a big euphoria, and a feeling that this is for real. I mean who could even imagine such a scenario ;)?

Valve has been criticized for not curating the titles it allows on its Steam service, most notably allowing games like Air Control and Airport Simulator to operate with complete freedom. Why, in your opinion, was there a sudden shift in Valve's policy toward curation? Was it because of Hatred specifically?

I don’t think it is the cause. Hatred is still under Steam’s review, which means that game is not accepted for distribution and it is not available to play yet. So we haven’t been recommended yet by any curator. I think it’s more because Steam is growing, and more developers are submitting their games. They need to have a control over the content and see which games are worth to be recommended to gamers or for promotion.

One day after Hatred was removed from greenlight, Gabe Newell personally announced it would be re-instated on the service. What was your reaction to this sudden shift in policy?

We were totally surprised, shocked, but positively of course. We didn’t expect such a turnout of the situation. I can’t really describe it better :)

And now that it is back on greenlight, word gets out that the game has received an AO rating by the ESRB, which usually means the game won't be allowed on Steam. We haven't heard anything official from Valve yet, but Hatred remains on greenlight even following ESRB's rating of the game, so we can sort of draw conclusions regarding Valve's stance based on that. However the question remains; why even submit your game to the ESRB?

Steam doesn’t have a direct policy against AO games.  There are adult titles allowed on Steam, though they have a PEGI 18 rating. There are also PEGI 18 games on consoles. Practically there is no difference between AO and PEGI 18 :) It’s really up to Steam’s decision what will happen next.

It's a voluntary process, and many games have released without a rating. Being rated does allow for sale of boxed copies of the game, is that the goal you are pushing towards? Or did you want to get Hatred a console release?

We submitted a game because Hatred is on mouth of everyone. That gave us the position where nobody will say now that we make a game that would be in children's age range. There are many adult games out there for PC and consoles, and it will really depend on publishers and market if will Hatred be available on other platforms. Yes, we would prefer to have M rating, mainly because of lack of sexual content, but AO didn’t worry us at the moment. Firstly, we will see the PC digital distribution results, and then we will plan further.

Currently the game is scheduled for release in Q2 of this year, is that an attainable goal? And when will we have the opportunity to see more of the game than the trailer?

Yes, Q2 2015 is still an attainable release date. We think it would be April/May. Until then we will provide more teasers and more of the gameplay stuff, but not in a form of demo or beta, because that wasn’t planned.

Also, the content of the game (at least what has been released so far) has garnered some criticism for the seemingly 'spree-killing' nature of Hatred, saying it is immoral and shouldn't be allowed on Steam alongside such titles as Lego Marvel Heroes. Is there anything you would like to say in response?

Hatred is no different from any other shooting/violent game. I dare to say that some games are even more cruel and brutal. People are afraid of the context, but those people do not have much experience with gaming. Hatred tells you directly that you will kill. There is no game story that would justify the killing. Killing is always killing, and that’s why we decided not to explain why the Antagonist does that. We are giving gamers some field to think about what could push the Antagonist to do what he does.

It is mostly media and haters that caused so much noise around the title. Those who tell that games are a cause of violence should really stop doing that. This is total absurd. Games are on the market for around 30 years (in a commercial form), and there hasn't been any proof that they cause violence. It’s rather situation in life, real social, psychological problems that push people toward violence and killing. And what about war, politics, religion? They caused the biggest destruction and mass murdering in the mankind history.

Hatred will allow you to destroy everything around you after a hard day in virtual reality, without hurting anyone. It will help you have some fun, and will help unload your aggression virtually.

Thank you much for your time sir, and the quick response. I realize the time difference makes correspondence like this difficult. I hope you have a good day, and the best of luck to you and your team!

Thanks a lot too! Best of luck to you too!

 

Destructive Creations released a gameplay trailer for Hatred on the 29th of January, which can be watched here. (GRAPHIC CONTENT, Viewer discretion advised)

Hatred is currently on Steam Greenlight, and can also be pre-ordered on Destructive Creations' Official Website.

-R. Alex Holton (@Our_Alex)