Halo Dev Pays Tribute To African-American Holiday With Racist Cosmetic, Removes After Backlash
Developer of Halo Infinite, 343 Industries, decided to pay tribute to Juneteenth, an African-American holiday, by featuring a racist cosmetic in the game. The holiday celebrates the freedom of those who were enslaved.
The cosmetic is called Bonobo, and is named after an ape by developer 343 Industries. After receiving plenty of backlash regarding the inclusion of this racist cosmetic in Halo Infinite, the studio decided to remove it from the game. However, the damage has been done, and the sentiments of everyone celebrating this important occasion have undoubtedly been hurt.
In some disgusting news. Halo added a nameplate for Juneteenth, a holiday which celebrates the freedom of those who were enslaved, and they decided to name it Bonobo, after an ape…
It has since been “patched” and the name has been changed pic.twitter.com/YkE9yolNoO
— Jake Lucky (@JakeSucky) June 14, 2022
The least 343 Industries and Microsoft could do at this point is come forth with an apology (Edit: see update below), as the sentiments of the Halo community have been hurt as a result of this blatant act of racism. Fans of Halo Infinite have expressed their disappointment in the studio, and some have decided to uninstall Halo Infinite altogether and not play it at all.
343 Industries found and head, Bonnie Ross, has since apologized on behalf of the studio. She clarified that the offensive palette option was removed as soon as the team was made aware of it. Ross further stated that both the studio and franchise are committed to inclusivity where everyone is welcome and supported to be their true self.
We were made aware of a palette option for our Juneteenth emblem that contained a term that was offensive and hurtful. The team immediately addressed this issue via an update. (1/2)
— Bonnie Ross (@PlutonForEver) June 15, 2022
Halo Infinite is a first-person shooter developed by 343 Industries and Xbox Game Studios. Following Halo 5: Guardians, it is the sixth mainstream entry in the series and the third in the Reclaimer Saga.
On the Forerunner ringworld Zeta Halo, better known as Installation 07., the campaign follows the human super-soldier Master Chief and his war against the hostile Banished. The multiplayer portion of the game is free to play, unlike in prior iterations.
Infinite was originally slated for released on November 10, 2020, as a launch title for the Xbox Series X/S. However, its launch was pushed ahead, and the campaign was released on December 8, 2021 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Meanwhile, the multiplayer beta took place on November 15, 2021, coinciding with the franchise’s 20th anniversary.
The campaign portion of the game has a semi-open world format, allowing players to freely explore sections of the environment, the ringworld Zeta Halo, that are divided off from one another and initially unreachable. Forward Operating Bases may be found scattered across the area and can be seized upon clearing them of enemies.
Bases that have been captured are used as fast-travel locations. Other objects of interest on Zeta Halo’s surface include high-value targets to assassinate, Marine troops to rescue, and Banished propaganda towers to destroy. Completing these side missions rewards the player with Valor, which can be used to purchase new weapons and vehicles from Forward Operating Bases. Within the ring’s surface, there are also more linear areas that are more akin to classic Halo mission design.