The Halo Infinite developers made a significant error this afternoon with the release of in-game content to commemorate Juneteenth, adding an event-branded nameplate to the store that carried an offensive title.
Players called for the correction of the name and 343 Industries quickly changed it, though many Halo fans have been left wondering how it got through in the first place.
In the month of June, many popular games have featured content celebrating Pride month and Juneteenth, and Halo Infinite is no exception. On June 1, Halo announced both a Pride nameplate for use in-game as well as a Pride apparel collection, available in the Xbox Gear Shop.
However, it is 343’s tribute to the Juneteenth holiday that has caused quite a controversy: The nameplate cosmetic for the holiday on June 19 was originally titled “Bonobo,” which is a species of great ape. Players immediately went to Twitter to call out the inappropriately titled cosmetic.
The banner, which features a black, red, and green striped design with golden birds flying in front of it, was an attempt to commemorate the now federally-recognized holiday in the United States. The color scheme references the Pan-African flag, which many people in the Black community have adopted as a symbol of Juneteenth.
Despite the attempt at a respectful nameplate design, the name of the Halo Infinite cosmetic in-game completely takes away anything that it had going for it.
“This needs to be removed and an apology needs to be issued immediately,” said HaloHub in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.
Some fans asserted the title of “Bonobo” didn’t actually apply to the nameplate itself, but instead to the black, red, green, and gold color scheme.
Either way, 343 quickly changed the name of the color palette to “Freedom,” and the nameplate now has the name “Juneteenth.” John Junyszek, a Senior Community Manager at 343, stated the original name “was not intended to be applied to this content.”
The name may have been changed quickly, but Halo Infinite players will not forget the title of the nameplate at release. The original racist name is not acceptable and further paints a picture of gaming as a space that is not inclusive.