343 Industries On Master Chief Removing His Helmet in Halo: It Had To Feel ‘Earned And Meaningful’

Spoilers ahead for episode 1 of Paramount+’s Halo TV series.

343 Industries community writer Alex Wakeford has shared a bit of the thought process on Master Chief removing his helmet in Paramount+’s Halo series, revealing that “it had to be a moment that was earned and meaningful.”

While we knew before the series aired that Master Chief would be removing his helmet – which had never been done in the games – it was still one of the biggest and most divisive moments in the series’ first episode.

The team behind the series took the creation of this moment very seriously and felt the jump from games to TV allowed for it to make sense narratively as there was a distinct shift from playing as Master Chief to watching his story unfold.

The games are a place where you can “step into the boots of humanity’s greatest hero while playing as him and see through his eyes.” This means Master Chief is a “vessel for your adventure” and allows players from all over the world to become the one who saves the day.

“That sense of ownership—or ‘shared authority’—of the character really derives itself from the interactive framework that defines video games as a medium,” Wakeford wrote. “The player is given agency to act upon the world given to them, that freedom gives a unique sense of ‘co-creating’ the story to some extent because you are a part of it. That is the heart of what gaming is, because if you ask a dozen people about how they handled a single encounter you’ll probably hear a dozen different stories.”

Television, on the other hand, is a “totally different medium to video games” and that changes the approach to how a story is told and how the viewer experiences it.

“The participatory, interactive aspect that defines gaming is not there, which—much like the books, comics, and other media over the last twenty years—brings its own challenges and opportunities for telling a great Halo story and a great drama,” Wakeford said. “Revealing the Chief’s face was one of those things.”

Speaking of reveals, Master Chief’s face is shown in the first episode. It isn’t some shocking revelation that builds for many episodes or a mind-blowing moment, it was a key part of telling the story and showing Master Chief’s humanity.

“A moment like this is not a plot point or even explicitly a ‘reveal’ of what he looks like, but a means to tell his story. It had to be a moment that was earned and meaningful. This is also part of why it happens in the first episode: it’s not a twist, it’s a mission statement.”

Having the face reveal happen in the first episode also sets the stage for the rest of the eight-episode season.

“This exciting moment sets the stage for a new Halo story that will be told over the next eight episodes about identity and self-discovery; about systems and morality, and to whom you are loyal (whether that be to yourself, your past, your colleagues, your beliefs); and about what—in the circumstances of the Silver Timeline—it truly means to be human,” Wakeford concluded.

For more on Halo, check out our review of the first episode, a history of Halo’s hard-fought battle to TV, and Master Chief actor Pablo Shcreiber’s thoughts on showing his character’s face.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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