Feb 16 2017 - 10:41 pm

Food for Thought: Censorship in Halo

There needs to be a strong balance of honesty and professionalism within Halo and that should be the main idea that comes into mind if 343 and ESL plan to follow the footsteps of larger games in the sense of censorship.
Halo Writer
Image Credit: 343 Industries

Censorship within the professional sector of esports is rapidly establishing itself among multiple competitive platforms. In this sense, censorship is forcing individuals to limit the topics they discuss on public platforms to limit the negative feedback that may be given back to these individuals and potentially the organization. Censorship can be perceived as an easy way to avoid problematic issues that don't benefit anyone. Some of the more established scenes have taken censorship to new heights by punishing players for even some of the most minuscule acts such as small disrespectful remarks. Any offensive act that can offend someone that goes beyond the game itself is taken very seriously by developers and event coordinators, but how will the censorship actions of some of the top esports affect the censorship we have in Halo? Will we follow the paths of some of the great leaders, or will Halo take a new approach?

There is no denying that 343 has implemented several aspects into our competitive scene that were not originally conjured by the developers themselves. With so many of the top esports proving that there are several great routes we can try to implement into our competitive community, it would be a bit silly to take a chance and create a completely original platform without trying some of the past methods that have proven successful. I don’t perceive 343 as a copycat that rips off ideas from other developers, but they have implemented unoriginal ideas into their platform that I am completely fine with, as long as it continues to work well. As we look to climb through the great ranks in esports to reach the heights of the best titles, censorship will inevitably become a major challenge our community will face.

I feel that the current censorship rules are relatively soft compared to other titles as players appear to be allowed to bash the developer, event coordinators and other important brands. In most scenes this is not tolerated very well and some leagues have even punished their players for negative remarks towards the game and leagues, such as Call of Duty professional Ian “Crimsix” Porter for his negative remarks towards the CoD World League system. As I said earlier, these brands view negative remarks such as this as unproductive statements that usually lead to no positive outcome.

Picture Credit: EsportsWikis

If 343 were to take the route of silencing the negative opinions of the pro players, I wonder how that would initially impact the community. I know from firsthand experience that these pros are not afraid to let you know how they feel. Sometimes acting like they have no brand to represent, some will unload all their emotions at you and won't even think twice about it. I believe this is ironically caused by the great level of respect the community displays for these pros. While most view it as a great responsibility that comes with the position, others seem to view it as an opportunity to give their opinions without getting much backlash because so many of us are under the belief that “if a pro says it, it has to be true.” A censorship system that limits what comes out of the mouths of some individuals may do some good in the sense that many may finally understand the impact behind their words. But, will the potentially great backlash be worth it? Silencing a community that appears to feel obligated to speak on their game however they feel may cause even more negative attention to come towards 343 and ESL. The pros may hush, up as they don’t want to jeopardize their dream job, but the ones who aren't affected by the censorship will not be afraid to speak their mind. Disapproval of 343 and ESL could be at an all time high.

Many perceive me to be the loud-mouth journalist who never tends to care much about how people perceive my opinions. In Journalism specifically, this is who I am, but outside of that, even someone like me is obligated to censor some of the comments I want to make. Any confrontational remark I make that goes outside of the game itself tends to put me in hot water and in the grand scheme of things, I am minuscule in this scene. If someone like me is obligated to limit the things I say and how I say them, it would make sense that someone such as a solidified professional player would share the same obligation and possibly to an even higher extent considering their status. Despite how some may feel about censorship, I am personally all for it, depending on how it is executed. The reality is that there are a lot of individuals, including myself, who have a tendency to talk a more than we should. I believe that 343 and ESL should look into censorship and punish players who make remarks that are tremendously disastrous for the brands connected to them. However, I don't want to see our community become a place where constructive criticism vanished, or where you can no longer trust the honesty of those who stand as ambassadors to this community. There needs to be a strong balance of honesty and professionalism within this community and that should be the main idea that comes into mind if 343 and ESL plan to follow the footsteps of larger games in the sense of censorship.

Image Credit: 343 Industries

What do you think about an increase of censorship entering Halo? Let me know in the comments section below.

Zachery Chevere can be contacted on Twitter @EsportsZach and emailed at zachchevere@gmail.com