A child of the first Xbox console, Master Chief is perhaps the only gaming mascot consistently synonymous with Microsoft since his creation. Others, such as Bioshock's Big Daddies and that bloke from Dead Rising, started out with similar exclusive roots, yet were quickly changed to be cross-platform and lost all their mascot capabilities. Now there are two ways of looking at old Chiefy. On the one hand he can be seen as a blank slate, allowing players to project themselves onto the faceless soldier in order to have a fully immersive experience. On the other hand he's a rather standard template character with zero interesting qualities or discernible features. We are more inclined to view him in this latter light, as there isn't really any basis for the former. Being a first-person shooter, the Halo series has no reason to give its main character absolutely no personality. When people are playing they are fully involved in what's going on, just like they would be in nearly any other first-person game. Consequently, the only time Mr Bland is actually seen is during cutscenes, which are done in third person. That raises an issue, as nobody is watching a third person video and maintaining the thought that they're looking at themself, so why not give the hero a bit of pazaz? In Resistance 3 (another FPS) the protagonist is a fascinating, multi-layered character. Even Team Fortress 2 gives its templates interesting personalities, and that's just an online multiplayer game Samus is another a great example of how it's easily possibly to allow projection and characterisation at the same time, wearing a face-covering suit during missions yet taking the mask off when the story demands it. Master Chief is a terrible mascot as he's SOboring. Microsoft may as well have a toaster as their poster-boy for all the engaging qualities MC owns. Actually we shouldn't have said that, we might give them ideas.
Oldfield is a journalist, reviewer, and amateur comic-book writer (meaning he's yet to be published). He's a man who'll criticise anything, even this biog, which he thinks is a bit crap.
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