The Halo video game series is best known for its lead character Master Chief, who sports a futuristic power armor suit. However, according to Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto, the Chief almost had a drastically different design.
“One of our concept artists at that time, whose name’s Shi Kai Wang, who is a fantastic, great, talented person… had worked on some early concepts that were more anime-inspired, for the Master Chief,” Lehto told IGN. “We built that character, and it was much more slender and agile-looking, at that time. That’s the character that we showcased in the Macworld demo.”
Ultimately, as the concept evolved, Lehto realized that the design needed to change. “He needed to look like a tank that could take on an entire army.”
Petty Officer John-117, aka Master Chief, is a bioengineered and cybernetically enhanced supersoldier and the protagonist of the Halo franchise. His MJOLNIR assault armor was crafted for him and is synonymous with his character. Gamers did not even see his face until Halo 4.
Halo has spawned a veritable franchise, including several video games and novels. A television adaptation of the games will debut on Showtime, with Pablo Schrieber portraying Master Chief.
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Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto spoke about the origins of Master Chief's design and how he originally sported an anime-influenced look.