Usually, when we write a story about a video game getting an unexpected ESRB rating, it’s about a previously tamer series getting an M-rating (as was the case with Batman: Arkham Knight). This time, though, we’re going the other direction, as the traditionally M-rated Halo series has snagged a T-rating for its next major entry.
Here’s the ESRB description for Halo 5: Guardians…
“This is a first-person shooter in which players assume the role of a super soldier (Locke) searching for a missing character. Players use pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, and futuristic weapons to kill alien and human enemies in frenetic combat. Battles are highlighted by realistic gunfire, explosions, and occasional blood-splatter effects. Characters can also use “assassinations” to kill characters by snapping their necks, or by stabbing them with bladed weapons. The word “a*s” appears in the dialogue, as well as occasional taunts/insults (e.g., “I have copulated…with your genetic progenitors!”; ‘Your father was a filthy colo and your mother was a hole in the wall!’).”
That sounds pretty typical for a Halo game, so it isn’t entirely clear why Halo 5 escaped with a T-rating. The description does say blood splatter is only “occasional,” so maybe the violence has been toned down a notch? Or maybe standards have just shifted. The Halo series was never that edgy, so maybe the series has started to look not so bad by comparison as other games push the naughty content bar ever further.
Either way, now kids will have an extra game they put on their Christmas lists to Grandma and Grandpa. It’s a holiday miracle!