Here’s Why Master Chief’s Going To Look Different In Halo 4

Here’s Why Master Chief’s Going To Look Different In Halo 4

343 Industries, you so sneaky. We’ve already noticed that the Microsoft division tasked with the future of all things Halo debuted the new look of the sci-fi shooter series’ hero at Toy Fair 2012. And the Chief’s new duds are quite different. Leaner, meaner and perhaps more aerodynamic.

Since we’ve gotten a good look at the new armour of the last Spartan, the official Halo site’s been updated with the thinking behind the re-design:

In Halo 4, we are interested in doing something the franchise does well on the book side, and that’s helping shape the narrative. Halo is a compelling and deep universe, and we want to tell the story of this bio-engineered super-soldier.

One of the Master Chief’s most notable physical characteristics is that he’s wearing 800 pounds of tank and jet fighter. So we pulled that design into the armour and HUD. When you play Halo 4, it’s important you understand that you’re more than just a gun on the screen. To give you that feeling, we have represented that weight with player physics, without interrupting crosshair and shooting accuracy.

When we first looked at the Chief’s armour, we studied what was done in Reach. We knew he needed to be understood as a nimble yet heavy superhero, and contrast that with Reach armour design that was more on the bulky side. Our goal is to hit that sweet spot where we represent what is fictionally true about the Chief while making sure you feel like you’re a super-powerful human being when you’re playing him.

Further comments from from senior art director Kenneth Scott go a little deeper:

A big focus on the Chief’s armour was his physicality and putting the player in those mighty shoes. Getting that weight across in the design had us looking at a lot of contemporary military vehicles, and we pushed detail and form into the armour that implied that history. This is the bleeding edge of military technology.

A Spartan tossing his chest plate should feel like an anvil dropping….

A Spartan sprinting across concrete should be a stealthy whisper….

Putting on your helmet should feel like powering up an F-15E….

These are the sorts of experiences we want to give the players.

The visual re-branding of Master Chief makes sense from a different angle, too. The slimmer Chief silhouette symbolizes the new development studio behind Halo now that Bungie’s said goodbye to their armor-plated baby boy. Make sure he eats, 343. We hear he like his Brute burgers done medium well.

The Halo Bulletin: 2.15.12 [Halo Waypoint]



  • actually don’t mind this redesign,
    but as a fan of the story cannon, i’m interested to see if they’re going to explain why his armor looks different or if it’ll be done by “ze magicz”

    either way, hopefully the Halo franchise will get it’s second wind from these new design perspectives

    • Creative license. Protagonists always inexplicably learn new abilities and forget old ones between games!

      Kind of (well not really) like how in Harry Potter book 4 there is this massive worldwide wizard tournament that is really amazing and special, yet no one had ever mentioned it in books 1 to 3.

      • that’s very true, although at least in Halo 2 they sorta explained, “oh hey new armor cause you messed up the old one” but i understand where you’re coming from… not that it really matters to me, if the game is solid, which i hope it will be

      • Like Pokemon.

        Somehow between halo 1 and 2 there was an international treaty that banned the use of the M6D Pistol. Otherwise known as the ultimate killing machine

        • My biggest issue was the trailer….where the HELL did he pull a JETPACK from?

          That wasn’t even on board in Halo1-3….but that’s just me

      • I imagine that’s probably more because the triwizard tournament had been abandonned for two centuries and ergo probably not something that came up in conversation too much.

        • ok, that jetpack is actually a thruster with low power only to be used in zero-G.

          He had the same thing on him the whole stinkin time in Halo 2, and 3

  • I’m of the opinion that his loins are a bit overexposed… The least they could’ve done is armour up his undies!

  • I love how in halo 3, at the start, sergeant Johnson helps master chief out of the ground, despite him weighing 800 odd pounds

  • I personally love his new armour. It look’s far more superior and more unique then Halo 1-3 armour. He look’s more like a beast a demon you would not look into the eye’s of. In Halo 3 he looked more like a mixed marine/Biker now he actually looks like a super-soldier. Congratulations to 343, so far im already damn impressed !!

  • I hated this design when I first laid eyes on it, but like in Pokemon black and White, the starters all sucked, and the only one that caught my attention was serperior. I just grew to love the design over time. like right now with the Master Chief

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