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"No soldier should be honored for doing what is expected."

John-117 (often and most famously regarded as "Master Chief") is the main protagonist of the Halo franchise. He is a character in the first-person shooter–sci-fi video games of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo: First Strike, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4. Also appearing in other mediums, Master Chief appears in feature films, and novels.

An icon to video gaming, Master Chief is most notable as a towering and faceless cybernetically-enhanced soldier, who was raised and trained to become a weapon during his early stages of life. Master Chief now stands among other video game icons, such as Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Lara Croft. From reception, Master Chief has received overwhelming praise.

Character design

The first video game to introduce the supersoldier was Halo: Combat Evolved, and it was taken to the art's director, Marcus Lehto. Over time, Shi Kai Wang was hired for conceptual art and eventually one of his designs was accepted and became the foundation of Master Chief's overall appearance.[1]

In an interview, Bungie's director Joseph Staten proclaimed that, "Master Chief is really what kicked off the creativity". The character's attitude towards the other characters changed as the game progressed from a strategy-based game to a first-person shooter game. However, Bungie had intended Master Chief to always stay as a soldier.

For most of the development of Master Chief, the character had no name.[2] For a long time, developers struggled to finalize what branch and rank Chief should fall into. "Master Chief" was merely a placeholder, but the name stuck.


As Downes proclaimed, the acting behind Master Chief is based solely on the description that Bungie gave to Master Chief. In a podcast interview, he stated that he was given a lot of creative leeway to developing Master Chief's character.[reference needed] For the most part, Master Chief plays as a silent player. Bungie Studios' Frank O'Connor described Chief as "so quiet and so invisible, literally, that the player gets to pretend they're the Chief".[reference needed] Bungie's concept artist, Eddie Smith, described Master Chief as "pretty much the consummate professional".[reference needed] And while the developers behind Master Chief described him as a rather calm and wry character, critics have stated that the portrayal of the character in Halo: The Fall Of Reach have deviated from the original ideologies of Master Chief.

Master Chief have close relations with artificial intelligence, Cortana, with whom he met just before the fall of human colony Reach, and before the events of Chief's first appearance, Combat Evolved. Cortana was built as a game requirement and guided Chief throughout the world. In the end, however, she became an important aspect in the revealing of Master Chief's identity.


Halo: The Fall of Reach

Halo: Combat Evolved

The start of the Halo trilogy

Other appearances

Impacts and legacy

Cultural impact



  1. Trautmann, Eric (2004). The Art of Halo. New York Del Ray Publishing.
  2. Strauss, Ben (February 1, 2011). "Be Yourself (or Not): Halo". Industry Gamers.

External links

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