Hatred - a title that has been surrounded by controversy since it was first announced (and not just for its content - there were also swiftly-denied accusations that developer Destructive Creations had links to "anti-Islamist groups") - will arrive on June 1st.
In Hatred, players become a sociopath, who sets out on a "genocide crusade" to kill, well, everyone. In short, it's a mass-murder simulation, clearly inspired by far too many real-world shootings.
When it appeared on Steam Greenlight, the game was removed due to its content. However, following an almost immediate outcry, Valve boss Gabe Newell (who shall henceforth be known as "Billy Backtrack") intervened, reinstating the game and issuing a public apology.
Now a new trailer for Hatred has been revealed, which will do little to quell those who feel that such overtly provocative and taste-befouling games should not exist.
Do you want to know what I felt?
And I'm incredibly disappointed in myself as a result... but not for the reasons you might think.
TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
Recently, I wrote a piece for a Grand Theft Auto bookazine thing from Future Publishing. In that article, I mentioned how I'd finally come to terms with the misogyny and violence in Grand Theft Auto V, after grappling with it for months.
More specifically, I'd come to terms with the fact that - despite there being a part of me who didn't feel I should enjoy all those things - there was another part of me that did. What was the point in deliberately not playing the game, when - on some level - it was exactly what I wanted to play?
As I mentioned wankily in my GTA piece, it was the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who first discussed all of us having a "shadow aspect" - basically, the unconscious part of ourselves that our ego doesn't acknowledge, because it contains all the bits we don't like about ourselves. In short: the ability to cheat, to lie, to hurt others, to enjoy Grand Theft Auto V... It's only in recognising it as part of ourselves - which must be a continuous process throughout any individual's life - that we are able to exert any sort of control over it. Otherwise - gasp! - it controls us.
All humans have a tendency to act in contradictory, hypocritical ways - going against our personal values, because life inevitably drives us into a corner and we have to fight to get out. The stress when that happens is called Cognitive Dissonance, and to lessen that stress we'll try to justify our actions or dilute them (such as, say, when we all pile on Peter Molyneux on Twitter for sheer sport, but try to pass it off as entirely justified, because he deserved it due to "reasons" - still, he's back now, so perhaps he enjoys it ).
It was that Cognitive Dissonance I was experiencing when I played Grand Theft Auto V; Well... I don't hate women and I support equality... yet I'm enjoying a game where women appear to be reduced to the status of bimbos, harridans or sex objects.
It was only when I accepted the contradiction that I could finally enjoy the game, instead of scowling so hard while playing it that I burst a blood vessel in my eye. I still have the same issues with GTAV, but now I just shrug at them. Or try to anyway. It's much easier.
When I look at the Hatred trailer, I have a brand new struggle. Certainly I don't really want to get behind something that advocates mass slaughter as a form of entertainment... but at least there's an honesty about Hatred. Pick any game, and you'll probably find just as much death and destruction - albeit hiding behind some sort of character or story justification, or the sandbox antics of the player.
But there's something more about Hatred that I've struggled with that has nothing to do with its Adults-Only content - it just doesn't look particularly sophisticated. I mean, I'm actually surprised by how solid the visuals seem, but - let's face it - we're not going to get a game that's trying to make any sort of deeper point, beyond trying to entertain the player by allowing them to go on a rampage of killing. And the 14 year-old in me is well happy with that.
But - uh-oh! - here it comes...
More than the content, more than the context-less violences - it's that which I find myself wrestling with: surely my palette is more refined? Surely, I seek out experiences that speak to me on a more profound level, and everything else is just popcorn fodder? I'm not some 14 year-old kid who likes shooting people: I'm an intellectual giant.
But y'know... I've been here before, and I can't be arsed this time. I could try and debate whether a game like Hatred should exist, and whether its existence could be damaging or offensive, but I've actually reached a point where I don't care. It's boring, and I don't have the energy.
As I'm getting older, I'm becoming more accepting of my own tastes, more accepting of that shadow side, that hypocrisy, that contradiction that's in me - because it's in all of us. Newsflash: you're every bit as shit as I am.
I don't want to hide behind, y'know, what I think will make me appear more intellectual, or more quirky, or more moral than the next person. I spend my entire job using my brain - when I get to the end of the day, I want to switch off.
Likewise my taste in movies; some of the more fêted films in the past year I actually cannot bear. I got 40 minutes into Birdman and had to stop - the skittish drumming and editing was giving me anxiety. Whiplash was alright, but nowhere near as profound and clever as the Academy would have us believe (oh, but it's got jazz in it - which obviously automatically makes it cerebral and meaningful).
Give me Avengers 2 any day. Give me GTA V.
And - yeah - give me Hatred. Probably. I dunno. Typing that made my stomach do a somersault and tighten like a noose, so maybe I've got a way to go yet...