Back in the day, Halo revolutionized gaming. It took a landscape dotted with adventure games, platformers and racing games, and added an entirely new genre: first person shooters. Now, FPS games are the among the most popular formats. However, that was 2001. No one really expected Halo 4 (to be released 11 years later) to revolutionize the gaming landscape again.
But–that’s just what it’s set to do. In an interview with Gamespot, two execs stated that Microsoft will be banning anyone who uses sexist language. Permanently. As in–for life. Currently, bannings haven’t really been taken that seriously. Being threatened with not being able to play Halo 4 should be enough to keep folks who shouldn’t be opening their mouths quiet.
Though adolescents aren’t known for being long-sighted, it’s a brilliant start. Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries (and thus, head of Halo), said that she’s seen sites like Fat, Ugly or Slutty, and that it’s “offensive and completely unacceptable.” She partially blames the issue on jerks (also known as bullies, misogynists and Napoleon-complex wannabes) an anonymous voice. Interestingly, she also puts a bit of blame on studios, saying that the gaming culture can reflect that of the developers behind them.
In an effort to do their part, Ross’ studio carefully examined the gender of each of the characters in the campaign. If they felt like they had made the choice based on stereotypes, they re-evaluated the choice. It seems small, but when so many developers are working with stereotypes instead of against them, it’s a small miracle.
So–let’s all take a moment to ponder just how awesome Bonnie Ross is. I’d love to see her on Kotaku’s list of the most influential people in the gaming industry (which currently only has one female member), and I’d love to see more interviews with her. In the meantime, I’ll be purchasing Halo 4 to support such an awesome project.