Since the Halo franchise's inception, Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 has been the main protagonist. Covenant alien forces, a deadly parasitic collective known as the Prometheans, and even his long-time A.I. companion Cortana have all been combated by Master Chief.
Master Chief's accomplishments have made him one of the galaxy's most decorated soldiers. However, while he appears to have done everything, the Halo games never require him to remove his helmet. This unspoken rule has remained constant throughout the majority of Halo games, which is probably why the Halo Paramount TV series received so much negative fan feedback when it decided to reveal him at the end of the first episode.
The Mystery Behind The Helmet
In the Halo lore, Master Chief does not have to remove his helmet. Instead, he protects the soldier from most assaults while augmenting their physical abilities. Like most of his fellow SPARTANs, the Master Chief removes his helmet only when it needs repair. This can be seen in the secret conclusion of Halo 4 once players complete the game on the Legendary difficulty.
The helmet of Master Chief serves two purposes, the first being from a lore standpoint. Master Chief is always fighting an enemy threat, both for protection and information. The helmet also allows him to communicate with others, like his A.I. partner Cortana.
The second purpose of the helmet is to make it simpler for the player to project themselves through Master Chief. The helmet's heads-up display gives the player the exact information the Chief sees, strengthening the player's actions by providing vital information. The Master Chief also doesn't speak much outside of cutscenes, making it easier for players to feel immersed in the experience.
Those Are Some Big Boots To Fill
It is very difficult to reveal Master Chief's face without defying fans. No matter what his true visage may be, it will never live up to everyone's expectations; so much so that when people think of him, they think of his green Mjolnir armor.
The Master Chief's refusal to remove his helmet for the first time in front of Kwan Ha - a youngster he just met - is a disservice to long-time fans of the Halo TV series. It's also the absence of the Master Chief from the established Halo lore throughout the entire series.
As the Halo TV series has demonstrated, having Master Chief reveal his face can do more harm than good. People will be divided on what the character should be like, and the mystery surrounding his appearance will vanish. This is similar to when Samus Aran's face was revealed in the Metroid series.
Although this is a speculation, revealing the Master Chief's face might be beneficial in the long run. His static Mjolnir helmet might be able to convey more emotions than his static Mjolnir helmet could ever entail. However, having the Master Chief show his full face in a Halo game is something 343 Industries can't undo once it has been done. Moments must be planned in accordance with the established Halo series' lore.
Halo Infinite is now available on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.