If you’ve listened to a few episodes of the podcast or even read my scathing review of Halo 5, then you’d know that I, as a Halo fan, was not pleased with the direction that 343 Industries took with the story. I don’t know how many times I’ve said over the years, that Halo is all about Master Chief, but I know it all started after Halo 2’s campaign. While the multiplayer was a blast back in the day, Halo 2’s campaign was divided up between the Chief and a covenant character called “the Arbiter.” The Arbiter, played by Keith David, was a tool or game mechanic to show the Covenant’s side of the story, that they were being lead by tyrannical leaders and weren’t all bad, but overall, all it did was take time away from playing the Chief, the reason people loved Halo.
Maybe Microsoft and Bungie did too good of a job making the Chief a bad ass. I mean, from Halo 2’s trailer, the moment where he opens the bay doors of a spaceship, so that a big bomb would slide out and hit a Covenant dropship, he waits for the bomb to slide so he can grab a hold of it and use to to propel himself to that same ship, great, but his line of dialogue he says to Cortana, just sold his personality. But the whole scene does even more. Watch the clip below, I’ve time stamped it, so it will pick up, right where it gets good.
If you didn’t get goosebumps on that, then you’re cold blooded or dead. That one scene perfectly sells the attitude of the Chief and that is why so many people love him. He never gave a shit, he did things his way and was the reason people bought Halo. Bungie learned their lesson after Halo 2’s feedback, people wanted more Chief. So in Halo 3, they removed the Arbiter levels and only kept the character for Co-Op play.
So you’d think, after Bungie learned their lesson, future development teams on Halo would learn to steer away from such decisions. But as they say, history repeats itself. 343 decided to try and mix up the story, to give players another Spartan, hell, quite a few Spartans. Basically pissing all over the idea that Master Chief was so great and important, because he was the lone survivor of the Spartan initiative. So, like the CW Flash show, which basically introduced Kid Flash, the female Flash, Reverse Flash, Zoom and now Rival, all whom are freaking Speedsters, it makes our hero, “The Flash,” seem less special. As Syndrome, the villain in The Incredibles said and I quote, “When everyone is special, no one will be.” By introducing a bunch of Spartans back into Halo, it watered down the importance of the Chief, but introducing Locke, and giving him a name and story Arc, they further diminished his importance. But taking away time players get to spend with the Chief, in order to play Locke? That just put the nail in the coffin for millions of fans, myself included.
Well, good news Halo and Chief fans. Apparently our displeasure was heard. IGN posted a story, where 343 Industries’ Studio Head Kiki Wolfkill and Franchise Director Frank O’Connor basically say they heard the outcry from fans and said:
“We very much realized that people wanted Master Chief’s story of Halo 5,” said O’Connor. “We definitely marketed in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief.”
“It wasn’t that surprising to me,” O’Connor continued, “but the volume of ‘give us more Chief’ at the end of Halo 5 was significant and so I think if anything he’s slightly more important now than he has ever been, certainly to our franchise.”
That last line… “so I think if anything he’s slightly more important now than he has ever been, certainly to our franchise.” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? He’s ALWAYS been important to your franchise! How the hell are you running this studio and franchise and not realize this? Again, I’ve been saying it for years. I’ve been preaching this to Jsun for damn near 14 years, when we argue about Halo. It’s scary that these guys don’t get how important he is to the franchise. They ruined his importance and his swagger, he was the sole survivor, the BEST of the Spartans and they just pissed all over it. Granted, the game Halo: Reach was fine, because it was a prequel that lead up to the original Halo: Combat Evolved, but after that, it should have only been Chief. Period.
Apparently, going forward, the focus will be on the Chief and not introducing new playable characters. The game will focus also on story and making the game as compelling as possible, while using the Chief as the centerpoint. Hopefully Halo 6, when we do get it, will return to form. Also, a graphics engine on par with current gen games would be appreciated. Instead of using outdated texture and geometry like 343 did for Halo 5.