Master chief no helmet

Master chief no helmet DEFAULT

What Master Chief's Face Looks Like (& What Halo Game Shows It)

Master Chief, the man behind the Spartan armor, isn't seen in the Halo games besides one specific instance, and players have to earn the brief look.

Whether he's called Master Chief, John, or simply Sir, the man in the Spartan armor throughout the Halosaga works best as one of few words. In 2001's Halo: Combat Evolved, he has just 23 lines across ten levels, but that number creeps upward as the series goes on. Once Bungie left to make Destiny, 343 Industries attempted to shift the character away from his role as a player insert, which included giving him more dialogue, more complicated motivations, and even showing part of Master Chief's face. While Halo hasn't seen his full mug as of yet, players can see some of what Master Chief looks like behind the helmet under very specific circumstances.

Back in the original Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie knew Master Chief's face was something fans would want to see, and it teased those fans at the end of the game. As Chief and Cortana escape the ring they helped destroy, the camera pans away from the cockpit just as Chief removes his helmet for the first time. Players don't see anything, and he's fully suited up by the time of his awards ceremony on Earth in the sequel. Sgt. Johnson even ribs the main hero about it, asking him why he didn't wear something nice. Of course, John's decision was a wise one, as the Covenant immediately invade Earth to begin the events of Halo 2.

Related: What To Expect From Paramount+'s Halo TV Show

Those willing to go beyond the games will find plenty of descriptions and images of John before he was conscripted into the Spartan program. Growing up on the colony world of Eridanus II, John had brown hair and freckles as a child. He was also a head taller than his classmates when he was six, which made him stand out to Dr. Catherine Halsey when she selected youths to be abducted and trained as soldiers. The Spartan augmentation process candidates go through drastically changes their physical appearance, so many of these descriptors from John's early days likely don't fit with the man who took on the Covenant in the Halo series.

Is Master Chief's Face Visible In The Halo Games?

Players who do wish to see behind the helmet need to play through Halo 4 on Legendary difficulty. As is tradition with the series, beating the game on the highest difficulty leads to a bonus cutscene that hints at what could occur in future games. Halo 4's original ending depicts Master Chief returning to the UNSC ranks after several games' worth of galaxy-hopping. He straps into a machine that removes his armor piece by piece, and the camera once again cuts away as the machine removes his helmet. The Legendary variant of the scene is the same except for the very end, which shows a close-up of Master Chief's eyes and upper nose. His eyes are sunken and colorless, and he bears a deep scar on the right side of his face.

Other than that brief glimpse at the end of Halo 4, the games have not depicted Master Chief outside of his armor. It would require a very dramatic moment to upend five games of tradition - perhaps even Master Chief's exit from the franchise. However, fans have already shown they're not willing to accept a mainline Halo experience without Master Chief at the helm, with both The Arbiter and Spartan Locke standing as proof that the series can only have one protagonist. Will Halo Infinite find a scenario that lets 343 Industries give fans the full reveal, or will that stray too far from the game's return to tradition? It's best to wait in cryosleep for those answers, as they likely won't come until 343 releases its open-world Halogame this fall.

Next: Halo Infinite's New Screenshots Are A Good Sign For Halo's Future


Age of Empires 4 Min-Spec Mode Means Even Older PCs Can Run the Game

About The Author
Alex Santa Maria (857 Articles Published)

Alex Santa Maria is a writer, editor, and critic based out of the Sunshine State. Raised on a healthy diet of gaming mags at an Xbox LAN center, Alex is an enthusiast who loves shooters, roguelikes, and arcade-style games. He has an unhealthy obsession with bad movies, a love of the 1980s, and the skills to rack up a high score on your local pinball table. When not covering the latest news on Screen Rant, you may find his byline on a growing number of webzones, including GameRevolution, TechRaptor, Mandatory, and WrestleZone.

More From Alex Santa Maria

It’s hard to deny Halo’s influence on the greater gaming landscape. For decades, Halo has been one of Microsoft’s biggest gaming brands, and it helped establish the original Xbox as a gaming console of note. However, in all that time, we’ve never gotten a really good look at the series iconic hero.

Most gamers know very well what Master Chief’s armor looks like, but what about his face? The original developer, Bungie, often said that this was intentional, that it helped fans better identify with Chief. In a 2007 interview with IGN, lead writer Frank O'Connor said, “Revealing his face is not as important as revealing the outcome of the events of the universe around him.”

However, none of that has stopped Halo’s developers from teasing fans with near glimpses. At the end of the original Halo: Combat Evolved, Chief removed his helmet, and it looked like we were about to get a good look at what is under that shell until the camera panned away. Those who beat Halo 4 on Legendary difficulty even got a tight close-up of Chief’s eyes, so we know what those look like.

This secrecy seems a bit strange, however, because we basically know what Chief looks like. The 2003 sci-fi novel from William C. Dietz called Halo: The Flood told us that Chief was about seven feet tall, had short brown hair, and his skin was unnaturally pale (because he never takes off that dang helmet).

So, what do you think of all this? Is this mystery fun or has it run its course? Should 343 Industries just show us what Chief looks like in Infinite or do you like the secrecy? Or do you firmly believe – as we do – that Chief looks uncannily like Nicolas Cage? Sound off in the comments below?

Excited for Halo: Infinite? So are we. While you wait for its holiday release, read the latest news about its ongoing multiplayer story or check out the original Halo weapon prototypes in action.  

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Master Chief (Halo)

Fictional character in the Halo video game series

Master Chief Petty OfficerJohn-117, or "Master Chief", is a fictional character and the protagonist in the Halo multimedia franchise. Master Chief is a playable character in the series of military science fiction first-person shooter video games Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Infinite. The character also appears in Halo books and graphic novels – including Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: The Flood, Halo: First Strike, and Halo: Uprising – and has minor appearances or cameos in other Halo media.

The Master Chief is a towering supersoldier known as a "Spartan", raised and trained from childhood for combat. He is almost faceless and rarely seen without his green-colored armor and helmet. He is commonly referred to by his naval rank rather than his given birth name. The character is voiced by Steve Downes, a former Chicago disc jockey, in the video games in which he appears. Downes based his personification of the Chief on an initial character sketch, which called for a Clint Eastwood–type character of few words. With each new appearance, the character's visual design underwent revamping or updates.

The Master Chief serves as a mascot for Halo and the Xbox brand. The character has received a generally positive reception; while some critics have described the Chief's silent and faceless nature as a character weakness, other publications have suggested these attributes better allow players to inhabit the character. Criticism of the Master Chief's lessened role in Halo 5 led to the developers refocusing on him for the upcoming video game Halo Infinite.

Character design[edit]

The task of developing Master Chief for the character's first video game appearance in developer Bungie's Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) fell on art director Marcus Lehto and Robert McLees. Shi Kai Wang was later hired for conceptual art.[4] One of Wang's sketches became the basis for Master Chief, but the initial translation of the drawing into a three-dimensional model looked too slim and anime-inspired.[4] Lehto felt the character needed to feel more like a walking tank, and the design was bulked up.[5] The Chief's armor went through various changes, such as the addition (and later removal) of an antenna, and a green tint.[6] The character's two-prong visor, intended to convey speed and agility, was inspired by BMX helmets.[7]

Story writer Joseph Staten recalled that early on in Halo's development, they had not considered how to engage players in the world, and Master Chief's character was what drew people in.[8] The Chief was always intended to be a soldier in the last part of a long and bitter war. For much of the game's development, the character had no name,[9] and early on was referred to as "Future Soldier" or "The Cyborg".[10][11]Eric Nylund established the character's forename as "John" in the tie-novel Halo: The Fall of Reach, but Bungie did not want to use that in the game itself, instead looking to military ranks.[10] Naval ranks grabbed them as "different" from ones the developers had heard of before.[12] McLees, insisting on accuracy, wanted to make sure the character still had a plausible rank for his role. "Master Chief" was the highest non-commissioned rank where the character would still be considered "expendable";[10] McLees felt the shortened "Chief" sounded more colloquial and less like a modern military designation.[11] Though the name was not universally liked and intended to be a placeholder, it ended up sticking.[10][12]

After the success of Halo, Bungie began developing a sequel. According to Mclees, the developers wanted to "tone down" the look from Halo.[13] In the story, Master Chief's armor receives an upgrade, and the character received a new look he sported for Halo 2 and Halo 3,[14] with added damage and wear and tear included in the high-definition graphics of Halo 3.[15]

For Halo 4, 343 Industries took over development duties after Bungie spun off from Microsoft as an independent company. Halo 4 made extensive use of motion capture for character animation, shooting in a studio that allowed multiple actors to interact. 343 looked for an actor to portray the Master Chief's physicality, while still conveying the emotions of the character. Bruce Thomas portrayed the Master Chief for motion capture sessions, focusing on giving the Master Chief a personality through actions that would be applied to the three-dimensional model; though his face and voice never appear in the final product, Creative director Josh Holmes credited Thomas with strongly influencing all the other performers for the game.[16]

The Master Chief's armor was redesigned with the aim of making the player feel like they were inhabiting a character wearing hundreds of pounds of futuristic armor; art director Kenneth Scott emphasized finding a "sweet spot" where the armor remained familiar but still new. Real-world military vehicles inspired some of the details.[17] The armor of Master Chief and his fellow elder Spartans was intended to look more utilitarian and tanklike, contrasting with the more streamlined look of newer characters.[18] Despite the visual differences between the character's armor in Halo 3 and Halo 4, the developers intended it to canonically be the same armor.[15]

343 Industries redesigned Master Chief's armor for Halo Infinite, drawing inspiration from his previous looks.[19] Actor Bruce Thomas returned to provide motion capture for the character, as he had in Halo 4 and Halo 5.[20]

Voice acting[edit]

Downes, who voices the Master Chief, is a disc jockey and voice actor who had never played video games before Halo.[21] Downes's previous experience with video game voice work was a small part for Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator. During production of Halo, Martin O'Donnell, Bungie's music director, recommended Downes for the part of the Chief based on his experience working with Downes on Septerra. Downes never interviewed for the part, describing his acceptance as a phone call.[3]

After Halo's success, Bungie briefly considered recasting the role with a celebrity before deciding against a change. Downes believed he came close to losing the role with Halo 4 as well. "When I did my first 'demo' session for Halo 4 in early 2012, I knew it was really an audition to see if I could carry the additional emotional weight that John was going to endure," he recalled. "I knew my future as the voice of Master Chief was on the line that day."[22] Downes was more involved with the Halo 4 sessions, seeing the script in advance for input and recording sessions in person over a longer duration, with him and Jen Taylor (Cortana) playing their roles in the same space for the first time.[22][23]

For years Downes never appeared at Bungie or Microsoft events and believed the Master Chief was left masked because "[the character's identity] is really in the eye of the player."[21] He has called the role the most rewarding of his voice acting career.[22]


Downes's voice for Master Chief was based entirely on Bungie's character description, which specified a man of few words similar to Clint Eastwood. The actor noted that during recording, he was given creative leeway to develop the Chief's personality.[21] In the early games, Master Chief rarely spoke during player-controlled gameplay, making him an almost-silent protagonist. Even during cut scenes, the character generally spoke sparingly. Bungie's Frank O'Connor described the Chief as "so quiet and so invisible, literally, that the player gets to pretend they're the Chief. The player gets to inhabit those shoes [and] apply their own personality."[24] Bungie concept artist Eddie Smith described Master Chief as "pretty much the consummate professional. He does his job, walks off, doesn't even get the girl, he's that cool he doesn't need her."[25] Joseph Staten felt that a focus on immersion was key to developing Master Chief's personality in the games, as "the less players knew about the Chief, we believed, the more they would feel like the Chief."[9] Eric Nylund recalled that some at Bungie wanted the tie-in novel The Fall of Reach cancelled because they felt it gave Master Chief too much of a distinct character.[26]

The Master Chief has a close relationship with the artificial intelligence construct Cortana, whom he meets just prior to the fall of the human colony Reach before the events of Combat Evolved. Cortana was created as a game design requirement to guide the character as Master Chief throughout the game world, but she became an important aspect of revealing the Chief's humanity. "Over time, Cortana became a fully realized character – a friend and companion to the Chief, not to mention the only person to poke revealing holes in his tough-guy exterior," Staten recalled. The game designers crafted the player experience of the first game to focus on abandonment and loneliness in many levels, as it reinforced the plot point that many of the Chief's friends were killed before the game began.[9]

For Halo 4, 343 Industries consciously decided to treat Master Chief as less of a vessel for the players, exploring the character as a human being facing new challenges and threats.[27] Creative director Josh Holmes cited the video game Ico as an inspiration for the Chief-Cortana relationship in Halo 4, noting that it emphasized how to tell a story without dialogue.[28] He described the challenge with the character thusly:

What we were striving for with Master Chief in Halo 4 was right in the middle, and I describe it as a marriage of player and protagonist. There has to be enough space within the character for you to feel you can inhabit it as a player. And also, just from the standpoint of personality, Chief is a stoic character. He's a man of few words. If he speaks too much, it goes against his innate persona. And yet if we don't have him speak at all, there's no way to really understand his mind and you can't chart his growth as a character – he becomes dull and one-dimensional.[28]

In the video games, the Master Chief is rarely seen without his armor. To aid players in identifying with the character, cutscenes tease the character's face, but never fully reveal it; for example, at the end of Halo: Combat Evolved, the Chief removes his helmet, but camera movement hides his head.[29] O'Connor said in an interview that revealing the face of the Chief is not as important as revealing the events going on around the character.[24] At the end of Halo 4, if the player beats the game on the highest difficulty, Master Chief's eyes are briefly shown when he removes his helmet.[30] In Halo: The Flood, the Chief is described as tall with short brown hair, serious eyes, and strong features. His skin is unnaturally white as a consequence of spending most of his time in his armor.[31] The Master Chief stands about 7 feet (2.13 m) tall and weighs 1,000 pounds (450 kg) in armor;[32] without it, he stands 6 feet, 10 inches (2.00 m) tall and weighs 287 pounds (130 kg).[33][34]



The Master Chief's backstory is revealed in the 2001 novel The Fall of Reach. Born in 2511 on the human colony world of Eridanus II, John and other selected children are covertly taken from their homes and conscripted by the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) into the SPARTAN-II Project. The military and the SPARTAN-II Project's lead, Doctor Catherine Halsey, believe humanity will fall into interstellar civil war without the creation of supersoldiers (the Spartans). John proves a natural leader and leads his fellow trainees over eight years of grueling training and dangerous physical augmentation.[35] Though John and the Spartans would battle human insurgents, a new threat emerged: the Covenant, a collective of alien races determined to exterminate humanity. Though the Spartans prove a tremendous weapon against the Covenant, they are too few to turn the tide in the UNSC's favor.[36][37]

Master Chief first appears in the games with Halo: Combat Evolved. After the destruction of the human stronghold of Reach, Master Chief and the crew of the UNSC ship Pillar of Autumn discover the alien ringworld Halo. Master Chief is entrusted with safeguarding Cortana, the ship's artificial intelligence, as her capture would give the Covenant vital tactical information. While fighting the Covenant, Master Chief and Cortana learn that Halo was created by an ancient race, the Forerunners, as a last line of defense against an alien parasite called the Flood. The Covenant accidentally release the Flood, which begins to spread across the ring. Learning that Halo's activation destroys all sentient life in the galaxy to prevent the Flood's spread, the Master Chief and Cortana destabilize Pillar of Autumn's reactor, destroying it and Halo. The Master Chief and Cortana escape in a spacecraft.[37]

In the 2003 novel Halo: First Strike, Master Chief and Cortana pick up survivors from Halo and reunite with Halsey and more Spartans at Reach. Learning the Covenant has discovered the location of Earth, Master Chief leads a preemptive strike against a Covenant fleet. Master Chief returns to Earth in Halo 2 (2004), defending the planet from Covenant attack. Pursuing a fleeing Covenant vessel, Master Chief and the crew of the human ship In Amber Clad discover another Halo ring. Master Chief kills one of the Covenant's leaders, but his position is attacked in retaliation. The Master Chief reawakens in the clutches of the Flood intelligence known as a Gravemind, who forges an alliance between them and the disgraced Covenant commander known as the Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee. Revealing the truth of the rings, the Gravemind sends them to stop Halo's activation. Cortana remains behind on the Covenant city of High Charity to make sure the ring is destroyed if activated, while Master Chief pursues the remaining Covenant leader, the Prophet of Truth, as he flees High Charity aboard a Forerunner ship. Truth heads to Earth, intent on activating the Halo Array remotely from a place known as the Ark.[37]

During the events of Halo 3 (2007), Master Chief allies with the Arbiter and his troops to stop Truth. After Truth opens a portal to the Ark (a Halo foundry located on the edge of the galaxy) Master Chief and Arbiter pursue him. On the Ark, the Flood-controlled High Charity crashes into the installation; the Gravemind temporarily allies with Master Chief and the Arbiter to prevent Truth from activating the Halo Array before betraying them. Master Chief battles through the wreckage of High Charity to rescue Cortana, who activates the replacement Halo being built on the Ark – destroying the Flood while sparing the galaxy at large. While Master Chief and Cortana escape aboard the UNSC ship Forward Unto Dawn, the portal home is destabilized by the damage to the Ark. The section of the ship with Master Chief and Cortana is set adrift in space, while Arbiter lands safely on Earth.[37]


Master Chief does not appear in the games Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, save for a cameo easter egg in Reach.[38] The character returns as the playable protagonist in 2012's Halo 4. After years adrift in space, Cortana awakens Master Chief from cryonic sleep as Forward Unto Dawn drifts towards a Forerunner installation, Requiem. Hoping to prevent the UNSC ship Infinity from being drawn into Requiem like them, Master Chief and Cortana attempt to activate what they believe is a communications relay; instead, Master Chief awakens the Didact, a Forerunner who hated humanity and intended to resume his war against them. Master Chief and Cortana pursued the Didact, and Cortana sacrifices herself to stop his attack on Earth.[37]

Master Chief reunites with his fellow Spartans of Blue Team in a 2014 arc of the comic series Escalation. During the events of Halo 5: Guardians (2015), Master Chief is contacted by Cortana, directing him to the human colony of Meridian. Disregarding orders, Master Chief and Blue Team head to the planet, leading the UNSC to dispatch another group of Spartans, Fireteam Osiris, to bring them in. Blue Team board a buried Forerunner construct known as a Guardian and are transported to the Forerunner planet Genesis, where Cortana reveals her survival through the Forerunner repository of knowledge known as the Domain. After Master Chief realizes Cortana's new plans for the galaxy would mean authoritarian rule, Cortana imprisons him and Blue Team in stasis as she rallies human AIs to her cause and deploys Guardians around the galaxy as enforcers of her new order. Through the efforts of Fireteams Osiris, Master Chief and Blue Team are rescued, but forced to retreat as Cortana puts her plans in motion.[37] The novel Halo: Bad Blood (2018) details the events immediately following Halo 5.[39] He returns in Halo Infinite (2021) as a playable character.[40]

Other appearances[edit]

The Master Chief is a major character in the novels Silent Storm (2018), Oblivion (2019), and Shadows of Reach (2020), written by Troy Denning.[41] The character also appears in the 2010 animated anthology Halo Legends, as well as the comics The Halo Graphic Novel, Halo: Uprising, Halo: Collateral Damage, and Halo: Tales from Slipspace.[39]Peter David's graphic novel Helljumpers contains a cameo by the Master Chief "before he actually was [the Chief]".[42] In the live-action film Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, the character is portrayed by Daniel Cudmore, while the voice is provided by Alex Puccinelli.[43][44][45] In the forthcoming Halo television series, the character is played by Pablo Schreiber.[46] The character would have also appeared in the cancelled Halo film. Director Neill Blomkamp said the film would have depicted the character as "the most important supporting cast member" because of his faceless nature, with "other characters around him [doing] most of the emotional heavy lifting" and exploring their perception of the Chief.[47]

The character appears outside Halo canon, with guest appearances as a playable character in the Xbox One version of Super Bomberman R,[48] and a player skin in the battle royale game Fortnite.[49] A medieval variation of the Master Chief's armor appears in Fable II, as the suit of armor worn by a legendary hero named "Hal".[50]Team Ninja approached Bungie and asked to use the Master Chief in their 2006 video game Dead or Alive 4. Although the Chief could not be used due to storyline restrictions, Bungie's interest in the idea resulted in the development of Nicole (Spartan-458).[51] The character is referenced in Rooster Teeth Productions' Halo-based machinima parody series Red vs. Blue.[52]

Influences and analysis[edit]

IGN saw in the Master Chief elements of Jon 6725416, a character in Christopher Rowley's novel Starhammer.[53] Other reviewers have suggested that the name John-117 could be a Biblical reference.[54][53] Michael Nitsche of the Georgia Institute of Technology found similarity to Gordon Freeman, the protagonist of Valve's Half-Life series of FPS video games: "[Both characters] are the independent, individualistic, and often lonely heroes that gain admiration by constantly proving their superiority ... in technology-driven, hostile, often closed spaces."[55]

Roger Travis, associate professor of classics at the University of Connecticut, compared Master Chief to the epic hero Aeneas, in that both superhuman characters save a civilization by defeating strong enemies in a martial setting. The audience is intended to identify with the protagonist similarly in both stories.[56]Matthew Stover compared Halo to the Iliad, saying both stories share the meta-theme that "war is the crucible of character". As military science fiction, Halo further raises the issue of being human.[57] Stover argued that, since players are to imagine themselves as the Master Chief, the character is correctly presented as a cyborg, neither a flawless machine nor fully human. Players would be unable to empathize with the former, and the latter would be too specifically developed.[57] This immersion has facilitated the use of the Halo series' multiplayer mode for live digital puppetry, as in Chris Burke's machinima talk show This Spartan Life.[58]

Cultural impact[edit]


BusinessWeek listed the Master Chief among several video game characters who have been branded beyond their respective video games, "helping them transcend the very medium in the process".[59] The Master Chief has been used in marketing on a variety of products, from 7-ElevenSlurpees to T-shirts, controllers to Mountain Dew, and costumes to motorcycle helmets.[60][61][62] Several action figures of the character have been created to market of the Halo series, including lines by McFarlane,[63][64]Jazwares,[65] 1000toys,[66] and Mega Bloks. One2One collectibles produced 1:2 scale busts of the Master Chief.[67]

Marketing for the video games focused heavily on the character of the Master Chief, including "The Museum",[68] part of Halo 3's "Believe" campaign,[69] the Halo 4 live-action trailer "Scanned",[70]Halo 5's Hunt the Truth, and Infinite's "Become" campaign.[71] The heavy merchandising was considered necessary for the game franchise; Ed Ventura, director of Xbox's worldwide marketing, said, "We want to be in the hearts and minds of our fans as much as we can."[73]


In an article in Time, Lev Grossman said the Master Chief represents a "new kind of celebrity for a new and profoundly weird millennium" and was a symbol of the increasing legitimacy of video games as an art form.[29]IGN, Kotaku, and The Sydney Morning Herald described the Chief as "iconic".[74][75][76] Master Chief has been called the de facto symbol for the Xbox console, Microsoft, and for a generation of gamers.[76][77][78][79] The recognition of the Master Chief has spread to mainstream culture; Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas has developed a wax sculpture of the Chief. At the ceremony, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy called the Master Chief a hero of the times as much as characters like Spider-Man and Luke Skywalker were for previous generations.[80] Downes realized his character was such a huge hit only after children lined up around the block for his autograph a year after the game shipped.[3]

The character has appeared on lists of the best video gaming characters by UGO,[81]Empire,[82]GamesRadar,[83]Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition,[84]Complex,[85] and Time.[86]IGN suggested that the dramatic death of the character could be one of the most powerful events in gaming.[87] The faceless nature of the character has alternatively been praised and criticized,[88] with the character called overrated.[89] Writing for The Artifice, Sam Gray argued the character uncomfortably straddled the divide between silent and active protagonist, and the lack of character conflict made him uninteresting.[90] O'Connor noted that given players invest the character with much of his meaning, there is a tension between players who prefer more personality and those who prefer "a sort of paragon of useful emptiness".[91]

The more character-focused portrayal of Chief in Halo 4 was positively received. Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times called Halo 4 a more introspective Halo game, and the first to explore the motivations and emotions of the Master Chief.[79] Reviews that found the game's story otherwise hard to follow praised the focus on fleshing out the character and Chief and Cortana's relationship.[75][92][93]

Halo 5 received a backlash from fans about Master Chief's reduced role in the story, as he appeared in fewer story missions compared to Fireteam Osiris.[94]Kotaku's Stephen Totilo wrote that the confrontation between Locke and Master Chief felt "under-cooked", and the plot point of a rogue Master Chief more effectively explored in Hunt the Truth.[95] O'Connor promised the studio would refocus on Chief in future media.[96]


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  2. ^"Pablo Schreiber to Play Master Chief in Showtime's 'Halo' Live-Action Series". The Hollywood Reporter. April 17, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
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  11. ^ abRobinson, Martin (2011). Halo: The Great Journey – The Art of Building Worlds. Titan Books. p. 147. ISBN .
  12. ^ abBolton, Bill; Chris Micieli, Mark Turcotte (November 6, 2009). "Podcast Episode #54 – Joseph Staten". Adrenaline Vault. New World. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2009. Around 0:17:00–0:19:00.
  13. ^Robinson, Martin (2011). Halo: The Great Journey – The Art of Building Worlds. Titan Books. p. 150. ISBN .
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  24. ^ abKolan, Patrick (September 2, 2006). "IGN interview with Frankie O'connor". IGN. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
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External links[edit]


Halo: Weird Facts About Master Chief You Won't Believe

Master Chief is the Halo universe's resident hero. He's the stoic savior of the planet Earth who asks for no praise and continues to do his job of being a super soldier without any encouragement. But beneath that helmet is a man who has quite a few secrets that most players aren't aware of. The mysterious nature of our faceless protagonist has always been one of his biggest draws (while simultaneously being one of the biggest complaints thrown his way).

Related: Halo: Every Game Ranked By Which Has The Best Multiplayer

However, as the Halo canon has expanded, so too has Master Chief's character. With each passing game, we have gained more glimpses into the man that the game developers had in mind when they first made Halo: Combat Evolved. And let's just say, not all of those glimpses have been pleasant or mild. Here are a few facts about Master Chief that you might not have known and will definitely shock you. Our all-time favorite Spartan-II didn't become the hero he is without acquiring a few issues along the way.

20 Mjolnir Armor Comes Equipped With A Catheter

One of the best things about being a Spartan is that sweet armor you get to wear. Downside of it all: you need a crew and some heavy machinery to take off Spartan-II Mjolnir armor. What does this mean for the Master Chief? It means that every time we see him in a game, he's stuck in his armor until someone can help him get out. That doesn't mean much for Halo: Combat Evolved, but if you think about it, Master Chief spent Halo 2 through Halo 4 in his armor nonstop. How's a Spartan supposed to pee?

The Mjolnir kit is equipped with a catheter, which takes away a Spartan's urine and then recycles it for future use. It's postulated that waste is collected and then disposed of by the suit as well. It makes you wonder if Master Chief has been leaving little waste bags lying around on all the Halo rings.

19 Genetically Augmented To Have A Lower Libido

Master Chief, also known as John-117, and the rest of his class of Spartans received genetic augmentations shortly after they were abducted by Catherine Halsey and Chief Mendez. These augmentations were critical for making these children more than a few notches higher than the average UNSC soldier. They went through carbide ceramic ossification (grafting strengthening materials to their bones), muscular enhancement injections, occipital capillary reversal, and so much more on their journey to becoming true Spartan-IIs.

One of the augmentations was a catalytic thyroid implant, which was meant to boost the growth of their skeletons and muscles. One side effect: a suppressed "drive." Master Chief's libido has been genetically altered to be practically nonexistent.

18 He Has A Gap Between His Front Teeth

Master Chief has a gap between his two front teeth. Or at the very least he should. It's written in the Halo novel, Halo: The Fall of Reach. When Dr. Halsey and Captain Keyes first scope out what John looks like on his home planet of Eridanus II, he is described as having brown hair, a few freckles, and a gap between his two front teeth.

Maybe the gap closed up on its own. There is never any mention of a Spartan wearing orthodontic braces, so it's a safe assumption to state that if the gap remained untreated and did not close up on its own, Master Chief has a gap-toothed grin underneath that helmet. Not that he'd ever take that darned helmet off anyways. And not that he'd ever smile.

17 A 1000-Pound Killing Machine

All told, Master Chief in his armor weighs about 1000 pounds (453 kg). It's no surprise that the Mjolnir armor weighs so much. Just think of all the systems it has to carry. The inner layer is filled with hydrostatic gel. There's the titanium composite bodysuit underneath that. It's filled to the brim with the electronic components that regulate the HUD and the shielding systems. The outer layer is no light thing either. The shell is made of a titanium alloy. And that's not to mention the unmentioned waste disposal system. It makes sense that the armor would weigh so much. Still, it is quite unbelievable. The Master Chief is walking around in a suit that weighs a fourth of a car. He's battling the Covenant wearing the weight of a grand piano.

16 He Is 47 Years Old

Master Chief is getting up in years. The augmentations that the Master Chief received as a child may help with any health concerns he might have had to worry about given his current age. Not only that, but because of his extended periods in cryosleep (which pause his body's functions during slipspace travels), the Master Chief's technical age is lower than the years that have gone by while he's been alive.



13 The 117 Theories

While not based on official Halo canon, some of the theories on how and why Master Chief got his number, 117, are inspired or downright ridiculous. The most basic of surmises is that John-117 was just a random numerical assignation out of a pool of 150 child candidates. Another theory searches the Bible for answers, citing John 1:17 or John 11:7 as quotes that must be important to Master Chief's character.

Related: The Most Powerful Enemies In Halo

Others point to Master Chief's birthday, which is March 7, 2511. Two derivations reach the number 117. Either they select the end number of the year (11) and pop the birth day (7) after, or they add the first two numbers of the year date (2+5=7) and reverse the sequence of the numbers to read 117.

12 Bully Of The Hill

During his childhood, Master Chief was a bit of a bully. In fact, he comes across as a bit... unlikable. He seems obsessed with winning games and does whatever he can to ensure this. When Halsey first meets him, he's playing King of the Hill, which entails staying at the top of hill and not allowing anyone else to join you. What should be a simple "push away" kind of game devolves into fierce kicks, vicious punches, and even bites.

Our galaxy's future hero dominated on the playground as he dominates on the battlefield. We want him to win his fights as much as he does. But have you ever stopped to wonder what kind of nature a life of violence demands? Odds are, it's a violent one.

11 The Librarian's Theory Of Evolution

The Librarian first appeared "in person" in Halo 4. Master Chief met an imprint of herself that she left on Requiem in case of emergencies. The Librarian is the Forerunner responsible for saving mankind and planting the evolutionary "seeds" that would lead to the creation of the Spartan Program and smart AIs like Cortana. And when the Master Chief is in danger from the Didact and the Composer, a weapon the Didact uses to digitize humans, the Librarian advances the Chief's evolution, effectively immunizing him from the effects of the Composer.

This has vast repercussions. If Master Chief is the culmination of the Librarian's planning, what exactly is she advancing him towards? Is she looking to create copies of the Forerunners? Does she want him to be better than the Forerunners ever were? We can only wait and see.

10 He Wears A Helmet Under His Helmet

This next fact deals with technical matters more than story content. Master Chief's face is never truly revealed in the games. John-117's face as a young recruit for the Spartan Program has appeared in cartoons and graphic novels, and Halo 4's legendary ending even teased us with a peek at Master Chief's eyes.

When Halo: Combat Evolved came out for PC with a Custom Edition, intrigued players figured out a way to pan the camera toward Master Chief's head as he removed his helmet in the ending cut scene. What they saw either entertained or infuriated them. As Master Chief took his helmet off, players were treated with the sight of another helmet underneath his helmet.

9 He Can Run At 60 Miles Per Hour

Remember when we noted that Master Chief's Mjolnir armor weighs 1000 pounds? He still manages to book it when he needs to, but how fast can he run in that armor? Turns out, Master Chief can run at 60 miles per hour when wearing the suit. When you're playing the games, especially the earlier ones without a sprint toggle, it can feel as if Master Chief is slowly ambling his way across the battlefield. But this 47-year-old man can run.

This doesn't even take into account how fast a singular motion can become. With Cortana plugged into his neural interface, one of her functions is to speed up connections between his motor cortex and his actual muscles. Adding that to the fact the Mjolnir is meant to move at the speed of thought makes Master Chief one lean, mean, speeding machine.


7 A Flash-Clone Replaced Him

An official part of canon, John was stolen from his home in the dead of night and was replaced with a flash clone. Flash clones, as their name implies, develop rapidly, but with numerous issues arising from their rushed growth. Their metabolism degenerate and they die within a couple of months. On Eridanus II, John-117's parents received a flash clone of John, and he died. All the children of the Spartan II Program, while unaware of the flash clones, knew that they had been taken from their parents.

6 Covered In Freezer Burns

Master Chief has been in cryosleep for far too long. Forgoing the fact that you can stay in cryosleep more or less indefinitely, in the Halo universe, you are supposed to enter the cryo-pods with no clothes on because if you do, intra-cellular ice crystals form between tissues causing a "freezer burn." Do you ever see Master Chief go into a cryo-pod unclothed? Every time he emerges from a cryo-pod in full armor, he is in excruciating pain from the blisters that have formed during his time in there.

Related: All Halo Games In Order According To Lore

Due to training and that tough demeanor we love, Master Chief can ignore that burning sensation and do his job like a professional. However, especially considering his most recent stint in a cryo-pod lasted four years, he has got to be covered in the remains of blisters old and new.

5 His Body Should Be Covered In Scars

If you add freezer burns and blisters to the scars Master Chief received during his augmentations, you are going to have one pockmarked Spartan. That doesn't take into account the numerous scars he may have received while training or fighting the Covenant forces. These scars would stand out in stark contrast to the pale skin Master Chief is sure to have. After spending years in his Mjolnir armor, his skin received no direct contact with the sun. His skin should be the color of pasty white glue.

4 A Coin Toss Helped Decide His Entry Into The Spartan Program

Returning to the moment when Dr. Halsey and Jacob Keyes visited John-117's home to inspect him, this was when Dr. Halsey performed one last test to see if John truly qualified to be a part of her Spartan Program. What was this test? Was it an advanced question-and-answer session, posing John the most logically challenging problems so that he could prove his mental prowess in solving them? No, it was a coin toss. Halsey flipped a coin and asked him to guess what side it would land on each time. That's it. That's how Halsey picked her favorite Spartan of the batch. Sure, John correctly guessed each side with each flip.


2 He Has Killed ODSTs

After receiving those gruelling augmentations, Master Chief spent some of his recovery time on board the UNSC Atlas in order to heal in a microgravity environment. John, ever eager to get back on his feet, decides to work out in the ship's gym. While there, a group of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers start hassling him. ODSTs are the UNSC's elite military group, or at least they were until the rise of the Spartans. The odds of one Spartan versus four ODSTs could only be in the Spartan's favor, even if the Spartan was recovering from surgery. During the ensuing fight, John actually kills two of the ODSTs. In an Ender's Game-esque twist, it's hinted that the fight was orchestrated by John-117's superiors in order to witness if the augmentations he had just received were up to snuff.

1 Cortana Has Direct Access To The Chief's Brain

Little known fact: Cortana actually affects the Master Chief's body. When plugged into his neural interface, Cortana has direct access to his brain. This doesn't make the Chief her puppet. Instead, this allows her to quicken his reaction times using his motor cortex. This also allows her to communicate with the Chief directly in his mind. When she speaks to Master Chief in the game, that's not her using a radio or some telecommunication device. She's actually speaking to him through his mind. This explains why she seems to linger in the Chief's mind even when she isn't plugged in, as demonstrated throughout Halo 3 and Halo 5. They're like telepathic mind buddies. Only closer.

Next: Halo Infinite Guide: Everything We Know So Far


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Amanda Hurych (159 Articles Published)

Amanda Hurych loves to read, write, and play video games...and that's about all there is to her.

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Halo 4 hidden Ending (Master Chief Removes Helmet)

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