Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Aug 102015

Halo_Human_Flood_Combat_FormThe ESRB rating has been released for Halo 5: Guardians. Halo 5 has been rated T, making it the first main-series Halo game not to receive an M rating.

Now, if you know the kinds of games I play, you know the age rating doesn’t matter to me. E, T, M, or whatever, I don’t care. So in general, I have no problem with a T-rated Halo 5.

Unless it means no Flood.

I always liked the Flood. I enjoyed the element of horror they added to the Halo story, and when I finished Halo 4, I hoped the sequel would bring back the Flood and another Gravemind.

There have been a lot of rumors that the Flood would be in Halo 5, in part because of the Reclaimer Saga’s strong ties to the Forerunner Saga. The Flood played a key role in the revelations of the Forerunner Saga, which sets them up as a looming threat.

Several other clues suggested the Flood would return.

So, what does this have to do with Halo 5’s rating? Well, people often question why the Halo series was ever rated Mature. Compared to other games on the market, it isn’t particularly violent, and it lacks the profanity or sexual content that would demand an M rating.

In an interview with Gamasutra back in 2007, Bungie cited the Flood as a primary reason for the game’s rating. This matches a common anecdote (for which I was unable to find a source, so if you find it, feel free to leave the link in the comments) that Halo: Combat Evolve was going to be rated Teen until the ESRB saw the Flood.

Are the Flood scary or gory enough to make the game Mature? That’s subjective, but a more important question is whether or not the ESRB still thinks so. Unless the ESRB’s stance has changed, Halo 5’s T rating could mean the Flood won’t return after all.

On the other hand, Halo Wars got away with the Flood, so maybe times have simply changed.

What do you think? Does the rating have any bearing on whether or not the Flood will appear in Halo 5: Guardians? Let me know in the comments below.

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