Probably the most stunning second in Halo Infinite isn’t about exploding a derelict historical area station or by chance awakening a once-slumbering risk. It’s a quick alternate between two most important characters, one which reveals the extent to which Halo protagonist Grasp Chief would go to satisfy what he sees as his immovable responsibility. It’s sort of lots to course of. Let’s speak about it.
Main spoilers comply with for Halo Infinite.
In Halo Infinite’s marketing campaign, which hit Xbox and PC on December 8, you’re not alone. For the majority of the story, you’re accompanied by a cognizant synthetic intelligence unit referred to as the Weapon, who bears a powerful resemblance to Cortana, the longtime AI companion of Chief and arguably the guts of Halo. (Enjoyable reality: Each characters are voiced by Jen Taylor, who additionally supplied the voice for Dr. Catherine Halsey, the scientist upon whom Cortana relies, in prior Halo media.)
On paper, the Weapon’s mission was to delete Cortana, who dedicated an entire bunch of genocides between Halo 5 and Halo Infinite. The Weapon succeeded, apparently, a while earlier than the occasions of Halo Infinite. There’s only one catch: Upon control-alt-deleting Cortana, the Weapon was additionally purported to self-destruct. So, yeah, there’s thriller afoot, and it’s shortly made clear Chief is aware of greater than he’s letting on—each explicitly, in dialog with the Weapon, and, as a direct results of these chats, implicitly to the participant—however simply what it’s that he’s holding so near the chest is shrouded in secrecy.
“The 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 you then have to start looking at it through the lens of, ‘Well, what did Chief know? Well, why does the Weapon not know everything? There must be a reason for all these things.’”
There is. But before you figure everything out, you go on a mission that culminates with Chief trying to delete the Weapon—who, to reiterate, has been your sidekick for most of the game. Here’s a clip showing both the first time he considers deleting the Weapon, then the second time, in which he actually tries to go through with it:
“You are slowly unlocking the reasons for why Chief acted the way he has, albeit in a subtle way, all the way through the game,” Crocker said.
In the wake of Chief’s betrayal, there’s a palpable albeit very understandable tension between the main duo. The third main character, a stranded engineer known as the Pilot, openly wonders where the banter between Chief and the Weapon went. It’s not total silence, but dialogue is largely limited to just a few perfunctory lines that double as player instruction.
“Obviously, [Halo Infinite], being a recreation, has fairly a number of traces that now we have for gamers who’re misplaced or no matter as a result of we had been attempting to only be certain that it’s simple to play,” Crocker mentioned. (The workaround: Through the degree after the bombshell second, Taylor is acerbic and sarcastic, condescending even, in her supply of the Weapon’s traces.)
You finally be taught why Grasp Chief did what he did. Infinite reveals, by means of hologram, that the Weapon is a duplicate of Cortana, who’d lately spent her free time obliterating cities and planets. The failsafe code Chief repeats, as soon as through the mission “the Sequence” and as soon as shortly after, is there to forestall the Weapon from stepping into an identical behavior. Upon studying this, the Weapon herself even urges Chief to delete her. He says he is not going to, and he overtly admits that he doesn’t belief the Weapon, however notes that he’d prefer to—annnnd then every part’s again to peaches and gravy. It solves one massive thriller on the core of Halo Infinite (that the participant just isn’t aware of the identical historical past Chief is), although I’d argue it lets Chief off the hook only a bit too simple.
Nonetheless, no matter you consider the twist, there’s the unassailable reality that you just spend about an hour of Halo Infinite not as some unflappable, steel-nerved supersoldier however as somebody who’s very prepared to homicide a associate with out clarification. There’s a stretch of Halo Infinite the place it’s genuinely tough to occupy the boots of Grasp Chief. For a personality who’s spent 20 years as a cipher—as a blank-slate character upon whom gamers can undertaking—it’s a stunning flip of occasions. You’re, dare I say, taking part in because the unhealthy man, a minimum of for a fleeting second.
“I hope individuals…possibly ‘like’ is the incorrect phrase, [but I hope] it impacts individuals as they’re taking part in as a result of, once more, individuals need Chief to be this hero, however additionally they need him to have some problems,” Crocker mentioned. “We needed to make you are feeling uneasy.”