Fans have been asking why Keith David isn't voicing the Arbiter in Killer Instinct Season 3, and now we have our answer.
The Arbiter follows on from Battletoads' Rash as another cross-game cameo for Killer Instinct. Players were assuming that this was the same Arbiter who they controlled throughout much of Halo 2's campaign, but according to 343 Industries, this isn't the case.
In a post on Halo Waypoint, writer Grimbrother One clarified some details about the new fighter.
"Pretty early on it was decided that to both make things easier from a fictional explainability perspective, as well as take full advantage of all the cool opportunities available in the Killer Instinct ecosystem, that it would be best to create a versatile “could be anyone” Sangheili warrior for the role, while leveraging the obvious advantages that the familiarity of the Arbiter title and characterization might afford us", he says.
"Just as countless Arbiters have faced impossible odds to represent the honor and glory of their people, this Arbiter was created to represent the glory and honor of the Halo universe against an impossible new challenge."
He also acknowledges that, strictly speaking, fighting games don't need to make a whole lot of sense. "How can we say all that with a straight face? Shut up is how."
Franchise development director Frank O'Connor also chimes in: "In Killer Instinct, we wanted to create multiple visual variations of the combatant archetype in the classic fighting game style, and so we leaned heavily on the 'Hall of the Arbiters' concept from the games, where we see armors and costumes from historical Arbiters in a kind of mausoleum. So our KI Arbiter is in some ways an amalgam of Arbiters past, as well as more modern Sangheili warriors."
This isn't the first time a character based in the Halo universe has popped up in a fighting game - back in 2005, Dead or Alive 4 featured Spartan Nicole-458.