The most shocking moment in Halo infinite is not about exploding an abandoned old space station or accidentally waking up a once dormant threat. It is a brief exchange between two main characters, one that reveals the extent to which glory the protagonist Master Chief would go to fulfill what he sees as his unwavering duty. That’s a lot to work on. Let’s talk about it.
Large spoilers follow Halo infinite.
IN Halo infinite‘s campaign that hit the Xbox and PC on December 8, you’re not alone. For most of the story, you are accompanied by a recognized artificial intelligence unit known as the Weapon, which bears a strong resemblance to Cortana, Chiefs’ longtime AI companion and no doubt the heart of glory. (Funny fact: Both characters are voiced by Jen Taylor, who was also the voice of Dr. Catherine Halsey, the scientist on whom Cortana is based, in the past glory media.)
On paper, the Weapon’s mission was to erase Cortana, which committed a whole lot of genocide between 6 p.m. Halo 5 and Halo infinite. The weapon apparently succeeded some time before the events of Halo infinite. There is only one notch: When checking-all-deleting Cortana, the weapon should also self-destruct. So yes, there is a mystery on the way, and it is quickly made clear that Chief knows more than he gives in – both explicitly in conversation with the weapon and, as a direct result of these chats, implicitly to the player – but just what it is that he stays so close until his chest is shrouded in secrecy.
“That kind of more simplistic view of the game is: Chief is on a mission to kill his best friend, and then something went wrong.” Halo infinite associate creative director Paul Crocker told Kotaku in a recent interview. “And then you have to start looking at it through the lens of, ‘Well, what did the boss know? Why does the Weapon not know everything? There must be a reason for all these things.'”
There is. But before you know it, you’re on a mission that culminates in the Chief trying to erase the weapon – which, to repeat, has been your sidekick for most of the game. Here’s a clip showing both the first time he’s considering deleting the weapon, and then the second time he’s actually trying to go through with it:
“You slowly unlock the reasons why Chief acted the way he has, albeit in a subtle way, throughout the game,” Crocker said.
In the wake of Chiefs’ betrayal, there is a tangible albeit very understandable tension between the main duo. The third main character, a stranded engineer known as the Pilot, openly wonders where the teasing between Chief and the Weapon ended. It’s not total silence, but dialogue is largely limited to just a few superficial lines that serve as player instruction.
“Of course, [Halo Infinite]”There’s a game that has a lot of lines that we have for players who have lost or whatever because we were just trying to make it easy to play,” said Crocker. (The solution: Below the post-bomb level, Taylor is sharp and sarcastic, even condescending, in his delivery of the weapon’s lines.)
You eventually learn why Master Chief did as he did. Infinite reveals, using holograms, that the weapon is a replica of Cortana, who had recently spent his free time destroying cities and planets. The fail-safe code Chief repeats, once during the mission “Sequence” and once shortly after, is there to prevent the weapon from getting into a similar habit. After learning this, the weapon even urges the Chief to delete her. He says he does not want to, and he openly admits that he does not trust the Weapon, but notices that he wants to – and then everything is back to the peach and gravy. It solves a great mystery at its core Halo infinite (that the player is not familiar with the same story as Chief is), though I would argue that it lets Chief get away a little too easily.
Still, no matter what you think about the twist, there is the unassailable fact that you spend about an hour on it Halo infinite not as an unchanging, steel-nosed super-soldier, but as one who is very willing to murder a partner without explanation. There is a piece of Halo infinite where it’s really hard to occupy the boots of the Master Chief. For a character who has spent two decades as a cipher – like a blank whiteboard that players can project on – it’s a shocking turnaround. You play, I dare say, like the evil guy, at least for a fleeting moment.
“I hope people … maybe ‘like’ is the wrong word, [but I hope] it affects people while they play because people again want Chief to be this hero, but they also want him to have some complications, ”Crocker said. “We wanted to make you feel insecure.”