343 Industries is facing massive backlash over a nameplate in Halo Infinite meant to celebrate June 16 by giving it a title that many pros and gamers saw as a “racist” snub before it was quickly changed.
The studio released a green, black, and red color palette that was supposed to pay homage to june nineteenth, the commemoration of the emancipation of Texan slaves in 1865, the oldest celebration in the United States marking the end of slavery.
But people were surprised to see the official name of the 343 content: Bonobo.
Internet outcry from professional Halo Infinite gamers and the gaming community at large instantly skyrocketed on Twitter and Reddit after the color scheme, which directly referenced a proud moment in African-American history, took the name of a great ape.
343 updates Juneteenth content after backlash
People immediately sought out a change to the Halo ‘Bonobo’ nameplate, which 343 quickly agreed to, but waited hours for someone from the developer to address the situation.
They eventually changed Halo Infinite’s nameplate from ‘Bonobo’ to ‘Freedom’ hours after players spread in-game footage showing its original title.
The branding error quickly became apparent after 343 corrected the palette with a more suitable label, but the damage had been done.
Community Senior Manager John Junyszek responded to the bug, referring to the name ‘Bonobo’ as a “internal toolset” that was inadvertently applied to the final product.
The palette was given an incorrect name and we immediately renamed it via an update. (2/2)
— John Junyszek (@Unyshek) June 14, 2022
Halo Infinite Pros and Gamers Criticize 343 for the Name ‘Bonobo’
Halo Infinite stakeholders in its professional community, the general audience of gamers, and the larger Halo fan base were dumbfounded by how the studio would let the name slip.
“So, to celebrate an African-American holiday, you named the new emblem after an APE?” bradleyaPG‘ said Laws, an OpTic Gaming Halo pro. “Disappointed isn’t even the word to use here, but to have blatant racism on a major holiday is just spitting in black people’s faces.”
Although the name was quickly thrown around since Halo Infinite, people want to see the studio’s responsibility in light of the update.
The fact that this has happened and gone this far is appalling. They’re making racist jokes in there and they thought this would be funny? Now I have to keep playing this game/support them but any chance I get I’ll be talking shit at 343. Please try and fine me.
— OpTic a🅿️G (@aPureGangster) June 14, 2022
“Unfortunately, my attitude towards racism is always one of disappointment and it never surprises me, ever,” Cloud9 head coach Emanuel said.jokerLovejoy said.
“That said, how does this happen? [343 Industries]? In fact, let’s talk about this because I’m confused.”
As more reactions to Halo Infinite accumulate, people are waiting for a more detailed response from 343 Industries on how the mishap occurred.