Black Historical past Month is that particular time when online game firms attempt to present customers how inclusive they’re with particular Black / African themed in-game cosmetics and messages of appreciation for the three or 4 Black workers they carry on employees at anyone time.
In Halo’s case, it’s providing gamers a particular set of armor shaders in colours and patterns sometimes related to African artwork and tradition. As an idea, these shaders are completely superb. Particular person cosmetics gamers can use to zhuzh up their armor; cool, I dig it. However the way in which 343 slapped all these particular person items collectively, like a ridiculous Voltron of Blackness, is darkly hilarious in a means I don’t assume the corporate supposed.
More often than not, online game firms’ makes an attempt to enchantment to their Black customers vary from useless to benign. Different instances, like what 343 has accomplished right here, I’m left… let’s say bewildered.
Graph: Sport Developer’s Convention
Even worse, of nearly all of these surveyed with 20 or extra years of expertise within the trade — the type of folks with the seniority to approve advertising supplies like this — solely 6 p.c have been Black males and none have been Black ladies.
However taking a look at this pains me. It jogs my memory of that episode in The Boys season 3 when A-Practice, the one Black member of The Seven — the present’s tackle The Avengers — bought a brand new African-themed tremendous go well with as a way to court docket the approval of Black folks thereby rising his personal reputation and his handlers’ backside line.
In contrast to in The Boys, there’s no malice in what 343 has accomplished right here. I’m wondering if, taken individually, the shaders have been deemed applicable, and somebody within the artwork division slapped all of them collectively to indicate all of them off directly, leading to what we see right here. Or perhaps the Black individuals who presumably did approve of this look all thought it was superb. That occurs often: Black folks will make artwork for different Black people who misses the mark — simply take a look at the reviews for The American Society of Magical Negroes. Hell, this might all be an elaborate joke — a Halo-ified model of a well-liked meme format on Black Twitter the place we put a kufi on everyone from The Vision to Ed from Ed, Edd, and Eddy. Whatever the hows or the whys, I actually laughed.