When compared to modern military shooters or even games like Grand Theft Auto V, the Halo series has never seemed particularly gory, especially since most blood seen in the games comes in various neon shades of any color but red. Still, that hasn’t stopped the main entries in the series from being rated M for Mature by the ESRB.
That all changes with the newest installment in the series. Halo 5: Guardians will be rated T for Teen according to a recently posted ESRB rating spotted by Polygon. This is slightly curious, as if you’ve seen any of the trailers released for the game, you’ll notice that the game doesn’t seem less violent than its predecessors.
The ESRB page for Halo 5: Guardians lists three content descriptors: “Blood,” “Mild Language,” and “Violence.” In comparison, previous Halo games have all been rated for “Blood and Gore,” instead of just “Blood.” This is likely part of the less severe rating, though looking at the ESRB’s description, it doesn’t look like this is a kinder, gentler Halo.
“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 ESRB description reads.
The description also addresses the language used in a game. “The word ‘a*’ 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!’).”
Notably missing from the description is the gore described in earlier games, particularly that displayed from the player’s human allies when killed. It isn’t clear if publisher Microsoft Studios or developer 343 Industries made toning down the gore a priority, of if it was a design decision made without regard to the game’s rating.
Halo 5: Guardians hits store shelves October 27, exclusively for the Xbox One. See for yourself if the game looks less gory than previous games by checking it out in action below.