Halo 5 gets ‘Teen’ rating for first time in series history

Each traditional game in the Halo series over the past several years has received a “Mature” rating from the ESRB.

Halo 5: Guardians, however, is officially rated as a “Teen” game, the ESRB ruled this week.

While strategy game Halo Wars and top-down shooters Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike have “Teen” ratings, all of the main FPS Halo titles have a “Mature” rating.

Here’s the description for Halo 5 from the ESRB, which doesn’t seem much different than what we’ve seen for Halo games in the past:

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!’).

Halo 5, set for release on Oct. 27, will be the third Halo installment from Kirkland-based and Microsoft-owned 343 Industries, which also developed Halo 4 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection after taking over the franchise from Bungie in 2007.

Halo 5 will be exclusive to Xbox One, likely forcing Xbox 360 owners to upgrade to the latest Microsoft console. Microsoft started taking pre-orders for the game in December.

Taylor Soper is GeekWire’s managing editor, responsible for coordinating the newsroom, planning coverage, and editing stories. A native of Portland, Ore., and graduate of the University of Washington, he was previously a GeekWire staff reporter, covering beats including startups and sports technology. Follow him @taylor_soper and email taylor@geekwire.com.
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