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Halo 5: Guardians received a Teen (T) rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a first in the massively popular sci-fi series. In fact, before Halo 5, not a single other first person shooter Halo game earned anything other than a Mature (M) rating.

The newly released rating information page for Halo 5: Guardians lists the game as rated T for Teen. The page lists Blood, Mild Language, and Violence as content descriptors for the rating.

Fans fearing a more “family friendly” take on the shooter should have no qualms after reading the rating summary, which spotlights the series aggressive action staples, such as neck snapping, alien killing, curse spouting, and blood splatters will still be in the game.

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!’).

The ESRB is a self-regulatory organization for video games in the United States and Canada that sets age and content ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and ensures responsible online privacy principles.

What sets this Halo apart from others is uncertain. Perhaps new faces in the ESRB are taking a more liberal approach with what is allowed in a Teen game. Perhaps the Flood were bumping earlier games up to an M, being reincarnated corpses that could technically count for “gore.”

Will you still be buying Halo 5 even with its lighter rating? DO you think anything will change, for better or worse, or has Halo ever really been about blood and gore? Let us know in the comments below!


Bryan Heraghty

Staff Writer

Avid shooter and platformer fan. Coffee is the only power up I need. In the spare time I have I will listen to more podcasts than has scientifically been deemed healthy. Hit me up on Twitter if you ever want to chat with me about games, tech, or whatever.