On Hatred, and Steam’s Sudden Interest in Quality Control

Hatred itself is so transparent in its intent that I’m barely interested in it as an actual videogame. That said, the response to it is fascinating for a number of reasons. At some point, I intend to examine the wacky events revolving around Hatred in a Jimquisition, but since my episodes are locked down with end-of-year content right now, I figured I’d toss something up in the meantime. This is a video discussing Valve’s recent decision to refuse Hatred a place on Steam Greenlight, something that has gaming’s loyalest champions up in arms. Personally, I find it interesting that this is the game Valve’s almost exclusively taking a stand on, when there are titles I find far more offensive – even if my offense is less conventional than the ol’ aversion to violent content.

Yes, Hatred is infantile in its attempts to be shocking, and I ultimately care little whether it sells or not. It’s not Air Control though, and that was on Steam for months.

P-Unit
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P-Unit

Valve put the game back on Steam
The following is the email sent by Gabe Newell
“Hi, Jaroslaw,
Yesterday I heard that we were taking Hatred down from Greenlight. Since I wasn’t up to speed, I asked around internally to find out why we had done that. It turns out that it wasn’t a good decision, and we’ll be putting Hatred back up. My apologies to you and your team. Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers.
Good luck with your game
Gabe”
Still worrying they can just pull games at their own whims and fancies

Polar
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Polar

Hey Jim Sterling. I’m a fan of your stuff. I just watched your latest squirty play of ‘NATIONAL ZOMBIE PARK’ and now I’m curious on how to get into ‘Dungeons and Dragons.’ That and I think it would sound funny to watch/read you play it with your Friends. I had a brief look at ‘Dungeons and Dragons Online’ and found the Artificer class pretty interesting.
Thanks for reading this far.

ZippyDSMlee
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And its back on steam.

Cecil Hoshino
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Cecil Hoshino

Here’s my problem with this whole issue. What Jim said is all well and good, yes, it’s a bit odd that NOW of all times Valve is standing up saying “This shit won’t fly” when Slaughtering Grounds, Air Control, and Guise of the Wolf all got a pass, despite being deliberate cash grabs with conartists and idiots running them. By comparison, Hatred is at least much more polished and playable, so if the shock value alone is the pull, that’s Valve being hypocritical or whatever. But, see, it’s not that simple. If Hatred were just in it to shock our… Read more »

Korolev
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Korolev

This game looks like a perfect view into how a 13-year old loser views the world – “I’m so edgy and dark and no one understands me!”. It’s patently juvenile. I agree with you Jim – why this game? Plenty of other very violent video games are sold on Steam, some not much different to this game. But I know the reason why – it was taken off as a pre-emptive measure. The violence isn’t the problem, the publicity surrounding it, and the tone of the trailers was the problem. Had no one drawn attention to this game in the… Read more »

Brian Seiler
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Brian Seiler

Let me make one thing clear before I criticize Valve for anything – I don’t like Hatred and I would prefer that it didn’t exist. All possible details about the developers aside, the simple fact of the matter is that under the most charitable of all possible interpretations, they’re taking a massive risk on behalf of an entire industry without stopping to consider whether it’s a risk anybody ever wanted or needed to take. They’re playing with the public reputation of video games in general, and, worst of all, they’re doing it poorly, with all of their marketing material so… Read more »

Jim
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Jim

Dear Jim,

Not certain that this is the correct place, yet certain it is the correct season, I want to send you something for Christmas. Sadly, kinda pov right now, so all I could find was this *hug*

Merry Thingamy,
Jim

Siphillis
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Siphillis

There’s some stuff that you might wanna mention about Hatred’s devs. On Destructive Creation’s website, Jakub Stychno, the gameplay designer, is seen wearing a shirt that depicts a contoversial anti-communist military group. This group (Żołnierze wyklęci), is a symbol of polish nationalism. The CEO of Destructive Creations, Jarosław Zieliński, is connected to the Polish Defense League by way of Facebook. Polish Defense League is pretty much a white supremacist group, pretty similar to the Australian Defense League. Cyprian Listowski is Destructive Creation’s level designer, and a tattoo artist. His designs include an adaptation of The Black Sun, a symbol used… Read more »

Crunty
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Crunty

Sure it’s Valve’s prerogative not to sell Hatred but by not pruning out the broken, crap games offensively sold for $20 a pop they’re alienating more of the community than those saved by not selling one game.

ZippyDSMlee
Guest

I care by not caring about what the content is boring to me(GTA,COD,ect) ,is short on content or how bad the mechanics are. This looks like a dumb version of Hunter:The reckoning 0-o

Rinddon
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Rinddon

I actually had a bit of discussion of this on the YouTube comments. But basically there’s no way air control could end up on fox news and then having them demanding Valve’s head for it. (anti games people really have no idea where to point their guns)
I can’t really get to mad at valve for deciding it’s not worth the hassle and putting their foot down early on. Even if there are games arguably more worthy of the almighty banhammer.

Sorta Semipro
Guest

I did a talk up on this, this morning, on my own channel. We have some what the same opinions in several points that you put forward. I’m a little more leaning towards pointing a finger at where the actual impetus for Valve’s decision came from, but largely I feel there is a great question about what kind of games Valve would publish as Valve…given whats on Steam, if they won’t publish Hatred through Greenlight. And while I agree its not censorship….denying a small indy dev house that has put more effort into their random murder simulator than half the… Read more »

Jenny8675309
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Jenny8675309

I can sympathize with Valve in that Steam is their store and they should be able to decide what gets sold there. If folks don’t like it, there are plenty of other places to digitally download games. Censorship would be to blanket suppress content that is found objectionable and there is plenty of more objectionable content on Steam already (Harvester, Postal, etc.) For me, what separates Hatred from other similar games, is that there is a eerie seriousness to the subject matter that I found unsettling. It makes you wonder what the developers motives and views are and what they… Read more »

Snowskeeper
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Snowskeeper

I think there’s a difference between selling this and Air Control. Air Control was just a shitty game; this is an incredibly, blatantly offensive game, and however you feel about freedom of speech, Valve isn’t obligated to host something this horrible if they don’t want to.

(I’m sorry; I couldn’t refrain from calling a “shoot massive amounts of innocent people” game ‘horrible.’)

I believe they should have dealt with Air Control as well, but while the issues are perhaps comparable, they aren’t identical.

Craig
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Craig "The Raccoon "

Hope my game gets greenlit , i think ill make a game where you roll logs around the forest, find a log and just roll it around if you do it 10 hours you get a achievement log roller and a trading card,,, Needs a catch though you do it as a “Zombie Ninja” I can call it Zombie Ninja log roller…… Yeah !!! charge $15.00 bucks and move to Tahiti .
Winner !!!!

Collette
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Collette

On this, basically, I understand why they did and they’d done stuff like this before. Hell, even in the FAQ for Greenlight there’s a rule against “offensive material”, so it totally makes sense to me. It’s just more notable this time before it’s more a “high profile” game. I’m not really sure if I’d personally pull it if I was in that situation, though. At first I thought Jim was missing the point for a second, but I think it’s more like he doesn’t care and he’d just rather talk about Steam having no quality control, which is all fine… Read more »

Nobody's Fanboy
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Nobody's Fanboy

Food for thought, Jim: Looks like Valve isn’t been so much concerned with quality of product, as it is subject matter, the ‘ok, this is going too far even for us’…and they’ve now got a mother of a mess on their hands because more than just you are going to be asking the same ‘So you’re saying you’d put your name on Air Control?’ question. Part of me does wonder if it would’ve been allowed to go up if ‘the internets’ didn’t pick that one specifically to get up in arms about. No matter what though, hopefully this little event… Read more »

KB
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KB

I would actually watch the YouTube playlist of his reviews of all the awful games Jim mentions in the video. Because yes, I do want to to go watch some of the awfulness I glimpsed. (I have to wonder how many of those are still on Steam?!) This only just happened, but I’m waiting for journalists to start pondering Hatred next to the legal action/hearings on videogame violence years ago. I think any company thinking about selling Hatred has to immediately answer “do I really want to be asked to justify this game the next time we have a shooting… Read more »

Greg
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Greg

Valve’s also taken a stand on visual novels, demanding that the creators cut out what they think is excessive sexuality (Loren the Amazon Princess, Cho Dengeki Stryker, If My Heart Had Wings, although that might have been a publisher decision, and I think a few others). I think it’s silly and unfortunate (although Loren was frankly improved by a little restraint), but I recognize it as their right, just like my local bookstore and local video rental (yes, I still have a local video rental) don’t choose to carry pornography. Like Jim, though, I think it suggests some unfortunate priorities.… Read more »

BAH!
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BAH!

I’m with Jim in his “not being offended by Hatred as much as other, clearly broken, scam-job games,” but also: Hatred doesn’t offend me nearly as much as the way the creators have presented and “defended” it does. Seriously, has anyone else read their press releases and interviews? It’s insulting. And in the end, it is absolutely Valve’s prerogative to choose which games to host and which to reject, but they’ll look pretty bad with this kind exceedingly selective action- especially if they can’t come up with a better reason. I said it about Hatred’s devs, and I’l say it… Read more »

eL
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eL

Since I’m presently working I haven’t had an opportunity to do any real research on this, so I’m hoping someone can enlighten to me how this is any different than Just Cause. It’s my understanding that just cause is a game entirely involved with overturning governments, a practice usually called terrorism, is the problem the murder of innocents – Kratos does this all the time – or is it the murder of policemen – a common sandbox experience?

Grace_Omega
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I get the feeling it was the developer’s obvious courting of controversy that made Valve drop Hatred- they didn’t want their names associated with a manufactured controversy.

I agree with Jim though, Valve needs better quality control.

Darth Hybris
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Darth Hybris

Well, that was pretty shallow, but I guess it was meant to be just a teaser for a future episode anyway…

This is actually the first time I’ve heard of Hatred though. How come it is so violent that it can garner controversy in a world with GTAs, and Spunkle-gargle-wee-wee-shooters, and Mortal Kombat, and stuff?!
Someone care to enlighten me?

Anton
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Anton

I’m conflicted between my support for “free expression” and my extreme distaste for the cheap way Hatred tries to capitalize on a shocking subject. On the one hand, I can’t oppose the existence of this game if I support the existence of GTA. Because, sensationalist context aside, what shocking act can you commit in Hatred that you couldn’t do in a GTA game? Does GTA get a pass because it’s “satire”, or because it’s been around long enough to become part of our established culture? As someone who’s been supporting and playing violent shooters for years (though I actually don’t… Read more »

Conor Devlin
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Conor Devlin

Valve have dug themselves a bit of a hole with this incident, I’m not too keen to see what ends up happening.

Btw, is that DW music in the background? It’s rad.