Unlike Every Past Halo FPS, Halo 5 Earns a Teen ESRB Rating
Halo 5 earns the same rating as Halo Wars and Halo: Spartan Assault.
Halo 5: Guardians has received a Teen rating from the ESRB, making it the first of the Halo first-person shooters to earn anything other than a Mature rating.
The newly published ESRB listing highlights the standard Halo violence you'd expect: "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."
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Then there is the game's language, which ranges from typical curses--"The word 'a*s' appears in the dialogue"--to the bizarre: "[There are] occasional taunts/insults (e.g., "I have copulated...with your genetic progenitors!"). Another example insult includes a possible Monty Python reference: "Your father was a filthy colo and your mother was a hole in the wall!"
All of this apparently wasn't enough to warrant a Mature rating, which is what every Halo FPS to date has received. That rating never completely made sense, what with the bulk of the violence involving dead aliens; the ESRB's description of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary doesn't read much differently from Halo 5's.
There are Halo games that have received Teen ratings in the past, but both--Halo Wars and Halo: Spartan Assault--were spinoffs that adopted isometric cameras due to their genres (strategy and top-down shooter, respectively).
Halo 5: Guardians is due out for Xbox One on October 27. This week, we also learned that a sequel to Halo Wars is in the works at Total War developer The Creative Assembly.