Bungie: “Immersion was the main goal” in creating Master Chief

By Johnny Cullen
2 February 2011 09:40 GMT

Bungie’s lead writer Joseph Staten has said that when the developer was creating the character of Master Chief for Halo, “immersion” was key to what he would become.


Bungie celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, having been founded by Alex Seropain and Jason Jones in 1991.

Outside of Halo, it created Marathon and Myth. It also created action title Oni, published by Rockstar.

It announced last year it had entered into a ten-year deal with Activision to publish its new IP.

In an interview with IG, Staten said it left out details from Chief’s background to “increase immersion.”

“The less players knew about the Chief, we believed, the more they would feel like the Chief,” he said.

“When it came to the Halo novels and other products of the expanded universe, immersion wasn’t as important as deepening understanding.”

He continued: “Immersion was the main goal here. Also keeping the Chief a man of few words reinforced what we wanted to be a tough-as-nails soldierly persona.”

Staten also said that originally, Cortana was originally due to be just a simple guide in helping get Chief from A to B among some things. But as it turned out later on, Cortana would show a more human side to Chief.

“We needed a character who could consistently guide the player through the game, and an onboard A.I. was something that could always credibly accompany the player (i.e., another soldier might get lost, wounded etc),” Staten said.

“Over time, Cortana became a fully realized character—a friend and companion to the Chief, not to mention the only person to poke revealing holes in his tough-guy exterior.

“Through his interactions with Cortana, the Chief revealed his humanity (e.g., players learned the Chief had a sense of humor when he banged his helmet to stop Cortana from talking). And it was for these reasons that we focused so much on the Chief-Cortana relationship.”

Bungie left behind the Halo universe last September with the release of Reach to work on its next big universe, which will be published by Activision under a ten-year deal.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

VG247 logo

Buy our t-shirts, yeah

They're far more stylish than your average video game website tat.

VG247 merch