Please note these questions were sent before we had actually played the game or seen it in action. Read part one of our chat with Destructive Creations here.
Q: Did the criticism that Hatred’s trailers received surprise you or people at your studio?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: Not really, we knew it will happen. The theme and the gameplay are very honest in the means of showing the violence – their aim was to shock, and make some fuzz in the media.
Q: The sadistic violence in Hatred isn’t something we usually see in games, and violence in other games is usually justified as “they are the bad guys” rather than “you just want to kill everyone”. That violence is also usually directed at enemies rather than civilians. With that in mind, do you understand why some people might be upset with the game’s content?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: Violence, yes – but sadism? No, the game is not sadistic. Sadism is connected with molesting, torture, and it comes from sexual disorders. There isn’t anything like that in Hatred – just a pure elimination of targets without tormenting them. We know why people may feel upset, but we are aware of what we did. This game aims is to be a horror, shocking. In the real world you may see many psychopaths who just want to see the world burn, so it isn’t always justified like many people think.
Violence – justified or not – is always violence, no matter how you show it. Not in many games you can play a bad guy, so why shouldn't we try it and see how it looks on the other side of a digital curtain? This is a tactical shooter with a very dynamic gameplay. Taking the game too seriously (like many people do) isn’t something we aimed for. This is supposed to be a game, fun, not a factor that has an impact on our real lives, and this is the best way you should approach Hatred.
Q: People calling for censorship (or even just classification) of video games usually say that games are different from movies because the player is controlling the action and therefore games affect the player more. Do you think there is any merit to this argument? Should movies and games be treated differently when it comes to classification?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: Of course I have an argument – two, even! A healthy mind will not be affected by a movie or virtual violence. A disordered person doesn't really need such a trigger to commit a crime. The same thing concerns violence in virtual worlds. We do not have any straight proof that it happens they way many people or 'experts' describe it. How can you explain violence, murders, and wars that are happening in our history since the start of human existence? Were they also caused in the past by games or movies?
Movies and games are two different media, and I wouldn't compare them with regards to violence. There is one difference though – games are more frequently attacked because of violence, because those who criticise games usually don't have lot in common with gaming.
Q: Do you think age classifications exist at all? Or do you think anyone of any age should be allowed to play a game like Hatred?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: We have organisations that take care of that, and I can understand that they review games to fit them for proper age groups. It is a normal thing that you wouldn't allow your nine-year-old son to play an R18 game. The problem is rather within parents and environment that in many cases don’t care about what type of entertainment their kids have access to. I’m not saying that every case is the same.
The issue with violence and bad behavior does not lie with games, but in the way kids are raised. The biggest impact on our behavior comes from everyday events – from the way our surrounding treats us. If you are raised in a violent society, then most likely you will become the same.
Q: You mentioned that you are against censorship and limiting freedom of creativity. Do you think your stance is partly due to the extreme censorship that took place in the Polish People's Republic under communism?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: Interesting argument, but we never thought about it this way. Polish artists, politicians, and activists suffered a lot during communism, but that’s not the point of our statement. This happened in a different era. Everyone who creates something has a full right to show his work to everyone who is interested, and nobody has a right to stop that.
Q: How do you want people to feel after they play Hatred?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: Our game is created for pure gaming pleasure, just like old school games where you were thrown into action and nobody led you by the hand (as it happens in games nowadays). It’s a shooter, so the dynamics and destruction should satisfy gamers, and it should be a great stress reliever with some emotional reactions to what happens during the fight.
Q: For some people, violent games are stress relief. Do you think that will be the case here?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: Yes, exactly, that is one of the main points of the fun you get in Hatred.
Q: Is there anything you think shouldn’t be in games? Or should absolutely anything be allowed?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: You need to keep a balance of a good taste, so not everything should be put in the game. I wouldn't like to forbid all the ideas that shows up in your head, but as a developer you should keep in mind that game should be fun, it should not be a tasteless pile of random pointless pieces. You need to keep a good balance when you mix the ingredients.
Q: Who do you think will buy Hatred?
Przemysław Szczepaniak: Fans of old-school gaming, fans of twin-stick shooters, and those who are curious about the game.