A trailer for a new ultra-violent video game has sent the moral compass of the game industry into a spin – and gained plenty of attention for developer Destructive Creations.
Hatred is a Polish-made title that sees players take control of a character emerging from a monochrome coloured basement armed with rifles and knives and then proceeding to slaughter civilians and police officers.
It's made with Unreal Engine, the logo for which was at one stage used in the trailer. It has now been removed, however.
"Epic Games isn't involved in this project," Epic told Polygon. "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."
Jaros?aw Zieli?ski, the creative director of Destructive, which comprises mainly of developers formally employed by Painkiller: Hell and Damnation creators The Farm 51, added that: "Epic Games has all the legal rights to issue such a request.
"They've contacted me in a friendly manner and asked for the logo removal. Following their request I've removed it from the YouTube version and will remove it from the press version of our trailer ASAP so everyone is happy.”
Zieli?ski claimed that former versions of Unreal's EULA required the inclusion of its logo for games that used the engine.
In a separate piece on Eurogamer Zieli?ski argued that the game's content has not crossed any sort of moral line.
I don't think the content has gone too far,” he said. It's just shooting virtual characters and if anybody has a problem with distinguishing reality from a game, he should turn off his computer and go for a long walk. We do what you can find in so many titles, we just don't want justify it. If someone doesn't like the game and feels disgusted with its content, he doesn't have to play it – plain and simple. It's definitely not game for everyone."
Which is of course fundamentally correct. The slaughtering of police and innocents is certainly not a new theme in gaming. Indeed, such activities will have been the cornerstone of many people's experience of the world's most successful title, Grand Theft Auto V.
What sets Hatred apart from GTA V, Uncharted, PayDay, Saints Row, Tomb Raider, Battlefield, Far Cry and literally countless other titles however is tone. Hatred is specifically grim and specifically violent and surpasses even the likes of Manhunt in terms of raw, manufactured brutality.
Furthermore, it's selling itself against these themes.
Forbes concludes its piece on the game with the line: Hatred has the right to exist, but it shouldn't, and its gory debut and eventual release will only do nothing but give video games an unnecessary black eye.”
Also of note is the observation from a Eurogamer contributor that Zieli?ski has on Facebook ‘Liked' the Polish Defence League and that a team photo on the game's website shows one member wearing a right-wing, anti-communist ?o?nierze Wykl?ci t-shirt.
We've embedded the trailer below but please be advised, it contains very graphic violence and potentially disturbing content: