‘Hatred’ Receives AO Rating From The ESRB

Obtaining a copy of the Indie title Hatred may become a difficult task for US and Canadian gamers, as the ESRB has given the controversial game a rare “AO- Adults Only” rating.

Hatred has been the topic of ethical debate and controversy ever since the release of its debut teaser trailer. Players take hold of a troubled protagonist who embarks on a rage-driven murder-spree through several public environments. Destructive Creations has made several attempts to defend their game, stating that video games are simply another form of artistic expression and entertainment based within a false reality. Despite their efforts, Hatred continues to come under fire, and was even temporarily pulled from Steam Greenlight.

According to a Destructive Creations member with the screen-name”DC_SatanicBlood”, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) recently contacted the studio to inform them that Hatred will currently receive an AO- Adults Only rating. While the ESRB database has not been updated to reflect this, DC_SatanicBlood states on the official forums (visible by registration only) that Hatred is the “second game in history” to receive an AO rating based strictly on violence and language. Destructive Creations was told that the AO decision was made primarily due to “the context” of the game’s violence; the protagonist is shown brutally murdering unarmed citizens in the teaser trailer. While DC_SatanicBlood wishes that Hatred could receive the M- Mature rating, as the AO rating will cause “problems” when porting the game to consoles, the developer feels that censoring the game would be an injustice to the fans, who “would be disappointed with it”:

“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. Even if this violence isn’t really that bad and this harsh language is not overused. 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.

I would prefer to get a standard M+ rating, because with AO we will have problems to get to consoles in the future, but on the other hand I think you guys (our fans) would be disappointed with it.”

AO titles are very, very rarely sold through physical and digital retailers, as their content often depicts severely graphic violence, “full” sexual content and nudity, gambling, and/or severe language. Other AO titles include Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (post-“Hot Coffee”), Indigo Prophecy: Director’s Cut, Peak Entertainment Casinos, Seduce Me, Manhunt 2, and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude – Uncut and Uncensored.

Hatred is expected to release for PC in Q2 2015.

Sources: Destructive Creations, ESRB
Image courtesy of Destructive Creations

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