Referred to in a statement as "unfortunate" and "obscure," the material in question is a photograph showing a "bare backside," which can be displayed when a particular error occurs in the game's map editor. Although a statement from the ESRB itself said that the material was "likely to be inaccessible to the vast majority of users," the presence of the photograph in the game's code forced the addition of "partial nudity" warnings to the game's rating. Microsoft is holding back the initial release of the game so that appropriate labels may be added to the packaging.
Along with updated packaging, Microsoft has also developed an online update, available from www.halo2.com, which will remove the offending content.
In a statement, the company said, "At Microsoft we take the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) guidelines very seriously and hold ourselves to high standards, with our customers always in mind." Concerned parents across the country are no doubt relieved that their children will be able to graphically butcher one another online without risk of accidentally viewing an exposed buttock.
Halo 2 for Vista is now scheduled to ship on May 31.