'Partial nudity' behind Halo 2 delay?

Source: Pick one. The official story: See below. What we heard: On May 8, the debut of Halo 2 on the PC was supposed to herald in a new age of Vista-enabled gaming on Windows Live. But then its launch was pushed back to May 22 and then again on May 24, when the game was officially--and...

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Source: Pick one.

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The official story: See below.

What we heard: On May 8, the debut of Halo 2 on the PC was supposed to herald in a new age of Vista-enabled gaming on Windows Live. But then its launch was pushed back to May 22 and then again on May 24, when the game was officially--and suddenly--delayed to May 31.

Today, though, rumors began to spread like an unchecked rash that Halo 2's postponement had a fleshy origin. According to numerous online reports, the Master Chief's Windows Vista debut was delayed because the build shipped to retailers contained partial nudity.

The reports about the Halo 2 nudity were confirmed by an unlikely source--Microsoft itself. Famously recalcitrant when it comes to rumors about its games, the software giant flat-out admitted that Halo 2 contained risqué content. "An unfortunate, obscure content error which includes partial nudity was included in our initial production of Halo 2 for Windows Vista," the company told GameSpot.

One thing Microsoft would not comment on was a nonobscured photo attributed to Halo 2 that showed an error message displaying a young Caucasian male's rear end to the camera. Photos of said derriere surfaced on various sites, including popular blog Kotaku (WARNING: ADULT CONTENT), all of which said it came from the the PC game.

Microsoft declined to address the photo, saying only that the nude image in question in Halo 2 could not be seen by those simply playing the game. However, the ESRB had no such qualms about describing the game's interior posterior. "The content in question, although likely to be inaccessible to the vast majority of users, displays a photograph of an individual showing his bare backside to the user when a particular error occurs," an ESRB spokesperson said.

The inclusion of said nudity has caused Halo 2's M for Mature rating to be tweaked by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Now, the game's label must include the words "partial nudity," and all boxed copies must be relabeled--hence the delay. "As a result of updates to retail packaging, Halo 2 for Windows Vista will now ship from manufacturers on May 31," Microsoft said before apologizing for said delay. Microsoft also released a Halo 2 patch that will make the nude content totally unviewable, and anyone wishing to play the game online must auto-update the game with said patch.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.

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