John 117 face

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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


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Halo: Things Only Super Fans Know About Master Chief's Body

Despite never showing his face to gamers (a few glimpses from Legendary endings notwithstanding), Master Chief is one of the most iconic video game heroes we know. He is the faceless protagonist of the Haloseries who never hesitates when it comes to getting the job done. He has saved the world from the Covenant, from the Flood, from the Didact, and we suspect that he's going to have to save the world from Cortana inHalo: Infinite.

Related: Games To Play If You Like The Halo Franchise

Despite being a renowned hero, within the Halouniverse as well as without, there are still a few things players don't know about Master Chief. If you've played a Halogame before, you'll know that the games never really focus on Master Chief so much as they focus on his awesome adventures. The only way to truly know all of the tidbits about John-117 is to read the collection of fiction that supports Halo'slore. Read on if you want to learn more about what is underneath that Mjolnir armor.

18 Master Chief Has Freckles

John-117 was an ordinary little kid before he was plucked from his home by Dr. Catherine Halsey and secretly ushered into the SPARTAN-II program. It's hard to think of him as a regular little kid given how he is now a massive soldier in hulking armor. But did you know that Master Chief has freckles? In Eric Nylund's book, The Fall of Reach, young Johnis described as having freckles across his cheeks.

17 He Can Run Up To 60 Miles Per Hour

Early Halogames don't give the option to have Master Chief sprint, but regardless of how he runs in the game, lore tells us that Master Chief can run very quickly, faster than the game's mechanics make it appear. In Mjolnir armor, Master Chief can run up to 60 miles per hour. Despite its hefty shape, the armor actually speeds the Chief up rather than slow him down.

16 He Is Incredibly Tall

Halo 4 ends with an epilogue that features a cutscene of Master Chief removing his armor. It starts with the Chief walkiing past Spartan Sarah Palmer, and you get to see how tall he is in comparison to her. Granted, he's wearing his Mjolnir armor, but then again, so is she. Without his armor on, Master Chief stands at six feet and seven inches. That's taller than Superman's recorded height.

15 His Skin Is Pale Underneath The Armor

For most of the time that we've spent with the Chief, he wears his Mjolnir armor. A consequence of him wearing it all the time is that his skin is really pale. You can only catch a glimpse of this in the Legendary ending to Halo 4, when you are given a sneak peek of Master Chief's face, but you can rest assured that his body is just as pale as his head.

14 Chief In His Mjolnir Armor Weighs 1000 Lbs.

The speed of Chief's Mjolnir armor is not the only thing that might surprise you about it. While Master Chief is in his armor, he weighs one thousand pounds. This can make even the most ardent of Halo fans question how he could ever move at such high speeds as 60 mph. The earth should tremble at his approach. He should not be able to sneak up on unsuspecting Covenant forces while wearing it. They would be able to hear him coming long before he got close enough to strike.

13 The Librarian Sped Up His Evolution

In Halo 4, in order to bolster the Master Chief's defenses against the Didact, the Librarian sped up his evolution. This process gave the Chief an immunity to the effects of the Didact's weapon, the Composer, a device that turns humans into digital beings. But you have to wonder what else this process has done to the Chief. It might never be mentioned again, but the idea of speeding up the Chief's evolution sounds like it could have lasting repercussions.

12 His Eyesight Was Enhanced

Part of John-117's augmentations when he was going through the SPARTAN-II program went to giving him optimal physical performance. As such, his eyesight was made better than a normal person's. However, even from a young age, John probably possessed pretty good vision already. When Dr. Halsey first approached him and tested him by having him guess what side a coin would land on, he was able to see where it would land correctly every time.

11 He Has Brown Hair

As super soldiers, Spartans are not allowed to really grow out their hair. But it's interesting for fans of Haloto note that John-117 has brown hair. We never really get to see Master Chief's head, so his hair color has been a bit of a mystery.

Related: Halo: Which Games Have The Best Campaign?

But thanks to the books and the animated film, The Fall of Reach, missing pieces of information regarding Chief's appearance have come to light.

10 He Can Move At The Literal Speed Of Thought

Mjolnir armor is truly one of the most marvelous creations in the Halouniverse. The armor has a network that connects with the neural implants of the Spartan wearing it. What that means is that any movement that Master Chief thinks of doing is automatically sent to the armor, even before he moves anything. It's almost as if the armor is able to read his mind and move before he actually moves his own arm.

9 Decreased Libido

Spartans suffer from a reduced sex drive thanks to the augmentations that Dr. Catherine Halsey forced upon them when they were young. This helps them become more focused soldiers. It also eliminates potential distractions to a Spartan's mission. Master Chief is not the only Spartan who underwent this process. Everyone in the SPARTAN-II program that survived the augmentations has a lowered libido.

8 He Was Covered In Blisters During Combat Evolved

When going into a cryo-pod in the Halo universe, everyone has to remove their clothes because otherwise, numerous blisters arise from the ice crystals that form underneath clothing and on the skin. In the first Halogame, Master Chief was awoken from cryo-sleep and he was seen wearing his Mjolnir armor. That means he was covered in painful blisters. In Eric Nylund's book, The Flood, it mentions how the Chief was in quite a large amount of pain when he stepped out of his cryo-pod.

7 He Has Crow's Feet

If you completed the Halo 4campaign on the Legendary difficulty setting, you were treated to a quick glimpse of the Master Chief's face. Okay, it wasn't his whole face; it was just the area around his eyes. But that tiny snapshot of his facial features gave fans a lot to work with. Master Chief has crow's feet, which makes sense given he's been around for a while.

6 He Is Over 40 Years Old

As most timelines currently have it set, Master Chief was over forty years of age, chronologically speaking, when the events of Halo: Combat Evolvedfirst occurred. That will make him pretty old by the time Halo Infiniterolls around.

Related: Halo: The Best Red Vs. Blue Quotes

Of course, that does not take into account several things that have happened to Master Chief since then. He was augmented as a child, he has spent many years in cryo-sleep, and the Librarian did the evolution thing to him in Halo 4.For all we know, the Chief is now immortal.

5 Cortana Can Access His Brain

Every time Master Chief plugs Cortana into his armor, she gets to access the same parts of Master Chief as the armor does. She is, quite literally, in his brain. She can speed up the flow of his neural pathways so his reaction times are that much faster. That's all well and good when she is working alongside the Chief, but if Cortana were ever to turn against the Chief, he might regret how much of a hold she has over him.

4 Master Chief Knows Hand-To-Hand Combat

The SPARTAN-II program left no stone unturned when it picked out what their Spartans would be trained in. Master Chief, along with all of the other Spartans, are well-versed in hand-to-hand combat. The Chief was able to take on four ODSTs in a fight when he wasn't wearing any armor, and he was able to beat Spartan Locke in a fistfight while they were both wearing armor.

3 He Has Blue Eyes

An animated film about the events of Eric Nylund's The Fall of Reachwas made, and it was there that we got our best look at what the Master Chief looks like. It was in this film that it was confirmed that John-117 has bright, blue eyes gazing out from beneath his Mjolnir helmet. There had been conflicting guesses as to what color his eyes were, but now we can solidly stand in Camp Blue.

2 His Body Is Covered In Scars

Aside from being extremely pale, we also know that the Master Chief's body is covered in thick scars. These scars come from some of the more painful augmentations that all Spartans had to undergo when they were still children. These augmentations made them stronger and faster than a normal person, but the idea of these processes being done to kids is sickening. There's a reason why everyone in the UNSC seems to regard Dr. Halsey, mother of the SPARTAN program, with reproach.

1 He Has A Gap Between His Front Teeth

In Halolore, John-117 is mentioned as having a gap between his front teeth when he was a kid. However, it is unclear whether the augmentations Dr. Halsey gave him would have corrected his teeth or not. Plus, the Chief always wears a helmet, so how are we to know if the gap is still there? Also, he never smiles anyways, so even if he did miraculously take off his helmet, odds are he would not crack a grin and show us his pearly whites.

Next: Halo Infinite Guide: Everything We Know So Far


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"This child could be more useful to the UNSC than a fleet of destroyers, a thousand Lieutenants -- or even me. In the end, one child could be the difference between peace and a unwinnable war."
— Dr. Catherine Halsey referring to John-117.[4]

Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, also known simply by his rank as the "Master Chief" or (as is common in military culture) simply as the "Chief", is a Spartan-II supersoldier of the UNSC Navy's Special Weapons division. He served as one of the most important figures of the Human-Covenant War. After over thirty years of active duty, he is one of the most decorated war veterans of the United Nations Space Command.


This article is a brief overview of John-117's life. For an extremely detailed look at John's entire history, please see his biography pages.


"I do not remember my name. I do not remember my family. I do not remember my home. But I can remember the game. We played it every day. And I never lost. The game... It's the only thing I can remember about the life I had before I met Doctor Halsey. Since then, I have experienced a lifetime of combat. Through thirty years of war against alien aggressors... I have always known my fate. I knew someday I would die in battle. But now that it is here... now that it is time to die... I find I am not ready."
— John reflects upon his life and fate.[5]
Master Chief Petty Officer John-117.

By August of 2558, John had completed two hundred and nine military operations, including one hundred and thirty-six full campaigns; more than anyone other UNSC personnel on record at the time.[3] Though John has commanded nearly every Spartan-II at one time or another, the lion's share of his career has been spent as fireteam leader of Blue Team. His actions during the Covenant War earned him every major UNSC service medal and combat award, save for the Prisoner of War Medallion, as well as several dozen civilian honors.[3][6][Note 1]

As the war neared its end, most of John's fellow SPARTAN-IIs were killed in action during the Fall of Reach. However, John and his AI companion Cortana fled Reach and their vessel fortuitously arrived at HaloInstallation 04, a one hundred millennia-old superweapon created by the Forerunners to destroy their parasitic enemy, the Flood, by killing all life in the galaxy. After destroying the Halo, the surrounding Covenant fleet, and the Flood forces on the ring, John returned to Earth and resisted the Covenant's impromptu invasion. Pursuing the invaders' flagship, the Master Chief encountered Installation 05, where a civil war soon broke out within the Covenant. Weeks later, John followed the remaining Covenant forces to the Ark, the Halo Array's control center, which he disabled before the Halos could be fired.

John went missing after the war's final battle in December 2552, having stymied the threat of the Covenant, the Flood, and the Halos.[7] In the interbellum, John was lauded as a hero, and though he was officially declared MIA like all Spartans,[8] he was ostensibly believed by the UNSC to have perished.[7] After his recovery in July 2557, he played a key role in the conflict between the UNSC and the Didact's Promethean forces and a new "Covenant" faction, beginning on the shield worldRequiem. This culminated in an attack on Earth and the Didact's temporary defeat, as well as the apparent loss of Cortana.[9] John subsequently reunited with Blue Team and with their help, vanquished the Didact a second time. John and his Spartan compatriots went on to participate in numerous new missions for over a year.

During one such mission, John had a vision of a seemingly alive Cortana. This prompted him to go in search of her against direct orders, with the rest of Blue Team choosing to remain by his side.[10] In response, the UNSC declared Blue Team absent without leave and sent Spartan-IVFireteam Osiris to recover them.[11] On Genesis, John and Blue Team learned that Cortana had assumed the Mantle for herself and was planning on using the Guardians to enforce peace across the galaxy. John rejected Cortana's offer to join her, prompting her to imprison him and the rest of Blue Team in a Cryptum.[12] However, the Spartan-IIs were freed by Fireteam Osiris, with both Spartan teams traveling to Sanghelios while Cortana unleashed the Guardians on the galaxy.[11]


Within the military he is most commonly identified as "SPARTAN-117" or the phonetic callsign "Sierra 117". As with all Spartans, John was regarded by the Covenant as a "Demon". However, John specifically was known as "the Demon", an epithet he earned after the destruction of Installation 04, though allied Sangheili soon came to address him as "Spartan". The Didact and the Warden Eternal addressed John and his Spartan teammates as Warriors or Warrior-Servants.[5][13]


Main article: John-117/Early life

Early life

John stargazing in a grassy field on Eridanus II.
John: "Maybe someone up there is wondering what it's like here."
Ellie: "I guess? Do you think we'll ever meet them?"
John: "I hope so. Don't you?"
— John stargazing philosophically with his friend Ellie.

Born on March 7, 2511,[1][14] John lived with his mother and father in Elysium City, on the colony world of Eridanus II. He attended the Elysium City Primary Education Facility Number 119. As a child, John had brown hair, freckles, and a small gap between his front teeth. In a memory, he recalled that his mother was kind and smelled of soap.[15] The would-be UNSC Marine LieutenantParisa was a childhood friend of John's. John once saved her from drowning at Lake Gusev, after which he promised to marry her and keep her safe. A photo of the two was also taken by Parisa's father soon after, and would be kept as a memory by Parisa long after she thought John had passed away.[16] He also was a friend of Ellie Bloom, living next to each other in their childhood, and Katrina, who played obstacle races with him and Ellie.[17]


Halsey: "It's very nice to meet you. I wanted to ask you what you were doing?"
John: "Winning."
— Dr. Halsey and John during their first meeting.[18]

At the age of six, John was identified by Dr. Catherine Halsey as one of 150 preliminary candidates for the SPARTAN-II program. John was an ideal physical and mental candidate, standing a head taller than the majority of his schoolmates, having greater physical proportions, possessing greater strength, exhibiting superior reflexes, and having an aggressive drive for success. By the time he was conscripted, he had a string of forty-five victories in what Dr. Halsey referred to as a "brutal version" of King of the Hill, resulting in him having a chipped tooth and his opponents suffering various bone fractures.[19]

John being abducted by ONI agents.

When Dr. Halsey and LTJG Jacob Keyes visited Eridanus II in 2517 to study him - the first of the candidates - they were impressed with his intellect. In a final test of his viability as a candidate, he was asked to determine which side an old coin would land on. He watched the coin as it flew in the air and caught it before it could land; correctly stating which side was face-up, on the side of the eagle. Later that same year, John and 74 other six-year-old children were conscripted to Reach: they were covertly kidnapped from their homes and replaced with flash clones to cover up the kidnappings.[Note 2] All of the clones would later die of seemingly natural causes as a result of their accelerated growth process, with John's flash-clone dying on December 7, 2517.[17][20]

Spartan training

Main article: SPARTAN-II training
"Remember this: you don’t win unless your team wins. One person winning at the expense of the group means that you lose."
— CPO Mendez explaining trainees the main idea of teamwork.[21]
Trainees 087, 034, 058, 117, and 104, at around 8 years of age, after being introduced to the SPARTAN-II program.

John and the rest of the children chosen for the SPARTAN-II program were brought to the Reach FLEETCOM Military Complex, their new home for the next several years. There, Dr. Halsey informed the children of their new purpose: they were destined to become protectors of Earth and all its colonies. The next morning John discovered his service tag, stitched into his training uniform, and his new name: John-117. John began adjusting to his new life, training with other Spartans under Chief Petty OfficerFranklin Mendez.

In their first training exercise, John was grouped with fellow trainees Kelly-087 and Samuel-034 in a game of "Ring the Bell". John rushed ahead of his teammates and crossed the finish line first; however, he was befuddled to learn that his team had lost, as Kelly and Sam came last. This taught John the importance of teamwork and the next day, his team scored higher. John soon bonded with Kelly and Sam, who would become his first and closest friends among the trainees.[21] For eight years John was schooled in history, military strategy and tactics, and weapons, and was given extreme physical training. During his training, John used to tease Serin-019 and her habit of eating leftovers from meals of the other candidates.[22]

John quickly proved himself to be one of the program's top candidates. Both Dr. Halsey and Chief Mendez identified him as one of four emerging leaders within the Spartan-II group, along with Kurt-051, Jerome-092, and Frederic-104. Halsey believed John held both the skills and natural ability to lead the entire Spartan-II group. Mendez disagreed with her assessment, instead believing Kurt would fulfill the role as team leader.[23] John's leadership skills were correctly observed, as the results from their mission clearly solidified his role as the overall leader of the Spartan-IIs. He also became the established leader of Spartan Blue Team.

Taking the initiative

"No one’s being left behind. We’re going to figure a way to get all of us out."
— John motivating his comrades during the Spartans' training exercise in Reach's Highlands[24]
The young Spartans in Reach's wilderness.

When the Spartans were eight years old, they were sent on a training mission in which they were dropped over a forest located deep in one of Reach's Highland Mountains. They were expected to get safely to their extraction vehicle, an Albatross dropship. The trainees also had instructions to leave the last member arriving behind, or their punishment would be severe. After organizing themselves, the Spartans looked to him as their leader. It was a role he was surprised to be given, but eventually accepted. When the group came across the Albatross, it was guarded by un-uniformed UNSC Marines, leading John to assume they were a threat. He quickly devised a plan to eliminate the hostiles, capture the dropship, and ensure the safe extraction of every team member. He also decided to take responsibility as the last arriving trainee singled out for punishment. He quickly hijacked the dropship with the help of Déjà, and attacked the guards with stones, injuring them severely. Chief Mendez was not initially pleased, feeling John had violated the boundaries of the test. However, both Mendez and Halsey quickly recognized John's initiative, and promoted him to Squad Leader. After this, despite the other Spartans rising in rank and leading independent teams, John remained the de facto leader of the Spartans as a whole.

Physical augmentation

John-117: "Can you tell me, Dr. Halsey? Just this time? How do I win?"
Dr. Halsey: "I’ll tell you how to win, John. You have to survive."
— Dr. Halsey visiting John right before his augmentation procedures[25]
John-117, at 14 years of age, undergoing his augmentation procedures.

At the age of 14, John underwent the dangerous SPARTAN-II augmentation procedures. These procedures resulted in the death of thirty trainees, with twelve more physically disabled. John was one of thirty three Spartans who made it through the process unscathed, while the wounded were sent to the Office of Naval Intelligence. Even before his cybernetic and genetic augmentation, at 14 years of age, John had a physical body of an 18-year old Olympic athlete.[25] Far beyond the physical alterations, the enhancements boosted the Spartans reflexes, strength, enhanced eyesight, and rendered their bones nearly unbreakable. Following their treatments, John and the other Spartans were transferred to the UNSC Atlas to recover in a microgravity environment. During his first visit to the Atlas' gym, John was confronted by four ODSTs, whose sergeant then ordered the five of them into the boxing ring. In the ensuing fight, John inadvertently killed two of the ODSTs, and left the others severely injured. According to MajorAntonio Silva, this incident was orchestrated by the Office of Naval Intelligence in order to test the Spartans' augmentations.[15] While John had tried to avoid the confrontation, he nonetheless felt guilt at being forced to kill other human beings, but felt by following the sergeant's orders, he did the right thing. Then-ODST Anthony Petrosky, who witnessed the fight, would later refer to his comrades as "lambs to the slaughter"; he described John's punches as rapid-fire explosions, and that the fight was over in less than five seconds.[26]

Following their return to Reach for further training, John and the other Spartans were soon relocated from their barracks in the FLEETCOM military complex into the abandoned titanium mines nearby. Left in the caverns virtually without equipment and pitted against Marines wearing heavy Mark I powered armor, the Spartans continuously overcame the opposition Chief Mendez planned for them using impromptu equipment and tactics.[27]

Infiltration on Eridanus Secundus

Main article: Operation: TALON
"I have good news for you. The word has come down. Command has decided to test your unique abilities."
— Dr. Halsey to the Spartans before their first combat mission[28]
John during the mission to Eridanus Secundus.

John's first mission, codenamed Operation: TALON, was to capture Insurrectionist leader ColonelRobert Watts within the asteroid belt of the Eridanus system, where his homeworld was located. According to the plan, Blue Team, consisting of John, Kelly, Fred, Linda and Sam, infiltrated the Insurrectionists' base by hiding aboard the freighter Laden. Upon arrival they slid out of Laden and tracked their target to the barracks using previously marked cargo. The Spartans proficiently eliminated the guards and made their way to Watts' apartment, though John was shot in the side, with one bullet penetrating his body suit, bouncing off a few ribs, and causing a tremendous amount of internal bleeding, remaining lodged in his abdomen during the ensuing firefight. Careful not to kill Watts, they drove him into a corner, choked him into unconsciousness, and forced him into a sealed cargo crate. To make an exit, Sam used C-12 explosives to blow the main hangar bay doors. As the hangar bay decompressed, the Spartans escaped the rebels' base in a Pelican dropship stolen from the UNSC. The official results of the mission listed eleven dead enemy soldiers and an unknown number of rebel civilians. John received a Purple Heart upon the completion of the mission.[29]

Human-Covenant War

Main article: John-117/Human-Covenant War

Chi Ceti IV

John, at 14 years of age, having his original Mjolnir helmet put on by Dr. Halsey.
Main article: Battle of Chi Ceti IV
John-117: "Spartans, this is what we've trained our entire lives to do. If we lose here, we lose everything. Let's send our own message."
Spartans: "Sir, yes, sir!"
— John encouraging his comrades[4]

Three months after Eridanus, John and his Spartans were briefed on the massacre that took place on Harvest shortly after first contact with the Covenant. A short time later, the UNSC Commonwealth, under the command of CaptainWallace, brought the Spartans and Dr. Halsey to the Damascus Testing Facility at Chi Ceti IV, where they received their first suits of Mjolnir powered armor. When a Covenant ship, the Unrelenting, attacked the Commonwealth, John and the Spartan-IIs took part in their first engagement with the Covenant. The Spartans used thruster packs to launch themselves from a Pelican dropship. Each Spartan carried an ANVIL-II warhead to be used against the Covenant ship. Only two other Spartans reached the ship with John: Sam and Kelly. They entered the vessel through a puncture in its hull, caused by a MAC round from the Commonwealth. They succeeded in completing the mission and destroyed the Covenant ship, but due to a breach in Sam's armor, he was unable to leave the Covenant ship. Volunteering to stay behind and ensure the destruction of the enemy vessel, Sam was killed in the ensuing explosion. John was deeply affected at the loss of one of his closest friends. The victory showed that the Covenant could be beaten, but only at a high cost.

Early war

Over the ensuing months, John and his Spartans were rapidly deployed on a number of battlefronts, taking part in the Battle of Alpha Corvi II later in 2525 and a boarding action against the frigate Radiant Arrow before being assigned as instrumental parts of Operation: SILENT STORM in early 2526. During the operation, John worked for the first time alongside enlisted UNSC personnel of the 21st Space Assault Battalion. Throughout the operation, John was a key participant in the battles of Seoba, Etalan, and finally a massive Attack on Zhoist. In this final engagement of SILENT STORM, John led one of the only offensive actions of the war into Covenant space, deploying on the Covenant world of Zhoist to destroy the Ring of Mighty Abundance, a key logistics base. The mission saw John attain the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer and formed a friendship with Avery Johnson.[30]

Blue Team's deployment on Circinius IV.

A few weeks later, John and Blue Team responded to the Covenant attack on Circinius IV, engaging the aliens in the battered Corbulo Academy of Military Science to extract the planet's only surviving humans - a squad of cadets formerly students of the school. During the engagement, John provided cover fire for the recruits, using his armour to shield them from Covenant sniper fire. As the group extracted from the planet, John gave one of the recruits - Thomas Lasky - a shard of Mgalekgolo armour as commendation for the recruit's bravery.[31] By May, John and Blue Team deployed to assist in the Battle of Mesra, before being deployed at Netherop to capture the downed frigate Radiant Perception. Ultimately, this prize was in fact a trap laid by former-fleetmaster Nizat 'Kvarosee, the disgraced commanding officer of the fleet destroyed in Operation: SILENT STORM months prior.[32]

In 2527, John-117 fought alongside ODSTs on the colony of Green Hills.[33]

A war on two fronts

Despite the emergence of the Covenant threat, the Insurrection continued to remain a threat on the home front, and John was repeatedly deployed against these actors. By 2531, John led Blue Team on several operations against the United Rebel Front. The team disrupted Insurrectionist operations at Station Jefferson, onboard the rebel destroyerOrigami, in Micronesia, and at a high-explosives manufacturing facility at an unspecified location. Blue Team was also involved in interfering with a saboteur cell on Reach.[34] In May 2531, John led Blue Team in Operation: SMOKING ACES, a raid on the URF's Camp New Hope on the colony world Victoria. During this operation, John, Fred, Kelly and Linda were captured by General Howard Graves, but ultimately saved by new Blue Team addition Kurt-051. Graves was ultimately killed and the Spartans extracted before the rebels could have organised a counterattack.[34]

Mid-war actions

John-117 leading Fred-104 and Kelly-087 during Operation: WARM BLANKET.

John later returned to Circinius IV at an unknown time to once again aid in the evacuation of the planet's civilian population and to observe the enemy's invasion patterns, as part of Operation: PHALANX. John is known to have participated in an operation codenamed Operation: SWITCHBACK at some point prior to 2544, though details surrounding it have been redacted. He also was present at Cascade at some point after this, during which he aided in the destruction of Covenant exploratory fleet elements as part of Operation: HORIZON.[35]

On February 9, 2535 John and some of his fellow Spartans were deployed on the human colony of Jericho VII in Operation: FALLEN WALLS. Covenant forces landed on the colony, where they encountered tough resistance from UNSC forces above the planet and on the ground, resulting in a three-day long stalemate. On the ground, Blue Team's mission was to draw out the Covenant rear guard, so Red Team could slip behind their lines and plant a HAVOK tactical nuke, destroying the next Covenant ship that landed and dropped its shields. John led Blue Team in this engagement, killing hundreds of Unggoy troops in the process. Unfortunately, the UNSC fleet lost control of the space around Jericho VII. However, Captain De Blanc was able to evacuate the Spartans aboard UNSC Resolute before the enemy fleet began its glassing of the planet. John requested to watch the planet being glassed. He observed the assault for nearly an hour as Jericho VII was destroyed.[36]

In 2544, John deployed in Operation: IRON FIST to perform asset denial and recovery of critical cyberinfratsructure assets on Miridem. Shortly after, he led a SPARTAN-II group in Operation: WARM BLANKET at Ascon to board Luro 'Taralumee's Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence in recovering the captured Doctor Halsey from enemy hands. During this battle, John fought Thel 'Lodamee in single combat and was ultimately nearly defeated before Thel was forcibly removed from the situation by the fleet's slipspace jump.[35][37] The following year, John led Blue Team in a retaliatory action in the Battle of Draco III, following the Covenant's civilian slaughter of the planet.[38]

At an unknown time, John was present for a battle on a war-torn planet which saw the death of Daisy-023. Upon encountering Daisy's body, he laid her teddy bear chain in her hands and closed her eyes, a gesture of respect for his fallen fellow Spartan.[39]

Final year of the war

Main article: John-117/Late War

Sigma Octanus IV

John leading his fellow Spartans during Battle of Sigma Octanus IV.
Main article: Operation: OCEAN BREAKER
"We've come to take Sigma Octanus IV back from the Covenant, Corporal. To do that, we're going to kill every last one of them."
— John-117 to Corporal Harland upon the Spartans' arrival on the planet[40]

By summer 2552, John-117 had received every medal awarded by the UNSC except the Prisoner of War Medallion. During the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV in July 2552, John led a platoon of Spartans in Operation: OCEAN BREAKER to aid the Marine forces on the planet. John, leading Blue Team, infiltrated the city of Côte d'Azur to detonate a HAVOK nuclear warhead to clear Covenant forces from the city. However, the heavy Covenant presence outside the Côte d'Azur Museum of Natural History raised his suspicion, prompting him to lead Blue Team into the museum. Inside the museum, John found out that the Covenant were scanning a piece of rock while sending the information to a Covenant ship in orbit. After dispatching two Mgalekgolo guarding the rock, he took the rock and left the museum with his Spartans. John ordered the detonation of the HAVOK warhead in the city, and, along with other Spartans, Marines, and rescued civilians, returned to the UNSC Valiant, which ferried them to Reach.

Fall of Reach

Main article: Fall of Reach
Kelly-087: "Sir? I know this mission will be tough, but ... do you ever get the feeling that this is like one of Chief Mendez’s missions? Like there’s a trick ... some twist that we’ve overlooked?"
John-117: "Yes. And I’m waiting for it."
— John-117 and Kelly-087 preparing for the next mission[41]

In July of 2552, the CovenantFleet of Valiant Prudence invaded Reach, with knowledge of this engagement kept secret from John and the rest of the Spartans as to not compromise the planned Operation: RED FLAG - a mission with the objective of capturing a CAS-class assault carrier or CSO-class supercarrier with intent to use it to transport Spartans to the Covenant capitol and capture a Hierarch, hopefully forcing an end to the war. The Valiant arrived at Reach in August, at which point he was debriefed on the Sigma Octanus battle and recovered artifact. A few weeks later, John was summoned, along with all other available Spartans, for a briefing on RED FLAG.

Two days later, John arrived at Military Reservation 01478-B where he was outfitted with the next generation of MJOLNIR - Mark V - as well as presented with an on-board artificial intelligence, Cortana. In testing the new suit, John fought against several ODSTs before being faced with an airstrike conducted by an AV-19 SkyHawk jump-jet. Despite nearly being killed, Cortana and John's teamwork allowed them to prevail in an impossible situation, the first of many such accomplishments.

On the following day, the majority of the Spartan-IIs were deployed to protect the generators which powered Reach's twenty orbital defense platforms. John, with Linda and James, was sent to Gamma Station to destroy an unsecured navigation database onboard the ProwlerUNSC Circumference. If the Covenant obtained the database, they would discover the location of every human world, including Earth. The NAV database was destroyed, but Linda and James were ambushed by Covenant Sangheili. John fought one such Sangheili in close quarters combat, killing the alien before he could compromise the mission. The rest of John's team was not so fortunate; James was lost in space and Linda was critically wounded during the fighting. John saved four Marines on the station, including Staff SergeantAvery Johnson. The team returned to the UNSC Pillar of Autumn and was placed into cryo-sleep as the ship landed on and later fled Reach, and, following the Cole Protocol, jumped into slipspace. With coordinates discovered by Cortana thanks to the Sigma Octanus artifact, and in the hopes of leading the Covenant away from Earth, John would soon find himself involved in the most critical battle of the war to date.

The Halo Conflict

The Master Chief lands on Alpha Halo.
Main article: Battle of Installation 04
Cortana: "If I'm analyzing this correctly...they believe that Halo is some kind of weapon. One with vast, unimaginable power."
Cpt. Keyes: "Then it's true. The Covenant kept saying that "whoever controls Halo controls the fate of the Universe" ... If Halo is a weapon, and the Covenant gain control of it, they'll use it against us and wipe out the entire human race. Chief, Cortana: I have a new mission for you."
— Cpt. Keyes prioritizing[42]

Upon the ship's arrival at HaloInstallation 04, it soon became clear that the Halcyon-class light cruiserUNSC Pillar of Autumn had been followed through slipspace by a dozen Covenant ships. These vessels engaged the Autumn and sent several capture parties to board the ship. CaptainJacob Keyes ordered John to be woken from cryosleep, and tasked him with ensuring the escape of Cortana while he crash-landed the Pillar of Autumn on the then-unidentified ringworld. John escaped the ship and landed on the structure via SKT-9 Bumblebee lifeboat.[43]

Believing himself to be the only surviving Spartan-II, John launched several successful guerrilla attacks against the Covenant, launching a Raid on the Truth and Reconciliation to rescue the Captain and a follow-up battle for the Silent Cartographer and Assault on the Control Room. John was later deployed to investigate the disappearance of Captain Keyes inside a believed weapons cache, where he ultimately engaged - for the first time - the parasitic Flood. John was assisted by the AI 343 Guilty Spark, with the Monitor helping him secure the installation's Index to fire the ring and eliminate the Flood permanently. Upon returning to the control room however, the Spartan was met by Cortana, who informed him that he had been deceived and that the ring would not destroy the Flood, but its food - all sentient life in the galaxy. John and Cortana ultimately set out to destroy the ringworld, destroying the Pillar of Autumn's fusion reactor to destroy the megastructure. The two escaped the cruiser in a GA-TL1 Longsword.

Return to Reach

John-117 fighting aboard Ascendant Justice.
Main article: Raid on Reach
"He sent his team down to the surface of Reach... sent them to their deaths. What commander wouldn't go back? And what commander wouldn't hope that they were alive? No matter what the odds?"
— Lieutenant Haverson about John's motives[44]

After the destruction of Alpha Halo, Cortana and John discovered three cryotubes floating nearby, one containing Linda-058, and retrieved them. Soon after, the Covenant flagshipAscendant Justice and several cruisers appeared from behind Threshold, having taken cover from Halo's destruction.[45] A nearby Pelican dropship which had docked on an asteroid floating among Halo's debris field fired at the cruiser to distract it. After a successful escape from the Covenant battle group, John linked the two vessels and brought its passengers aboard the Longsword; these included Lieutenant Elias Haverson, Corporal Locklear, Warrant Officer Sheila Polaski and Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson.[46] After a joyful reunion, the surviving humans aided John in capturing the Ascendant Justice. The survivors commandeered the ship and traveled to Reach to look for any Spartans who may have escaped the planet's glassing.

John succeeded in locating some of his fellow Spartans on Reach, along with Vice AdmiralDanforth Whitcomb and Dr. Catherine Halsey. They returned to the carrier and linked it with the damaged UNSC frigateGettysburg. Before traveling to Earth, they decided to head into the Eridanus system where they discovered that the rebel base, Eridanus Secundus, was still intact, now led by Governor Jacob Jiles. After receiving some repairs, they were forced to abandon the rebels in the face of a Covenant assault, and made their way toward the Covenant refit-and-repair station, Unyielding Hierophant, where an enormous fleet was poised to invade Earth.

Raid on Unyielding Hierophant

Main article: Operation: FIRST STRIKE
"We're going to take this fight to the Covenant. We're going to launch a first strike."
— John-117 to his team about mission ahead of them[47]
Blue Team fighting aboard Unyielding Hierophant.

John and remaining Spartan-IIs Linda-058, Grace-093, William-043, and Frederic-104, focused on finding a way to stop the Covenant from reaching Earth, the location of which had been compromised. They decided to destroy the Unyielding Hierophant in order to slow the fleet's departure. The Spartan-IIs infiltrated the station, which was located in the Tau Ceti system, and after spending eleven hours on board, they arrived at a temple where a copy of Cortana warned them of the nearby Jiralhanae guards. Linda took up a sniping position and the other four Spartans entered the temple. John was nearly killed by ambushing Brutes, but the team managed to slay their attackers quickly. Grace, however, was torn in half by three Brute Shot rounds. John activated the fail-safe on her armor, denying her body to the Covenant.

The team then sabotaged the generators in the Unyielding Hierophant, and as they escaped through a side door, the fail-safe on Grace's armor activated, disintegrating a pursuing Covenant lance. John, Fred, and Will were quickly spotted by Banshees, but their pilots were killed by Linda's precision sniper fire. The Banshees were then recovered by the Spartans. John doubled back to retrieve Linda and the team escaped by destroying a glass atrium, exfiltrating via space-walk and arrived back at the Gettysburg.

Vice Admiral Whitcomb and Lieutenant Haverson piloted the Ascendant Justice straight into the Unyielding Hierophant. Whitcomb discussed the battles of the Alamo and Thermopylae briefly with John, then prepared to fight the Covenant off while the Unyielding Hierophant's fusion reactor detonated. Each of the five hundred Covenant ships maneuvered next to the Ascendant Justice, desperately to recover a Forerunner navigation crystal. The Admiral and the Lieutenant were both killed when the station's fusion reactor exploded, annihilating 486 ships of the Covenant fleet, leaving only around a dozen intact. The paltry survivors of the Prophet of Truth's fleet would later be committed to reinforce the Prophet of Regret's botched attack against New Mombasa on Earth. John left after witnessing Whitcomb's and Haverson's sacrifice, and arrived at Earth with the last members of his team, Linda, Will, and Fred, as well as Johnson and Cortana. They also brought with them news of the Covenant's imminent invasion.[48]

Before she left the group to embark on her own mission, Dr. Halsey presented John with a dilemma regarding the combat data on the Flood which she had analyzed. Providing the standard data set to Lieutenant Haverson would protect Sergeant Johnson from possible experimentation by ONI. However, providing him the complete data, which contained reference to Sergeant Johnson's escape from the Flood due to his Boren's Syndrome, would supposedly result in Johnson's death.[49] While John initially gave the complete data to Haverson, after the lieutenant's self-sacrifice he decided to spare Johnson's life and destroyed the crystal containing the full data.[48]

Battle of Earth

The Master Chief on the streets of Old Mombasa.
Main article: Battle of Earth
Cortana: "What if you miss?"
John-117: "I won't."
— John-117 reassuring Cortana before turning the Covenant's bomb against them[50]

Aboard Cairo Station, John received a suit of Mark VI MJOLNIR and attended an award ceremony with Lieutenant CommanderMiranda Keyes and the newly promoted Sergeant Major Avery Johnson.[51] The ceremony was interrupted by the arrival of the Covenant Fleet of Sacred Consecration, initiating the Battle of Earth. Upon discovering a Covenant antimatter charge on board Cairo Station, John fought his way through waves of boarding parties until he reached the bomb, allowing Cortana to access and deactivate it. Feeling he could put the device to better use than the Covenant, John launched himself and the charge towards the Covenant assault carrier Day of Jubilation. A timely bombing run by Longsword interceptors opened a breach in the warship's hull, allowing John to direct the bomb into the ship's fusion core. With seconds to spare, he launched himself back into space just before the vessel detonated. The UNSC In Amber Clad quickly recovered the free-falling Spartan.[50]

John was then deployed to New Mombasa, East African Protectorate aboard the In Amber Clad, in an attempt to board the Solemn Penance, the Prophet of Regret's flagship. Both of the strike teams' Pelican dropships were shot down by a Type-47A Scarab. John and the surviving Marines fought their way to the other Pelican's crash site. After rendezvousing with Gunnery SergeantStacker at Hotel Zanzibar in Old Mombasa, the Master Chief destroyed Covenant infantry and armor along the shore of the city as he chased the Scarab.[52] Upon arriving at the edge of Old Mombasa, John commandeered a Scorpion tank from Sergeant Major Johnson, which he used to punch a hole through the city's alien occupiers.

After intense fighting through numerous highway tunnels and suburbs, John reached the industrial zone, where Marines under the command of SergeantBanks were pinned down by Covenant forces. With the assistance of the Marines and a large stockpile of weapons, John boarded the Scarab and destroyed it from the inside. John was then transported to In Amber Clad to intercept the Prophet of Regret's flagship. When the flagship started to enter slipspace, Keyes was granted permission to follow it. John, and all on board In Amber Clad, were transported to Installation 05.[53]

Installation 05

The Master Chief hunting the Prophet of Regret.
Main article: Battle of Installation 05
"This is not your grave...But you are welcome in it."
— The Gravemind to John-117 after capturing the latter[54]

Forced to act quickly at Installation 05, John was deployed groundside in an SOEIV along with several Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. Cortana told John of the Prophet of Regret's intent to fire Halo and complete their religion's Great Journey. Recognizing the extreme nature of the threat, John was tasked with locating and assassinating Regret.[55] He tracked the Prophet to a vast temple in the middle of a lake, but not before witnessing hundreds of Covenant vessels coming out of Slipspace, followed by High Charity, the Covenant's holy city. Quickly disposing of a force of Sangheili Honor Guards, John assassinated the Prophet and escaped the temple before it was destroyed by a nearby carrier. John jumped off the edge of the structure and into the lake below.[54]

Losing consciousness from the impact, John was captured by the Flood's central intelligence, the Gravemind. Shortly after, the Arbiter was also captured. The Gravemind appealed to John's common interest in preventing the firing of the Halo array. Reluctantly, John agreed. The Gravemind then tasked both captives with locating the Index, sending them to the two most likely locations where it could be found. John was sent to High Charity, interrupting a sermon by the Prophet of Truth. The conflict between the Sangheili and Jiralhanae came as a direct result of John's assassination of Regret, leading the Covenant to civil war.[56]

The Master Chief captured by the Gravemind.

John wasted little time in devastating the ranks of the Prophet's guardians, chasing the surviving Hierarchs through High Charity. John nearly cornered the San'Shyuum and their Brute escorts, but was too late to prevent Truth's escape. A dying Prophet of Mercy, infected through the throat by a Pod infector, snarled that Truth had ordered his Dreadnought to Earth where he would complete the destruction of the human race. John then tore the Pod infector from Mercy and crushed it. Ultimately, John was forced to leave Cortana behind. In the event of Halo's activation, she would detonate In Amber Clad's reactors directly and perish with the city. John boarded the Anodyne Spirit, but not before promising to return for Cortana after he stopped the Covenant.[57]

Hunt for Truth

John-117 and the Forerunner Dreadnought return to Earth, with John using a piece of the Dreadnought as a shield.
Main article: Scramble onboard Forerunner Dreadnought
Lord Hood: "Master Chief, you mind telling me what you're doing on that ship?"
John-117: "Sir, finishing this fight."
— A brief conversation between the Chief and Lord Hood after his arrival aboard the Forerunner Dreadnought[58]

Onboard the Anodyne Spirit near Jupiter, John was contacted by Io Station, but maintained radio silence. Rampaging through the ship, he attempted to find the Prophet of Truth and assassinate him. John found himself faced by an extremely large force of Covenant troops including at least three Hunter pairs, who fired on him simultaneously. He was hit by several assault cannon beams, and was confronted by a Brute Chieftain who began to interrogate him about the "Key of Osanalan".[59] However, the Spartan stuck the Brute with a plasma grenade and escaped. The Chief continued his push through the ship, eventually arriving in Truth's chambers and setting his sights on the Prophet. With Truth in his sights,[60] he was caught by surprise by a Jackal and shot in the back. He fell and landed right in front of the Prophet's Brute guards. While the Chief managed to get several shots at Truth, the Prophet was shielded by his gravity throne and made his escape, while the Chief was left to fight off dozens of Covenant.[61] John, having failed in his attempt to take control of the Forerunner Dreadnought's trajectory, fought his way out of the Forerunner ship's airlock in a commandeered Ghost. On the surface of the Dreadnought, he was ordered to find a way to return to Earth quickly,[62] ultimately ripping off a door and using it as a heat-shield with which to jump down onto the planet below.

Return to Earth

"Crazy fool! Why do you always jump? One of these days, you're gonna land on somethin' as stubborn as you are! And I don't do bits and pieces!"
— Sergeant Johnson about John's escape methods[63]
The Master Chief, Thel 'Vadam and Avery Johnson meet up with Commander Keyes at Crow's Nest.

John's descent through Earth's atmosphere was traced by UNSC forces participating in the Battle of Sector Six,[64] at which point a strike team led by Johnson and Thel 'Vadam made their way into the jungles of Kenya to recover the Spartan. Johnson believed the Chief to be dead, and requested heavy lifting gear in order to recover the Spartan's body. However, John awoke to battle-ready condition only moments later, showing his incredible tolerance to pain and shock. He attempted to attack the Arbiter, believing that the Elites were still a human enemy. Johnson informed him that the two races were now allies, as the disillusioned Arbiter and the Sangheili had been expelled from the Covenant.[63]

John and the Marines traveled through the jungle, searching for evacuation to a nearby military base. Johnson and his team split up from John and the Arbiter. The sergeant and his squad were captured by loyalist Covenant Brutes, although they were soon rescued by John and 'Vadam. After taking heavy fire from Phantoms, a Pelican dropship evacuated the team to a UNSC base known as Crow's Nest.[65]

The hidden facility soon came under attack, with John, Thel and the remaining Marine forces ordered to defend the base during its evacuation. The Master Chief fought his way through dozens of Jiralhanae warriors, escaping the explosion of a planted self-destruct bomb in an elevator.[66] He met up with several Marine survivors underground, and they escaped the base and headed for the city of Voi along Tsavo Highway, crushing Covenant resistance on their way.[67]

The Master Chief and Thel 'Vadam listening to Cortana's message.

At the Battle of Voi, John dashed towards what was believed to be the Ark. Instead, the artifact opened a slipspace portalto the Ark. With Marine support, John and Thel 'Vadam destroyed numerous Covenant armoured assets preventing UNSC aircraft from making a strike, allowing Lord Hood's remaining frigates to fire upon the landed Anodyne Spirit. Unfortunately, MAC rounds had little effect on the keyship, and Truth fled through the Portal with his remaining loyalist forces. The UNSC remained behind on Earth to determine their next move.[68]

Just as the battle seemed over, a Flood-infested Covenant warship crash-landed in Voi. John and his allies fought to contain the Flood infection, eventually destroying the infected warship and recovering a fragment of Cortana hidden aboard the vessel. John retrieved the damaged data device and was brought aboard Rtas 'Vadum's flagship, which revealed a warning that High Charity, now overwhelmed and controlled by the Gravemind, was heading for Earth. However, she offered hope, hinting at a way to stop the Halos from firing and to neutralize the Flood. Convinced of the reliability of Cortana's message, John resolved to journey to the Ark, while Hood mobilized remaining UNSC forces on Earth. John accompanied a joint UNSC-Sangheili task force through the portal aboard the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn to the Ark. Shadow of Intent.[69]

Installation 00

Main article: Operation: BLIND FAITH
John-117: "You know me. When I make a promise..."
Cortana: "You...keep it. I do know how to pick 'em."
— John-117 reminding Cortana of his promise[70]
John watches silently as Thel 'Vadam roars after Truth's death.

Immediately upon arrival at the Ark, John led a strike force of ODSTs onto the megastructure's surface to engage the Covenant there and locate the installation's Cartographer. He led an armored convoy through the desert to the facility, engaging extremely heavy resistance in the process. Upon entry at the Cartographer site, John was met by Cethegus, who had been promised great power by the Prophet of Truth if he defeated John, though the Chieftain was ultimately killed.[71] After his arrival to Installation 00, John began to discover a number ofterminals containing ancient Forerunner communications logs, as well as direct messages from the Forerunner ancillaMendicant Bias.[72]

Following the capture of the cartographer, John-117, Thel 'Vadam, and a squad of Marines led by Johnson were assigned to separately attack three barrier towers, which were emitting a protective shield around the prophet's Citadel. Although John and 'Vadam managed to deactivate two of the towers, Sergeant Johnson was captured at the third, spared only to activate the Halos from the Ark's Citadel. John, 'Vadam, and the Elites deactivated the last tower, lowering the shield. Just as the Shadow of Intent was about to destroy the Citadel, the Flood-controlled High Charity exited slipspace, bringing the Flood into the conflict and disabling the Shadow of Intent. John subsequently led a large convoy to attack the Citadel, ultimately defeating two Scarabs and forging an alliance with the Flood to break the Prophet's lines and finally bring an end to the war. Thel executed Truth while John deactivated the now-primed Halo Array before attempting to extract with Johnson and the body of the now-dead Miranda Keyes.[73]

John reunites with Cortana.

The Gravemind then betrayed John and 'Vadam. After fighting past waves of Flood, the two escaped with their lives. As they were leaving the Citadel, John saw a vision of Cortana that led him to the exit. There, he learned her plan: a replacement for Installation 04 had been built by the Ark, but was not yet connected with the rest of the Array. Since the Ark and the ring were so far from the inhabited galaxy, John decided to activate Installation 08 and destroy the Flood once and for all. But first, he headed to the remains of High Charity to keep a promise to Cortana.[73] On High Charity, John cut his way through hordes of Flood, taunted with images of Cortana falling into rampancy and by threats from the Gravemind itself. He finally reached the failing AI, on the verge of succumbing to the Flood's influence. After recovering her storage module, Cortana readied the Activation Index from the first Installation 04. John then destroyed the holy city by overloading its backup generators. On his way out, Cortana detected a friendly contact, which turned out to be Thel 'Vadam. High Charity exploded as the trio narrowly escaped on a Pelican.[70]

Activating the Halo

John, Cortana and Thel en route to Installation 08.
Main article: Raid on Installation 08
"You are the child of my makers. Inheritor of all they left behind. You are Forerunner. But this mine."
— 343 Guilty Spark, betraying the Master Chief[7]

The final mission of the war for John, 'Vadam, and Cortana was to destroy the Flood forever by activating the replacement Installation 04. The three landed on the Halo, discovering that the Gravemind had survived High Charity's destruction and was already trying to rebuild itself on the Installation. Flood dispersal pods released combat forms against John and the Arbiter, forcing them to fight their way up to the Control Room, where the ring could be activated. During the battle, Sergeant Johnson arrived and assisted the Chief.[7]

After defeating the Flood forces around the Control Room, 343 Guilty Spark unlocked the door to the interior. Once inside, however, Guilty Spark realized that the team intended to fire the Halo before it could be completed, which would destroy the ring. Unable to cope with losing a second installation, 343 succumbed to rampancy. The AI mortally wounded Sergeant Johnson, and then turned on the Spartan, though was ultimately killed by John.[7] Cortana then activated Installation 08, and the survivors fled to the Forward Unto Dawn onboard a Warthog. As they fought the Flood and local Sentinels on the way, the Gravemind addressed them telepathically one last time, warning them that their victory would not spell total end for the Flood. The team boarded the Dawn and escaped the firing and destruction of ring and the Ark. However, the Slipspace portal the frigate opened could not sustain itself under the stress, and its closure severed the ship in half, sending 'Vadam to Earth. John and Cortana were left drifting in unknown space.[7]

Missing in action

Cortana oversees John sleeping in cryostasis, stranded on board the Forward Unto Dawn, lost in space.
"Wake me... when you need me."
— John's last words before entering cryostasis[74]

John and Cortana were presumed dead after several months of searching by the Commander-in-Chief of the Office of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Margaret Parangosky. The forward half of the Forward Unto Dawn, bearing the Arbiter, crash-landed on Earth. On March 3, 2553, Lord Hood commissioned a memorial near Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa in honor of UNSC service members lost during the war. The ceremony was attended by John's closest folks - Dr. Catherine Halsey, SCPO Franklin Mendez and his comrades - Frederic-104, Kelly-087 and Linda-058, as well as by Naomi-010 and Serin Osman, formerly known as Serin-019. Thel 'Vadam also was present at the dedication of the memorial. He was thanked by Lord Hood for standing alongside John "to the end"; knowing the resilience of the Spartan first hand, Thel expressed doubt as to the soldier's death. The Arbiter departed then for Sanghelios aboard the Shadow of Intent along with Rtas 'Vadum, to ensure the security of their people. John's Spartan tag was carved onto the memorial by an unknown party and was accompanied by the improper insignia of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy.[74]

Unknown to everybody else, John and Cortana managed to survive the explosion of Installation 08 in the remaining cargo portion of the Forward Unto Dawn, but it was nearly powerless and could not be properly navigated. Cortana, relieved that John had survived, explained this to the Chief, and that it could take years before anyone could discover their distress signal. In a similar conversation to one after the destruction of Installation 04, Cortana listed what John had done and told him, "It's finished," and this time, he agreed with her. John entered a cryotube, at which point Cortana stated that she would miss him. John replied her to wake him when she needed him.[74]

In 2556, while still stranded in space, Cortana attempted to talk to John while he was still asleep. Unable to get a response from him, she recounted the history of the galaxy, seemingly unaware that John could not hear her, and showing major signs that she was descending into rampancy.[75]

Post-Covenant War period

Main article: John-117/Post-War

Requiem and the Didact

Main article: Battle of Requiem
John awakened by Cortana.
Cortana: "Seems like old times."
John-117: "Ready to get back to work?"
Cortana: "I thought you'd never ask."
— John-117 and Cortana about being partners again[76]

In July 2557, nearly five years after John went into cryo-sleep, the aft half of the Forward Unto Dawn entered orbit above Requiem, a Forerunner shield world. As Covenant forces near Requiem began to board the Dawn, Cortana awakened John from cryosleep. With Cortana's assistance, John fought off the intruders across the ship and used one of the ship's nuclear missiles to destroy an incoming Covenant cruiser. Shortly afterward, however, Requiem's access gateway opened, pulling the remains of the Dawn, as well as any Covenant ships in immediate proximity, into the interior of the shield world.[76] Having crashed on Requiem, John took notice of Cortana's escalating signs of rampancy and she explained that her condition may be reversible if they managed to get to Earth and find Dr. Halsey in time.[77] Fighting their way through numerous Covenant forces occupying the structure, John was attacked by advanced Forerunner combat constructs which Cortana identified as Prometheans. Evading or destroying pursuit, John attempted to warn the approaching UNSC Infinity of the dangerous gravity field that had disabled the Forward Unto Dawn.[78]

After John disabled two energy pylons preventing them from contacting Infinity and attempted to use the supposed relay satellite in Requiem's core to establish contact, it became clear that a great threat had once been imprisoned within Requiem. Instead of contacting the Infinity, John had accidentally released the Didact, an ancient Forerunner warrior, from meditative hibernation within his Cryptum. Easily disabling John with his powerful abilities, the Didact declared the return of the Forerunners as the galaxy's rulers and saviors. Humanity remained weak and unworthy in his eyes of inheriting the Mantle of Responsibility

Master Chief Death Scene 4K ULTRA HD - Halo Cinematic

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]

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.[40] 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]".[41] 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.[42][43][44] In the forthcoming Halo television series, the character is played by Pablo Schreiber.[45] 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.[46]

The character appears outside Halo canon, with guest appearances as a playable character in the Xbox One version of Super Bomberman R,[47] and a player skin in the battle royale game Fortnite.[48] 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".[49]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).[50] The character is referenced in Rooster Teeth Productions' Halo-based machinima parody series Red vs. Blue.[51]

Influences and analysis[edit]

IGN saw in the Master Chief elements of Jon 6725416, a character in Christopher Rowley's novel Starhammer.[52] Other reviewers have suggested that the name John-117 could be a Biblical reference.[53][52] 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."[54]

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.[55]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.[56] 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.[56] 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.[57]

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".[58] 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.[59][60][61] Several action figures of the character have been created to market of the Halo series, including lines by McFarlane,[62][63]Jazwares,[64] 1000toys,[65] and Mega Bloks. One2One collectibles produced 1:2 scale busts of the Master Chief.[66]

Marketing for the video games focused heavily on the character of the Master Chief, including "The Museum",[67] part of Halo 3's "Believe" campaign,[68] the Halo 4 live-action trailer "Scanned",[69]Halo 5's Hunt the Truth, and Infinite's "Become" campaign.[70] 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."[72]


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".[73][74][75] Master Chief has been called the de facto symbol for the Xbox console, Microsoft, and for a generation of gamers.[75][76][77][78] 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.[79] 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,[80]Empire,[81]GamesRadar,[82]Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition,[83]Complex,[84] and Time.[85]IGN suggested that the dramatic death of the character could be one of the most powerful events in gaming.[86] The faceless nature of the character has alternatively been praised and criticized,[87] with the character called overrated.[88] 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.[89] 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".[90]

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.[78] 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.[74][91][92]

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.[93]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.[94] O'Connor promised the studio would refocus on Chief in future media.[95]


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External links[edit]


Face john 117

Halo 4 Gave Fans A (Brief) Look At Master Chief's Face

Master Chief is one of gaming's most iconic video game protagonists and Halo 4 finally gave fans a (very) brief look at his face.

Halo 4 gave fans of the long-running series a (very) brief look at Master Chief's face. The first Halo had a major impact on the first-person shooter genre, with mechanics like regenerating health and the ability to only carry two weapons soon becoming staples of other FPS titles. It also included great multiplayer modes, a fleshed-out universe and an instant icon in the main character Master Chief John-117. The success of the first title guaranteed a sequel, with Halo 2 quickly following in 2004.

The Halo series is now a gaming mainstay and has produced spinoff novels, anime movie Halo Legends and even live-action shows like Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. While there were once plans for Neill Blomkamp to direct a live-action Halo movie with Peter Jackson producing, the project collapsed over funding issues and the duo made District 9 instead. After Halo's original developer Bungie left, 343 Industries took over the brand. Their stewardship has met with mixed responses from fans, with later entries considered inferior to the original games.

Related: Why Mike Colter Didn't Return For Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians was generally considered a solid shooter, though longtime followers were unhappy with Master Chief being sidelined in favor of new protagonist Jameson Locke. In terms of status, Master Chief's recognizability is up there with the likes of Metal Gear's Solid Snake or Mario, and one of his most defining features is.. well, his lack of features.

Since the first Halo, Master Chief has donned a helmet and his face has never been fully revealed. This only adds to John-117's mystique but while Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto revealed that early in the game's development there were sketches of a helmetless Chief - revealing he's littered with scars and bald - the series has resisted the temptation to show his face. The closest fans have gotten, and likely ever will get, to seeing what Chief looks like is the "Legendary" ending of Halo 4. This is unlocked when players finish the game on the tough Legendary mode, and the final shot has John stripped of his armor, with a tight close-up of his eyes seen when the helmet is taken off.

Fan response to this Halo 4 ending was pretty mixed, and it thankfully didn't lead to a full face reveal for the fifth game. It would be a mistake for the franchise at this stage to reveal Chief's true face, as it could never live up to expectations. Fans of comic character Judge Dredd were upset when the Sylvester Stallone movie had Dredd take his helmet off almost immediately - something that never happens in the comic. Dredd from 2012 fixed this mistake with Karl Urban's title character keeping the helmet on throughout. Hopefully, the forthcoming Halo TV series, starring Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, will follow this example.

Next: Halo: Reach Guide: Where to Find ALL 19 Datapad Locations


Elden Ring Trailer Could Be Shown Publicly Soon

About The Author
Padraig Cotter (3190 Articles Published)

It’s pronounced Paw-rick, not Pad-raig. Now that’s out of the way, a brief introduction. Padraig has been writing about film online since 2012, when a friend asked if he’d like to contribute the occasional review or feature to their site. A part-time hobby soon blossomed into a career when he discovered he really loved writing about movies, TV and video games – he even (arguably) had a little bit of talent for it. He has written words for Den of Geek, Collider, The Irish Times and Screen Rant over the years, and can discuss anything from the MCU - where Hawkeye is clearly the best character - to the most obscure cult b-movie gem, and his hot takes often require heat resistant gloves to handle. He's super modern too, so his favorite movies include Jaws, Die Hard, The Thing, Ghostbusters and Batman. He can be found as i_Padds on Twitter making bad puns.

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Halo 4: Master Chief's Face Legendary Ending

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Igor pressed a member between the halves of my ass while wiping my back. Then he turned his back on me. I gently pressed my cock exactly into the hollow between the halves of his ass, wiping his back.

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