When you look back over the years, few heroes are as important as Master Chief. The Xbox needed their own mascot. Nintendo had Mario and Link. PlayStation had Crash Bandicoot and Sackboy. When Microsoft launched the original Xbox in 2001, Halo was their first big title. Along with the launch of the console, Master Chief was there in the beginning, shipping with thousands of consoles around the world. Now, 20 years on, we await the release of the sixth main entry in the Halo saga.
So much has happened since the cybernetically enhanced super soldier first started shooting up members of the Covenant and driving Warthogs like a motherfucker. We’ve seen many other key characters enter the world of video games, from Solid Snake and Kratos, to Marcus Fenix and Aloy. With so many phenomenal games flooding the market every year, is Halo still relevant? Do people still care about the Master Chief? Does anyone actually want another Halo game?
Is Halo still relevant?: The legacy of Master Chief
For many, Halo 5: Guardians was a former shell of what made the series so special. Even with Halo 4, it felt like the shine on the green suit of the Chief was slowly getting old and dirty. The joy from light and tight gameplay fused with the freedom players had controlling Microsoft’s golden boy was waning. Regardless of the ill feelings gamers had towards Halo, there’s no denying how impactful and important the original trilogy was. Personally, and that is what this article is about, I enjoyed what 343 did. They weren’t quite as good as the first three, but they still held my interest.
Despite 343 Industries playing it safe with Halo 5: Guardians, the next instalment has a lot to prove. Watching the first trailer at E3 2018, I got goosebumps. I mean, it’s the Master Chief! No matter what I thought about the previous titles, when that music hits and the familiarity of watching Halo in a new setting kicks in, the hype instantly took control. Since then, the release date has been delayed. Originally a launch title, we’re still without it, but it’s so close now, we can almost taste it.
I have a lot of fond memories playing Halo. Obviously, the first time with Halo: Combat Evolved was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Halo 2 built on the spectacle of the original, and provided one hell of a sequel. I played both of them with my dad, and we had a great time exploring this special new world together. After a night out drinking, I played the entirety of Halo 3 with my friend online, nursing a hangover but having a fucking blast. These memories will be with me forever, and they are part of why I’m still excited to play another main entry in the Halo series.
Wondering whether or not Halo is still relevant really comes down to the individual. If players didn’t want another Halo, it wouldn’t be made. If interest was lacking, 343 would turn their attention elsewhere. With a solid online multiplayer, my only concern is that that is where the focus will be going forward. The technical Test of the free-to-play aspect of Infinite has seemingly gone down well. That said, I hope it means there’s not less of a focus on the campaign. A lot of people including myself are still invested in the story of the Master Chief.
Is Halo still relevant?: Love conquers all
Although little is known about the story in Halo Infinite, it is said to be “much more human,” according to Microsoft. The Master Chief is said to play more of a role as well. Massively important, if you ask me. With Cortana’s rampancy in full effect and her controlling the Guardians along with the majority of AI, John-117 has a lot to do. Their relationship has been at the heart of everything. Whether they’ve been trying to obliterate the Flood or destroy the Didact, Chief and Cortana have been the bread and butter throughout.
Whether led by nostalgia or hope for a satisfying end to the ‘Reclaimer Saga,’ I believe Halo is more than relevant in 2021. It’s been one hell of a ride for Master Chief. Slaying hundreds of aliens, uncovering the mysteries of the Forerunners, and saving the digitised woman he loves, the world’s most loved Spartan still holds a huge place in my heart. Halo is one of the most popular series of games for a reason. Although many may play for the multiplayer, I am more invested in the story. When Halo Infinite releases, I am going to be right there, saving the galaxy once again. Thanks for the memories, Chief!
This article was originally published on Aug 9, 2021.