The HALO series has been consistently rated M by the ESRB for its entire run. That is until the release of HALO 5: Guardians later this year. It will be the first main game in the HALO franchise to be rated T for Teen.
We have all seen this type of thing happen before out of Hollywood. There have been plenty of situations where R rated movies have had a scene cut, or a swear edited out to bring the rating down the PG-13. HALO has been very close to a T rating for years because its combat has been largely between fully armored opponents with very little blood.
We don’t know for certain that this was deliberate decision, but it makes sense that they would put effort info getting their rating down. Bringing the rating down from M opens up a whole market to them.
The ESRB Rating summary is below. It is clear that it isn’t a child’s game by any means, but the blood effects and the assassinations listed must be somewhat tame in order to maintain the T rating.
“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!’).”
We will be picking this game up and evaluating it when it is released. If you have young teenagers or older grade schoolers who you think might be ready for this kind of game keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information.