343 Industries, the Microsoft studio which has inherited the Halo series from creator Bungie, has revealed it won't be making iconic hero Master Chief remove his helmet any time soon. Despite being the figurehead of the most popular Xbox franchise, the legendary Spartan soldier has never shown his face - and probably never will.
He's come close a few times though. In the very first game, Halo: Combat Evolved, the camera pans away coyly as Master Chief removes his helmet. In Fall of Reach, the spin-off prequel novel, we learn that he's almost albino white, with pale blue eyes and reddish hair.
"It's funny we don't then show his face," Halo franchise boss Frank O'Connor explained to Eurogamer when quizzed about a possible reveal for Master Chief's mug in Halo 4. "But that's a device to keep the player invested in the character and keep the player from constantly being reminded that they're not a hero or that they have to be a boy or they have to be a girl, or whatever that is."
While they won't show his face, it sounds like there's a chance that 343 might kill Master Chief, with O'Connor saying the long-term future of the character is "a conversation I can't get into". He goes on to suggest that previous games were "scared" to take Halo's story into difficult areas, but that with Microsoft's blessing, the developers have been freed up to tell stories "that are not comfortable and that are meaningful and that are permanent".
What can it all mean? We'll find out on November 6th when Halo 4 strides into action for Xbox 360.