The Halo series is a landmark set of video games that began in 2001 on the original Xbox. It follows the epic struggle of survival between the human race and the Covenant Empire, an alien alliance that seeks to wipe out humanity entirely. The Covenant, as per usual with hostile alien forces, is vastly superior in terms of technology and sheer numbers. The Covenant worships the ancient Forerunner race, and believes that humans are abominations who are purposely hiding Forerunner artifacts from the empire.
Part of the horror of the human-Covenant war is that not only do the aliens destroy humanity wherever they find it, they also use their weapons to bombard a planet. This destructive act turns the entire surface of the planet into glass, and is isn't survivable for any remaining life there. The player begins this story 27 years into the war, where The Pillar of Autumn is fleeing the Covenant with a wild slip space jump after the aliens have glassed the planet of Reach.
Gamers take on the role of the Master Chief, a super soldier who is the last of his kind. Equipped with the powerful Mjolnir armour and joined by the sarcastic AI Cortana, Chief fights through the Covenant and a brand new threat that threatens to destroy everything in the galaxy. Until the novels set in this universe came out, the Master Chief was a cool but mysterious figure in the eyes of gamers everywhere. Now that the official novels are available, many interesting facts have come to light concerning this awesome stoic figure, and today we're going to have a look at 25 strange facts about the Master Chief that only fans would know.
25 Starting Out Literally Small
The Chief's life wasn't always so full of cool action sequences and awesome explosions. He had to work his way up to there first. The Master Chief first began his training to become the gruff super soldier we all know and love today at a mere 6 years old. He was inducted as part of the United Naval Space Command's Spartan II program to create a generation of elite warriors. In order to do this, they started their candidates as young as they could.
There are several reasons that they chose to do this. First and foremost, they wanted to essentially brainwash their candidates to become the perfect soldiers, instilling their every waking moment with military discipline and values. They also needed their new army to become masters of both strategy and fighting techniques early on, so that they can be continued to be honed well into their adulthood.
Interestingly, though each future Spartan was taken at a young age without their consent or knowledge until it was too late, they were never lied to about their origin. Dr. Halsey, the lead scientist in this program, chose to tell the candidates outright that they were in fact abducted. She did, however, as part of their efforts to brainwash did assure them that they were there in order to make the worlds a better place. Halsey, we should really talk about your moral compass.
24 Could Really Use A Tan
Anyone who rarely goes outside if they can help it can probably relate to this, even if not so much to the same degree. When your skin isn't exposed to sunlight much for a very long time, in can get quite pale. As a result, it can burn much easier in sunlight and burn the eyes of anyone who sees pale skin reflecting all sorts of sunlight off of it. Well, gamers with this issue can rejoice, because one of their favourite heroes suffers from the same problem. That's right: The Master Chief could really, really do with a tan.
As it turns out, wearing the Mjolnir armour almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week for decades has the same effect on skin as with any shut-in.
The Master Chief in the novels, when not wearing his armour, is described as being pale. As in, noticeably, unnaturally so.
This is somewhat understandable, as he was specifically trained to wear the Mjolnir armour, so he would be expected to wear it like a favourite outfit all the time. Unfortunately, in spite of his obviously muscular physique, he wouldn't be exactly welcome at the beach out of his armour any time soon. That is, if he would actually ever unwind in the first place.
23 Not Exactly His First Career Choice
As we've already mentioned, the Chief was abducted by his government to become part of the Spartant-II program, along with 150 other candidates. He was first scoped out by Dr. Halsey, who visited him in secret on his home planet shortly before he was taken. After introducing herself as just a friendly stranger, she gives him a simple eye test by showing him an old American quarter. She holds it at arms length, and asks him to tell her what is on the coin. The Master Chief to be correctly tells her that it sports an eagle holding arrows.
She then gives him a second test: Halsey would flip the coin, and if he guessed which side it would face up, he would keep the coin. The young boy guess correctly that the side with the eagle would land face up, and Halsey knew that she had chosen the right candidate. It is never discussed what the Chief would have preferred to have become when he grew up, but what we do know is that he was never given any kind of choice in the matter.
22 His Secret Name
For years after the debut of the game series, fans and in-game characters always referred to the super soldier as "The Master Chief" or just "Chief". Until the novels set in the universe came out, the true name of the Chief was just a mystery. This was even parodied in certain pop culture shows. Robot Chicken did a skit where the Master Chief was home with his parents, where they wore the same armour and went about their daily lives. Instead of calling him by a proper name, or even "Chief", they hilariously referred to him as "Master", as if it was his first name. The novelization of the series changed all this.
Not only did we find out that he had a designation number, he actually had a real name to go by, even if it was just his first name. That name is simply John, and his designation number is 117.
While it may seem like a small detail to some, the idea of finally putting a name to a face plate felt like quite victory for fans everywhere. Even better, the novels helped to not only reveal his early history, but also his inner thoughts inside that helmet as well.
21 He Wasn't Always Perfect
To say that the training for these young Spartans was brutal is a serious understatement. Not only were they dragged from their homes while they slept, only to wake up to a strange new environment with only cold adults around, they also were shown no mercy even as children. This was no better shown than the very first exercise they were forced to complete on their first day. After a long, long day filled with gruelling physical training and classes on history and military strategy, the group of future Spartans are taken to a large, playground-like structure that is really an obstacle course.
This structure has a bell and the children are put into groups that would be running through the course together. They are instructed to reach the bell, ring it, and slide down the metal pole to complete their day. The last one to ring the bell however would not be given anything to eat that night. When the whistle is blown, John already has a path mapped out, and immediately takes off. He breezes through each obstacle, as is the very first child to reach it. Only problem is that he didn't do it with his squad and they are the last ones to ring the bell, causing him and the rest to not eat dinner that night.
20 Not The Lone Wolf We Know And Love
For most of the game series, we follow the Chief on mostly solo missions. You fight through hoards of aliens to reach your goal, and look awesome doing it. Occasionally, you are sent into a mission with several other squad members to help you out. Unfortunately for them, the game hasn't exactly taught you how to actually fight with this squad. This usually means that you have very few, if any, squad members remaining by the end of the mission.
The novelization actually flips this entirely on its head. While heading through what most players will remember as the first area on the Halo ring world, the Chief is beset by several aliens. The novel puts this encounter in a new light however and has the fight turn into a full on ambush. John, you see, is actually trained and used to fighting with a squad of other soldiers. The fact that he was used to other members watching his flank worked entirely against him, and actually almost caused him to lose.
19 Should Probably Try The Lottery
The novels reveal something else extremely interesting about John. During his training, his teachers analyzed their recruits and tried to figure out which one of them would become the best. Dr. Halsey, the lead scientist, surmised that it would be John who would become the best. Sergeant Mendez, the lead instructor, didn't agree however. He had noticed John's lone wolf tendencies, and saw that he still had a mind of his own. In Medez's mind, it would be the Spartan called Kurt who would become the best.
What's interesting is the fact that a scientist like Halsey didn't see John as being the smartest, fastest, or strongest either. What she did see in him, however, was luck. Things simply had a tendency to go John's way, even if not in the way that was intended. John, however, is a practical person himself. He is well aware that most consider him a very lucky person. He himself though doesn't believe in luck. He simply believes in being as prepared as you can and doing your best in order to make the world go your way.
18 Not His Intended Use
The Covenant war has been going on for 27 years by the time we first begin to play the first Halo game. Considering how long this is, and the rather misleading motto from the box art that states that John has been "bread for battle, bread for war," it's understandable to assume that the Chief was created specifically to battle the alien invasion. He certainly fights them as if that was the case. He even manages to destroy the Covenant Armada by the end of the first game. In a rather horrifying twist though, fighting aliens was not his or the other Spartan's original purpose.
Unfortunately, not every human wanted to be underneath the thumb of the United Space Command. Several groups decided to break off and create their own colonies deep in space, and the guys in charge weren't too happy about this. They fought with these rogue groups to bring them back into the fold, even calling them rebels. This was when they decided to create the Spartan II program as a measure to fight them. It was only a coincidence that the Covenant showed up after the Spartans became operational.
17 The Chief Had A Doppelganger
When the government of the future decides that they want a group of super soldiers, then they intend to get their super soldiers. Even if it means doing evil things to make it happen. John was abducted from his home in order to become part of the military, but considering that 150 other children would also be involuntarily conscripted, the government decided that they didn't want the parents to go looking for their children afterwards.
Once they took John, they used cloning technology, which is usually reserved for recreating body parts and other small things, to create a full clone of the missing children. These clones were left behind to live out their lives to keep the parents from suspecting a thing. The last thing the government needed was not only their little project coming to light, but also the parents raising a stink over their children being taken from them.
16 His Flash Clone Wasn't Made To Last
Flash cloning in the Halo universe isn't exactly a perfect science. The purpose of this method is to quickly grow organs, and in some cases limbs, in order to save injured persons. This tech was mainly intended for the battlefield, and actually was meant as a sort of advanced first aid to get a soldier to survive until they could make it to a real medical facility. Cloning a full person was never it's intended use.
These clones were never intended to last long, however.
They were well known to suffer neurological damage after a few years and end. The Space Command used this to their advantage, as they knew that parents wouldn't be likely to suspect anything and go looking for their real children. This project had to be kept secret, after all. The idea of hundreds of parents suddenly losing their children to an unforeseeable complication is horrifying on many levels, and the fact that the government did this makes it even worse.
15 The Training Alone Wasn't Good Enough
After 8 years of gruelling physical training, the Spartans were described as having the bodies of Olympic athletes at a mere twelve years old. While this by itself is amazing to consider, the UNSC didn't consider this good enough for what they were intended. So when the young Spartans were fourteen years old, they were given a new test to overcome: being enhanced with experimental chemicals and implants.
These weeks in John's life were terrible, as he and many others were in constant pain as their bodies began to change. By the end, the surviving Spartans were exceedingly fast, much stronger than before, their reflexes were extremely honed, and their bones were nigh unbreakable. Where they were considered the best of the best before, the experiments made them almost unstoppable on the battlefield. Not all the Spartans got to enjoy these new enhancements to their bodies, unfortunately.
14 One Of Few
After years of training, a great diet, and a solid education, for many young Spartans, it all ended for them while being enhanced. The chemicals and experiments were highly untested and that of course did not bode well for the poor children being put under them. Sadly, 150 were put under, and only 33 came out still fully operational.
Only 33 made it to become full on Spartans, while all the rest were never given a chance to use all their training.
Even more horrifying is the fact that there were more survivors of these experiments. Except that these poor kids were left so damaged and disabled afterwards that only a few were actually left with all their mental faculties. These ones were sent to go use their skills as part of the Intelligence branch. That is really the only silver lining to that tragedy. After all that hard work, after all the horrifying things those children suffered, many still were gone without ever having used their skills.
13 Too Lucky For His Own Good
We've already discussed how John is considered the luckiest of all the Spartans. This is entirely in spite of the fact that he doesn't believe in luck. Well, whether he liked it or not, his luck seemed to stick with him even at an early age. Like most children his age, John liked to go to the arcade and play games. By the time that Dr. Halsey goes to meet him, however, his luck has managed to land him in a bit of trouble with the arcade.
He tells Dr. Halsey that he is no longer allowed to play certain games at the arcade anymore because he's just too good. It isn't entirely clear whether he means that the arcade itself won't let him or if the other children won't let him play. Either way, his luck has a funny way of both helping and hindering him. This is probably why John stops believing in luck later in life.
12 Ironically Had A Lone Wolf Mindset As A Child
Those in the military are taught to work in teams. Working together is simply a staple of a modern day successful army. 500 years into the future, this mindset is still very much in practice. The Spartans being trained are being taught to work and rely on each other as one extended team and family. Unfortunately, John didn't have the idea of working with others as a child. This was very much shown on his first day of training on Reach, where he left his entire team behind in order to get to the bell first.
Now, the way that the novel talks about this shows that it was likely that leaving his team behind was intentional. Whether he simply wasn't listening to the instructor, or the instructor wasn't entirely clear, is a touch ambiguous. The result is still the same, however, and in spite of knowing that he is a part of a group, he entirely races ahead without them, determined to win. This of course doesn't exactly work out.
11 Putting CrossFit To Shame
The physical portion of Spartan Training is tough enough to make a Navy Seal sweat just reading about it. Dozens and dozens of push-ups, jumping jacks, and burpees are completed by the six year olds first thing in the morning, before they even think about breakfast. Imagine, however, being kidnapped and then waking up to doing this. A large group of sleepy six year olds paired with their own unfeeling adult to encourage them.
"Encourage" on Reach however has a more brutal meaning. As John is standing among his confused new family in cold early morning, they are given the command to start their jumping jacks. Understandably, a good deal of these kids, including John, stand about and stare back at their instructor with confusion. Their hesitation is rewarded with the adult next to them simply taze-ing them until they participate. The entire sequence of these events is skin crawling, and would make even someone who hates kids want to give those poor young Spartans a hug.
10 He Initially Didn't Want To Work With Cortana
When the Spartan's were first starting to be made ready for their first real missions, they not only received special armour, but were also going to be grouped with an AI to aid them. In the Halo universe, AI are categorized as either "smart" or "dumb". Of course, no AI is stupid, but a dumb AI has far less capability and processing power as a smart one. Cortana is considered a "smart" AI, as is revealed to be in many ways a mental clone of Dr. Halsey.
At the time that John and Cortana first meet, his signature Mjolnir armour is still in its testing phase. Unfortunately, the armour is regularly injuring any un-enhanced human who puts it on and is on track to be discontinued. Halsey decides to have John take it for a test, as part of the test to take Cortana with him in his armour.
John, who doesn't necessarily have a problem with AI, prefers to not have to have a voice in his head that he may have to argue with and tell him what to do.
He is reluctant to try the armour with Cortana, and during the initial exercise, they in fact have a great difficulty in working together.
9 Did Not Know His Own Strength
As anyone can imagine, waking up much stronger and faster than you ever were before can be a bit of a shock even if you are expecting it. For weeks after they completed the enhancements, Spartans were regularly collapsing and breaking things as they adjusted to their new bodies. During this time, they were encouraged to hit the gym to help them get used to their strength and speed. During one of these training sessions, John is surprised to find that his reflexes had sped up to the point of easily catching a pin from a weight set in midair after dropping it. While leaving the gym feeling disturbed, he is confronted by some soldiers, who were nearly injured after John forgot to replace the pin he had dropped while he was lost in thought.
A nearby sergeant sees the incident, and orders them to sort out their differences in the nearby boxing ring. What happens afterwards leaves everyone in the room in shock, including John himself. He easily defeats the men he's fighting, who are themselves super tough and seasoned soldiers each with a chip on their shoulder. John never means to actually fully hurt them, just to subdue. His new strength makes him do otherwise though. Instead of simply subduing them, John accidentally ends two of the soldiers and sends the rest to the hospital with serious injuries.
8 Smarter Than He Looks
Anyone who knows anything about fighting knows full well that physical strength, speed, and skill only account for so much on the battlefield. In order to regularly win, it helps to be smart as well. The UNSC took this to heart when training their Spartans. Not only were they sent through brutal physical training, they also were given a great deal of actual education as well. They learned all there was to know about the original Spartans of Sparta, who their entire program was inspired by. They learned all sorts of military strategy, as well as science, physics, and mathematics as well.
This is partly displayed during the scene where John drops the pin in the weight room. As it falls, and he notices that it seems slower than usual, he decides to do some simple math. His first suspicion is that the pin is actually falling slowing than usual. He picks up the pin, uses his watch timer, and drops it while timing it. He realizes that the pin is indeed falling at normal speed, and is shocked to realize just how fast his reflexes are now.
7 A Long Way From Home
John was certainly never born into the life of a soldier. As they say, the life of a soldier chose him. He and 149 other children were brought to the military planet of Reach in order to train, but he certainly wasn't born there. The Master Chief was born on a planet called Eridanus II. He lived there quite happily with his family in Elysium city. Not much is really talked about in concerns to his home life.
What we do know about his youth is the fact that he was good in school, had at least one notable exploit under his belt even at 6 years old, and that he was banned by his local arcade.
He was brought to Halsey's attention after that incident. Other than that, players aren't given much more information about him.
6 A Hero From A Young Age
It would seem that John had heroic tendencies even from a young age. Even before John ever became part of the Spartan Program, he saved a childhood friend from drowning in Lake Gusev. In a rather adorable twist, he promised to marry and protect that friend, who happened to be a girl. Of course, this never came to pass, but the idea of the Master Chief wanting to marry anyone is a funny thought.
The girl's father, who must have also thought this was sweet, and of course was extremely grateful that John saved his daughter's life, took a photo of the two together. Now Lieutenant Parisia, the girl that John had saved, keeps the photo as a memento of her childhood long after thinking that John had passed. Of course, John is still alive and well, and it was his flash clone that passed instead.
5 Not A Stickler For Orders
One would think that someone being raised and brainwashed by the military since they were six years old would be very quick to obey orders without question. During a training exercise where the now 8 year old Spartans were dropped down randomly into a large wilderness, they were directed to find a drop ship in order to leave and return back. The last one to the ship would be left behind.One by one, they began meeting each other, and after a while found all of them. Together, they decided to find this drop ship and leave.
When they do find the drop ship, they see strange men surrounding the ship, and assume that the ship was stolen. Of course, these men were just soldiers out of uniform, but they were armed, and the children didn't realize this. Working together, they pummel the soldiers with stones and injure them badly. All the other Spartans are there however, and even knowing that he is disobeying orders, John orders them on, and is the last to board as they commandeer the ship and fly home. For disobeying orders, he is promoted to Squad Leader.
4 Older Than Expected
Unsurprisingly, such a mysterious character is going to have all sorts of speculation on how old he really is, especially when no one had officially seen his face in the game yet. The novels do in fact clear this up, but at the same time still leaves some ambiguity about John's true age. He is directly stated to be 46 in Earth years, which might surprise a few fans considering that he is quite spry for someone who is almost 50 years old.
He might in fact be older though, in terms of aging, for several reasons. The first would be the fact that he has spent about four years in slip space. Slip space is an alternate dimension that humanity uses to send their ships through, which seems to make real space "closer" somehow. It essentially is the Halo universe's version of hyperspace travel. Time works much differently here, and in some cases, crews are put into cryosleep for long haul trips, which slows the aging process to a crawl. So it's difficult to say for certain what his "true age" really is.
3 One Tall Guy
One of the notable features about John is the fact that he is actually exceedingly tall, even from a young age. Dr. Halsey notes that the young boy is actually a full head above his classmates. This only seems to keep going as he grows older. By the time that he finishes this enhancements at 14, John is around 6 feet. This is before he has finished growing entirely. As a full adult, John is a staggering 6' 10" without his signature armour on.
With his armour equipped, he is over 7 feet tall. There's no doubt that he would be intimidating with or without his armour on. It is probably a disappointment for any vertically challenged gamers out there who were hoping that he would be much smaller without his armour.
2 Cortana's First Choice
Cortana is a unique AI in many interesting ways. For one thing, she was born from the mind of Dr. Halsey, who herself is a genius. Cortana is actually in many was a mental clone of the morally ambiguous doctor who proposed and designed the Spartan II program. Not only is she gifted with Halsey's smarts and the inherent genius off all AI, Cortana is also what is called a smart AI, which is a rarer and more enhanced version of a regular AI.
With all that said, it become very notable that the Chief was personally chosen by Cortana when she was given the option to pick which Spartan she would be working with for her mission.
Hers and the Chief's directive was to capture the Covenant prophets, in hops that they could bribe them into ending the war. After combing through the files of the remaining Spartans, Cortana ended up choosing the Chief for her mission as she felt that he had enough luck to get them through.
1 Becoming Part Of History
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world. Founded by the famous wax sculptor of the same name, it has featured many startlingly life-like figures made entirely out of wax and other materials for visitors to enjoy. The vast majority of the figures have been royalty, politicians, and famous celebrities. The Master Chief however made history by being the first ever video game character to be inducted into the museum.
First displayed in 2007, the Master Chief is notable because he is breaking a barrier. Many adults have had a difficult time taking video game characters as a whole seriously. Most of the time, they are considered too cartoonish or childish to be included in anything serious. For the first time however, video games are finally being included in modern history on a serious level. We can't wait to see who else makes it into Madame Tussaud's!