HATRED BECOMES FIRST STEAM GAME RATED ADULTS ONLY
Hatred has become the second game in history to be given an Adults-Only rating in the US and Canada by the ESRB.
The game had a turbulent experience on Steam Greenlight, where it was removed by Valve after the company took issue with the game’s description. A few days later, it was returned to Greenlight by Gabe Newell himself. It was quickly greenlit and is set to be released later this year.
Now Hatred faces a new challenge. The Adults-Only rating will make selling copies difficult in North America. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony all refuse to allow any AO titles, which means the game will not see a console release. Major retailers like Walmart also refuse to stock AO games. Until now, Valve has followed their lead and kept AO titles off Steam, but they seem to have made an exception for Hatred.
On the game’s forum, one of the developers expressed surprise that the game had been rated so harshly. It’s the only game to receive an AO rating just for violence. The only other game with an AO rating in North America is Manhunt 2, which is the reason Steam only stocks its prequel. Another game, Thrill Kill, was set to be given an AO rating, but when EA bought the game’s publisher they cancelled its release because they deemed the content unacceptable.
Of course, this rating is based on Hatred’s trailer. The game itself is not finished and can’t even be preordered yet. Dirk Bosmans is the communications manager for PEGI, the European games’ rating authority. In an interview with PCGames he said the game hadn’t yet been given a rating in Europe because there’s no point rating something based only on its trailer. “What we’re looking at is an advert and therefore could be very misleading as to what we will experience in the game,” he said. “Destructive Creations were aiming for shock and indignation and it was a marketing ploy that worked well.”
Bosmans said PEGI couldn’t rate the game based on the trailer, and that even if they had a copy of the game and it turned out to be just as gruesome as the trailer suggests, they still don’t have the authority to ban it.
PEGI’s refusal to rate a game based only on its trailer seems reasonable, and perhaps is an example the ESRB should follow. However, there is a sort of notoriety the game can capitalize on from being the second in history to receive an AO rating.
Still on the fence about Hatred? Check out Tom Killalea’s article on why you should stay away.