Halo Developers Under Fire For 'Ape' African-American Holiday Symbol
Life over at 343 Industries is going from bad to worse. Having tormented Halo Infinite fans with multiple delays, engaged in little post-launch content, ditched the game riddled with bugs, and even added salt to the wounds of players (quite literally) with a cookbook, the developers can't escape from the negativity surrounding their flopping title.
Now, 343 is under fire once more, as a borderline racist "ape" symbol was released to celebrate an African-American holiday. The Halo Infinite dev team opted to show its support for Juneteenth, which is a holiday that celebrates the abolishment of slavery in the United States - often leaning into the African-American culture.
While the sentiment of celebrating the holiday in-game is admirable, marrying the efforts seen by releasing Pride Month rewards, the devs have now come under fire for labelling the anti-slavery Juneteenth Nameplate as "Bonobo" - a type of ape.
Halo Infinite Releases 'Ape' Juneteenth Reward
The Nameplate palette (similar to a Calling Card or Nametag background) was released on June 14, featuring the typical African colours of green, red, and yellow. This allowed players to sport the style in-game, but it was soon picked up for the wrong reasons.
Halo Infinite fans took particular notice of the name "Bonobo," which refers to an endangered species of great ape found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Celebrating the abolishment of slavery with a primate often used as a racial slur saw fans become immediately insulted, with a Reddit thread going viral within minutes.
Some fans went as far to say, "I'll uninstall the game right now if it's true", while others are gobsmacked that nobody "double checks" the information before publishing.
Halo Devs Apologise For Patched
Unsurprisingly, the Halo team issued an instant apology and revoked the item's name. Senior Community Manager at 343 Industries, John Junyszek, took to social media to clarify that Bonobo is an in-house internet tool that is used to design animations within Halo, and that the developers apologise for not recognising the double-meaning.
"While the original name refers to an internal toolset, it was not intended to be applied to this content and we recognize the harm it may have caused."
The Juneteenth celebration Nameplate has since been renamed "Freedom". However, fans still used this opportunity to mock 343, saying, "This is the fastest update Halo Infinite has ever and will ever see".
Halo's lack of updates will continue to ridicule the chances of Infinite becoming a popular title, but 343 should keep a closer eye on the smaller additions to the game nonetheless.