Halo Infinite is exploring a new side of Master Chief — and I love it

Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

One of the things that always frustrated me about Bungie's original Halo trilogy was that in these games, Master Chief was portrayed as less of a nuanced human being, and more of an obtuse hardass that didn't bring much character to the story, aside from the occasional one-liner and some cool action feats.

It was always in stark contrast to how the Chief was portrayed in the Halo novels — in these stories, Chief was always thoughtful and considerate of the people around him. It was clear that despite social awkwardness and a tendency to stay silent (you'd be that way too if kidnapped at six to be turned into a supersoldier) Chief had a great deal of reverence for the lives of the people he was surrounded by during the war with the Covenant and the Flood.

But while this characterization may not have been on display during the original trilogy, it's looking like it will be present in Halo Infinite based on what was shown during the Xbox E3 2021 show.

During the new campaign trailer, we see Master Chief making his way through the wreckage of a battle between the UNSC and the Banished. As he moves throughout the zero-g environment, Chief encounters the bodies of UNSC marines floating amidst the debris and stuck in the cockpits of vehicles. Instead of shoving them aside as he does to pieces of rubble, he slows down to gently move them aside or to avoid touching them. While taking the weapons and ammo he needs from their bodies, his gaze lingers on their remains as he silently mourns their deaths.

These moments of expressive body language may be subtle, but they do a beautiful job of showing that Chief truly believes that the lives of those around him are important, valuable, and are worth saving. Beneath the titanium-plated MJOLNIR armor, the big man has quite a big heart — and to me, it's one of the Chief's most heroic qualities.

Source: 343 Industries (Image credit: Source: 343 Industries)

The official tagline for Halo Infinite is "Become the Hero," and I can't think of a more fitting slogan for the next chapter of Master Chief's story. Yes, becoming the hero means stepping into an advanced suit of armor and taking down malicious aliens left and right, with the aid of cool weapons and vehicles. But it also represents something grander, something more meaningful — stepping into the shoes of someone that wants to use the unique position they're in and the special capabilities they have to protect others.

People often get caught up on how badass and powerful heroic characters are, reveling in the fact that they're usually capable of taking down tons of foes without breaking a sweat. At the end of the day, though, a true hero is someone who values the lives of others and wants to defend and save them, not someone who wants to attack the enemy and take them. This is the core of who Master Chief is as a character, and it's why I think he's one of gaming's best heroes. And because Halo Infinite seems to be exploring this side of the Chief more, I can't wait to dive into the campaign when it launches later this year.

Your thoughts

What do you think about how the Master Chief was portrayed in the new trailer? Let me know. Hopefully, Halo Infinite will be one of the best Xbox games when it eventually drops. I'm incredibly excited to play it when it comes to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs later this year. Notably, you can preorder the game now for $60, but if you're only interested in the multiplayer, it will be completely free. There's also a Halo Infinite beta coming in summer 2021 you can sign up for (check our guide on how to sign up for Halo Infinite's beta for more details).

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.