Master Chief is a playable character in the trilogy of science fiction first-person shooter video games. The Master Chief is a towering supersoldier known as a "Spartan", raised and trained from childhood for combat. He is almost faceless and never seen without his green-colored armor and helmet. He is commonly referred to by his naval rank rather than his given birth name. Master Chief is one of the most visible symbols of the Halo series and the video game universe. Originally designed by Bungie artists including Marcus Lehto, Rob McLees, and Shi Kai Wang, the character is a towering and faceless cybernetically enhanced supersoldier. Downes built his personification of the Chief off a character description which called for a Clint Eastwood-type character of few words. The Master Chief serves as a mascot for Halo and the Xbox brand. The character has received a generally positive reception; while some critics have described the Chief's silent and faceless nature as a character weakness, other publications have suggested these attributes better allow players to inhabit the character. Criticism of the Master Chief's lessened role in Halo 5 led to the developers refocusing on him.
Story writer Joseph Staten recalled that early on in Halo's development, they had not considered how to engage players in the world, and Master Chief's character was what drew people in. The Chief was always intended to be a soldier in the last part of a long and bitter war. For much of the game's development, the character had no name, and early on was referred to as "Future Soldier" or "The Cyborg". Eric Nylund established the character's forename as "John" in the tie-novel Halo: The Fall of Reach, but Bungie did not want to use that in the game itself, instead looking to military ranks. Naval ranks grabbed them as "different" from ones the developers had heard of before. McLees, insisting on accuracy, wanted to make sure the character still had a plausible rank for his role. "Master Chief" was the highest non-commissioned rank where the character would still be considered "expendable"; McLees felt the shortened "Chief" sounded more colloquial and less like a modern military designation. Though the name was not universally liked and intended to be a placeholder, it ended up sticking.