Every FPS game in the Halo series—before Halo 5: Guardians, that is—was given an M for Mature rating from the ESRB. The latest addition to the franchise is instead rated T for Teen. (There are a couple of spinoff games with lower ratings, but they don’t constitute the core of the franchise.)
Many have wondered what the ESRB’s motivations for handing out Mature rating labels were when it came to the Halo series. The games aren’t particularly violent—at least, no more violent than many T-rated games. Violence is mostly done against alien enemies who shed unrealistic blue blood. Later titles in the series became a little more aggressively Mature, but at that point Halo had already been pinpointed as deserving of the M rating, so it’s possible they just decided to roll with it.
Xbox executive Aaron Greenberg spoke with GameSpot about the rating decision and what it will mean for Halo 5: Guardians.
“I do expect the T rating will help game sales,” Greenberg said. “Core Halo fans are going to buy the game no matter what the rating is, and I think we’ve seen that. A lot of people were surprised that previous Halo games were M-rated sort of given the style of the game and the lack of real graphic violence and things like that. We’re pleased with the rating. And so, I think if you look at how Destiny has done with the T rating, you look at how some of the other shooters have done with a T rating, we believe there is an audience of fans, particularly younger fans and parents that don’t let their kids play games that are M-rated,” he explained. “Being able to have a T-rated game will sort of put this game on the ‘approved’ list for a broader audience, which we think is a good thing.”
Halo 5 came out on October 27 as a Xbox One exclusive. Remeshed reviewed the game semi-positively.