Hatred, the video game that sees players mass-murdering civilians, has been given the Adults Only rating in the US by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
A dev for Destructive Creations responded on the game forums with the following message: “Well, I’m not quite convinced why Hatred got AO rating while it lacks any sexual content, but it’s still some kind of achievement to have the second game in history getting AO rating for violence and harsh language only”
The dev continued: “Even if this violence isn’t really that bad and this harsh language is not overused.”
The first game to receive the rating for violence and harsh language alone was Thrill Kill, an unreleased 1998 PlayStation fighting title, as noted by Eurogamer.
It was criticised for its violent moves – examples of which were named as ‘Bitch Slap’ and ‘Swallow This’ – as well as fetishistic costumes and acts, and limb dismemberment.
Another game, Peak Entertainment Casinos, also landed on the list sans any sexual content, but was cited as containing ‘gambling’, hence the AO rating.
The dev added: “The guy from ESRB (by the way – very nice, polite and cooperative one) told me it’s all about ‘the context’ which people they’re testing gameplay video on will see.”
Getting Adults Only certification takes a big bite out of studio revenue, as it means far less players are allowed to access it. It’s similar to how movies being rated 18 can dramatically affect box office figures.
Getting an Adults Only rating takes a big bite out of studio revenue, because the potential user-base for the title is significantly reduced. Box office takings see a similar slump when movies are given Rated-18 certification.
Hatred launched onto Steam Greenlight back on December 15, but was subsequently pulled by Valve, apparently in response to the game’s gruesome subject matter.
Just two days later, however, Valve’s co-founder Gabe Newell reinstated the title on Steam, calling it a mistake.
“Yesterday I heard that we were taking Hatred down from Greenlight,” explained Newell. “Since I wasn’t up to speed, I asked around internally to find out why we had done that.”
“It turns out 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.”
Hatred is scheduled for full release on Microsoft Windows in Q2 this year.