Halo 5: Guardians is the first game in the series to get a 'T' ESRB rating

Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One sci-fi first-person shooter Halo 5: Guardians will have something that no other game in the main Halo series has received: a "T" (for "Teen") rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board in the US.

While spin-off games in the series like the RTS title Halo Wars and the more recent top-down shooters Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike have been given the "T" rating from the ESRB, all of the main Halo FPS games have received the more restrictive "M" (for "Mature") rating until Halo 5: Guardians. Here's the specific content description from the ESRB:

"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!')."

The "T" rating means that Microsoft has less restrictions on how it can advertise and market Halo 5: Guardians in the US, and of course retail stores that sell games won't have to ask for ID if someone aged 13 to 17 comes up to the register to buy the game. Halo 5: Guardians is due for release on October 27.

Check out the regular Halo 5 Guardians edition at Amazon (opens in new tab) ($59.99)

Check out the Halo 5 Guardians Limited Edition at Amazon (opens in new tab) ($99.99)

Check out the Halo 5 Guardians Collector's Edition at Amazon (opens in new tab) ($249.99)

Source: ESRB; Via: GameSpot

61 Comments
  • Lame
  • It does kind of bother me how they are trying to target a younger audience. If anything, they should be targeting an older audience because the older Halo 1/2/3 fans are growing up....
  • It's not the game. It's the ESRB that got more flexible. Halo wasn't ever a really M game. It was never fair to put it in the same Class as GTAm I can't recall a scene that i wouldn't want my 13 year old to see.This is good news this way they can Market the game better and it will sell more.
  • Good point.
  • Agreed. Halo had a lot of blood but it was never heavy on the foul language or controversial themes. Not to mention the original in particular was extremely light hearted in a lot of the missions.
  • Halo almost was a T game. They switched it to an M rating at the last minute. Halo 5 isn't the first Halo to be rated T, Halo Wars was T.
  • If only the mpaa rated it all the national lampoons vacation movies got a softer reclassification
  • Halo has always been one of those "Borderline" games between T and M, and I guess the ESRB loosened to the point where it fell under a T rating
  • Halo was never gore-central to begin with. It had cringe worthy moments with the Flood, but it wasn't trigger material for the squeamish.
  • Haha nice dialogs
  • "I have copulated...with your genetic progenitors!" Woah! Watch your language!
  • lol
  • Strange. I always figured the ESRB to be hard on shooting games.
  • They got more flexible, people seem to think that Halo was an M game, when its really not, it always deserved a T rating if you ask me there never was anything really Mature in it. I really don't see how this franchise was ever rated M.
  • And now I'm very scared
  • "Ratings creep" is part of it as well, I'm sure.
  • I feel like Halo always should have been T, just because you aren't killing humans, just aliens.
  • In PvP you're killing other humans/spartans
  • And could kill marines with friendly fire in the campaign mode.
  • either the violence is toned down, or we have gotten to the point where the violence in halo (and any violence to extra terrestrials) no longer is seen as "bad" and whoever was rating the game didn't have an issue.
  • My guess is that it's the latter. Just based on my time playing the beta and all the other videos I've seen of it, as it looks identical to prior installments in the series.
  • I agree that it is the latter. Microsoft has always resonable kept most swearing, explicitly sexual content, drug/alcohol use, and excessive violence out of Halo. I don't think any of the previous installments would get a 'T' rating if rated today. I would compare it (rating wise) to games like Batman, Fable, WWE, Battlefield, Destiny (so T rating) than to M rated games like GTA, Far Cry, etc.
  • The reason is no flood. The flood was counted as gore.
  • It used to be T when it came out, the box art used to say "T", check the link in the post a couple below this one.
  • Sounds like the esrb just gave up on thinking teenagers weren't gonna be playing it
  • If this is the thinking the go ahead and rate it E
  • They know your 8 year old will play it and I did as a kid so honestly they might as well
  • Wow, why bother playing it now?
  • It still has blood in the rating. Destiny is similar to Halo but it still git a T rating. The ESRB are just less strict
  • The only reason I played Halo was because it was rated M.
  • The only reason? You don't even make any sense.
  • Lol
  • /s
  • Hohoho, now this is lame!
  • Rubber bullets confirmed.
  • Oh hell yeah.
  • Fun Fact: The original Halo was on course for a T rating until September 11th, when everyone got a bit more sensitive to violence for a few months. It was advertized in magazines and on store shelves as such. Destiny got its "T" rating, desipte having pretty much the same level of violence as Halo, so this is just a correction of a 15 year old mistake. Let's be honest, Halo doesn't really belong in the same ratings bracket as MKX and GTA5.    https://halosealedgames.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/ce-teen-front.jpg                            
  • Yeah,I could've sworn I saw Halo CE as T at game stop a very long time ago. The rating doesn't really make that big of a difference because anyone who really wants to play a game will find a way. But Halo never deserved M, it isnt that bloody, has very few swears and no true 17+ content in it.
  • I think the reason for that is that in Destiny you kill some sort of cybernetic-like creatures, they are completely flesh, there is still something of 'futuristic' in them, but this is just my theory.
  • It should've always been T.
  • Following Destiny. According to one of the Bungie devs, this let's them effectively double their playerbase. Halo games really haven't had anything majorly "bad" in them from the start, though. Almost no foul language and excessive gore.
  • Rated T for Terrific.
  • Does that mean there is no more blood?
  • There is blood in the rating, ESRB is just less strict
  • weird that older Halo games got an M rating. you never shot any humans, only aliens. and they bled blue, didnt they?
  • I remember the first edition version of The Fall of Reach had an ad for the game with it being rated T.
  • Halo CE was originally T. I have an old copy of Fall of Reach and it says T
  • Noooooo!!! Now more little kids will insult people for no reason on Xbox live!
  • I think that would happened anyway lol
  • Pft! The rating never stopped them. GTA V is rated M, and have you ever gone on Xbox Live with it?
  • I personally think Shooters these days aren't that violent, and when we are talking about Halo, we are killing alien lifeforms and not our own race, but despite all that, i have a feeling this game could be going down on something, and i could be right in saying the game could more on killing Prometheus (robots/machines/non-living) instead of killing more Covenant (aliens) or maybe even the Flood (fungi/parasite/virus)
  • Both Halo 1 and 2 have M rating ? Lmao. Why ? Played them both on PC. Found both games laughable, worthy of a PG-13 rating at most.
  • Doom 4 :) better much better
  • Destiny was the first game from Bungie to receive a "T" rating probably for the same reasons and I always thought it pleasantly surprising that nobody commented or made a fuss (unlike the guy above with the "lame" comment). The fact is that unless a game is intentionally designed to shock, offers a particularly mature narrative (like the Last of Us) or exists in a genre like horror, excessive blood and gore is usually ancillary to the enjoyment of the game. You could argue that games like Gears, which strike a tone of gritty realism, need the horror. But fantasy games like Darksiders would be just as fun and compelling without the blood and gory executions. Halo titles have always struck me as "fake" M games, and I allowed both of my boys to play them when they were relative young (albeit disallowing voice chat with people not on their friends list in multiplayer), and I'm glad to see this being recognized by the ESRB. The fictional universe in Halo is too much fun to restrict to adults.
  • I guess it's ok as long as they don't dumb my game down for da kids.
  • In Australia all the games were rated M except for Reach which was MA (which means restricted to 15 and over). M is effectively our T rating, so this means absolutely squat to me.
  • DARKEST HALO YET
  • Germany : Halo 1 16+, h2 16+, halo 3/reach/odst 18+ , halo 4 and mcc 16+ So its not the First halo game with Teen rating
  • Man, Germany is pretty strict.
  • Rest of Europe: All Halos - 16+
  • Cool. Although to be perfectly honest, I doubt that the ratings ever had any affect on sales for the simple fact that most parents (not all) just buy their kids whatever game they want without checking the ratings or fully understanding what they mean.