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Master Chief: A Visual History of Halo's Hero
The costumes, cameos and codpieces of everyone's
The mysterious, armor-clad hero of the human race is not quite human himself:
As part of the Spartan program, Halo's
Chief, aka John-117, was genetically engineered and reared by the military
to become the xenocidal savior of everything. Master Chief is a hulking pile of
future man, with a penchant for one-liners and a steady hand; he could probably
blow up the Death Star by driving a Warthog up to the exhaust port and tossing a
plasma grenade into it, no "Force" required. We're not aiming for a
of Halo in these pages. Instead, we are here to salute the green and gold
guru of the
universe in his many costumes, cameos and codpieces. This one's for the Chief.
(Unreleased, Mac / PC)
In 1999, Steve Jobs announced Halo at Macworld as the successor
to Bungie's Myth games. Although we can't confirm that the soldier shown in the
scant images of this unreleased game is indeed John-117, we can confirm that
they show a guy in a green suit with a gold visor and a huge gun, and that's
good enough for us.
Halo: Combat Evolved (2001, Xbox)
Master Chief officially debuted in Halo: Combat Evolved. In
this game he remains entirely in his iconic Mjolnir armor from the moment he
steps out of his man-refrigerator in the opening scene until the very end, where
he removes his helmet ... and his face is obscured from view. Some argue that
this gives Master Chief an "everyman" quality that allows players to connect
with him, which is awesome -- unless said player is a girl.
In Halo 2, the changes to Master Chief's trademark green getup
weren't purely cosmetic. The pummeling Chief takes in Halo: Combat Evolved
proved too much for Chief's Mjolnir Mark V armor, and the upgraded Mark VI armor
he receives at the beginning of Halo 2 is the same outfit he wears for all of
Halo 2 and
Whatever happens in
you probably won't want to be in the room when he finally takes the armor off.
or Alive 4 (2005, Xbox 360)
Halo's developers liked the idea of including
Chief in Tecmo's fighting game but they were also wary about continuity
problems. The solution was to give the fighting Spartan a different name and
gender. Dead or Alive 4 was the first place we saw the Chief's Mjolnir armor in
HD. So yeah, that's technically not Master Chief -- but this image of a
Spartan fighting Ryu Hayabusa was too good to pass up.
(Unreleased, Nintendo DS)
In 2007, IGN's Matt Cassamasina revealed that a
prototype of Halo for Nintendo DS had been in production, but was cancelled.
Halo DS wasn't being developed by two guys in a basement, either. The build IGN
acquired was from a AAA development studio. We can't be sure what Master Chief
would have looked like in this small-screen spin-off, but a few shots of an
unidentifiable green Spartan reveal that he probably would have been boxy and
Theatrical Trailer (2007)
The Master Chief that appeared in the theatrical trailer
preceding the release of Halo 3 was noticeably grittier (and less green!) than
the actual model used in Halo 3.
Halo 3 (2007, Xbox 360)
Even after a tumble through Earth's atmosphere, Master Chief
appears in Halo 3 looking no worse for wear. Although
3's events follow those of
by only two weeks, the upgrade to HD meant that Bungie had to take care to keep
Master Chief's appearance consistent between the games.
2 (2009, Xbox 360)
Hal, a hero of legend in Albion, wore a familiar-looking suit
which can be yours for the price of one Limited Collector's Edition of Fable II.
Your Fable II hero can complete his or her 'Medieval Chief' look with Hal's
Sword, a thinly disguised Energy Sword.
Halo 2600 (2010, Atari)
While there have been several fan-created
Halo spinoffs, Halo 2600 was created by Ed Fries, a
Microsoft veteran who signed Bungie as a first-party developer. Fries
went the extra mile with Halo 2600 by dumping the rom onto about 100 Atari
2600 cartridges and
selling them at
Classic Gaming Expo in 2010. In this retro interpretation of
a pint sized, pixel-deprived
Master Chief retained recognisable qualities like the gold visor and,
uh, zebra stripes.
Reach (2010, Xbox 360)
Chief fans lamenting his absence in Halo: Reach were treated
to a seriously cool Easter egg during Reach's ending cutscene. If you
tap to the right just at the right moment, you can get a glimpse of Master
Chief in his stasis pod on the way to the Pillar of Autumn. Master Chief emerges
from this very pod in the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved, bringing the story
Nukem Forever (2011, Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC)
Without 'The Dukester,' there would probably be no Master
Chief, so Duke Nukem Forever's jab at the Halo series is acceptable. Though Duke
claims the Mjolnir-like power armor is "for pussies," his ability automatically
regenerate health in Duke Nukem Forever is a trick which he copped from the
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (2011, Xbox 360)
Although we haven't seen much of
Master Chief in the recently announced remake, the trailer and
promotional images of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary show a Chief looking
as sharp as he did in
Halo 3, but in his early Mark V armor. A comparison between the original
Chief model (left) and the Anniversary model (right) reveals many cosmetic
(TBA, Xbox 360)
Although the debut trailer for Halo 4 seems to place its
events directly after Chief hit the deep freeze in Halo 3, his armor is
noticeably different. It's missing some significant pieces (gone is the codpiece
which protects the Little Master Chief!) and its been fitted with a Halo:
Reach-style jetpack. Halo mastermind
promises these armor changes have an explanation.