Halo Infinite’s Juneteenth Cosmetic Briefly Named After Ape, Sparks Uproar

Halo Infinite's Juneteenth Cosmetic Briefly Named After Ape, Sparks Uproar
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A Spartan holds a sniper rifle in Halo Infinite while staring at the Juneteenth emblem.

Screenshot: 343 Industries / Kotaku

Last night, developer 343 Industries rolled out a Juneteenth-themed cosmetic option for Infinite Halo, its multiplayer shooter. For a while, the color scheme affiliated with the Pan-African theme was titled “Bonobo”. A bonobosfor those who don’t know, is an endangered species of great ape.

I don’t need to tell you how odious it is.

Infinite Halo, which is based on a free-to-play model, has its weekly “reset” – when a slew of new cosmetics and new modes enter the game, meant to keep the grind fresh – every Tuesday at 2:00 PM ET. This week, 343 Industries added a free but time-limited nameplate in commemoration of Juneteenth, a federal holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States.

At 4:45 p.m. ET, the Halo content creator Sean W posted a video on YouTube explaining the situation. Yes, the nameplate itself is called “Juneteenth”. But the color option for this, which you access via a secondary submenu, was originally listed as “Bonobo”. At 5:10 p.m. ET, Sean W noted on Twitter that it had been fixed – probably the fastest fix ever deployed in Infinite Halothe turbulent history of– and is now called “Freedom”. Still, it’s absolutely mind-boggling how it happened in the first place.

If you know the development of Infinite Halo and I would like to chat, my inbox is always open. You can reach me at

On Twitter, Halo Senior Community Manager John Junyszek said the palette was “incorrectly named” and assigned the error to an “internal toolset”, but did not specify further details. The Halo content creator Mint Blitz further underline than a program in Bungie’s dev tools for earlier versions Halo games is called “Bonobo”. (After 343 Industries assumed stewardship of the Halo franchise a decade ago, original developer Bungie passed on the keys to many developer tools.)

A person familiar with the development of Halowho spoke to Kotaku on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Bonobo is indeed an asset editing program at 343. Although it was commonly used during the development of Halo 5the studio moved away from its usage during the development of Infinite Halo. But it exists. It’s popular with the staff. And he would be widely known to many studio employees.

That’s what’s so mind-boggling about how it happened in the first place.

A Spartan holds a sniper rifle in Halo Infinite while standing in front of the "Freedom" possibility of color palette.

The nameplate color scheme, originally titled “Bonobo”, is now called “Freedom”.
Screenshot: 343 Industries / Kotaku

It is not clear if the name of the Bonobo program would automatically be extracted into the text field for the name of a color palette. It’s possible that a member of staff typed in the name of the program as placeholder text, and the studio’s normal processes for quality checks on that sort of thing didn’t pick it up. (Jerry Hook, longtime head of design at 343, left the studio last month. Several sources know Infinite‘s development, all of whom requested anonymity, said Kotaku that Hook runs the game’s cosmetic system.) Microsoft, Kotaku is said, has many quality checks in place before anything makes it to a public-facing post.

For seven months now, Infinite Halo rolled out tons of cosmetic options on a weekly basis, including a slew of color options. This happens to be the first time this specific error has occurred, which, come on. Go on. For a nameplate regarding Juneteenth? Really??? So at best it’s embarrassing crap, and the studio’s quality checks didn’t pick it up until the update went live. At worst, someone, or several people, threw a racist joke somewhere in the development process and the studio’s quality checks didn’t pick it up until the update went live. In any case, it is an institutional failure.

Studio management at 343 seems to recognize how ugly it looks. Infinite Halo creative chief Joe Staten apologized on Twitter, writing, “Our mistake today was inexcusable, and I’m ashamed that we let that happen.” And studio head Bonnie Ross wrote“On behalf of 343, I apologize for making a celebrated moment a hurtful one.”

But the main Halo the channels, which have a much wider reach than any individual employee’s channels, have yet to issue a formal statement or explanation, save for a retweet of Ross’ apology. When reached for comment, representatives from 343 Industries had nothing to add.

#Halo #Infinites #Juneteenth #Cosmetic #Briefly #Named #Ape #Sparks #Uproar

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