Mister Chief came to us nearly 10 years ago, filling in for a Halo 2 promotional poster on the good ol' Bungie Weekly Update. "A terrible idea that snowballed out of control," says his creator. Now Mister Chief's perpetually constipated, teeth-gritting expression finds its way to an Xbox Live avatar costume.
Mister C. is the creation of Frank O'Connor (then with Bungie; now with 343 Industries), who explained his origin in an Xbox Wire post announcing the avatar costume today. Mister Chief was a fill-in illustration when O'Connor asked to use some promo art but was told it wasn't available at that time. So he slapped in a refrigerator drawing of the Chief and from there, it bloomed (like algae) into a Halo meme.
Some rules and facts about Mister Chief's creation: First, he wasn't created in MS Paint. O'Connor made him in Photoshop because the bucket-fill tool was "a lot easier than actually coloring stuff in with a paintbrush." Chief also rarely has his hands shown, because they are hard to draw, and often wields weapons that are similarly easy to draw, like light sabers, which are not Halo canon (but easier to draw than a gun,)
"He tends to have a single, slightly angry expression, featuring prodigious clenched teeth," O'Connor says. "I do not know why, except that this is how I drew mouths when I was eight, and it’s how I draw mouths now that I am more than (cough) twenty-eight."
The costume is available for both male and female avatars. It's $2.99 in the Xbox Live store right now; though he comes with no weapons, his hands are exposed and much more detailed than O'Connor's Chief.
"They literally can't make anything precisely as ugly or poor as a traditional Mister Chief," says O'Connor. "So you’ll see that the avatar, while obviously Mister Chief, has nicer proportions and a more generous interpretation of the Mister Chief’s husky and indolent frame."