What is this, the third week in a row I’ve talked about Halo? I should probably take a break soon. But I’m writing this on the day of the Halo: Infinite gameplay reveal, so I kinda had to. I’m sorry, but I can’t contain my excitement!
The Halo universe is full of characters that people love and remember. Chief, Cortana, Captain Keyes and his daughter, Johnson, the Arbiter, Noble team, the list goes on. None of these characters are especially complex or interesting. But people still love them all and hold them close to their hearts.
I’ve criticized the lack of depth in basically every one of my Halo reviews. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten emotionally invested in all of them. I still shed a tear for poor Johnson every time I reach the end of Halo 3. I’ll never not give a little salute whenever a member of Noble team drops dead in Reach. And I’ll never so much as blink back sadness when Cortana ‘dies’ in Halo 4. As simple as these characters are, they’re still likable enough to become invested in.
And then there’s this guy. Halo: Infinite’s currently unnamed marine, the star in the Discover Hope teaser and even the recent gameplay reveal! Whom I shall call Brohammer because I saw some people calling him that in the comments of those two videos!
Quick disclaimer: the game isn’t out yet. So all I have to go on is what we’ve gotten in the trailers. For all I know, the game will take a hard left into Shitsville and completely butcher the writing. But from what we’ve seen, I have hope that won’t happen. But be aware, this is mostly just going off of speculation and what we got in the trailers.
Brohammer, much like the beloved Halo characters that came before him, doesn’t seem to have all that much depth. He’s a UNSC pilot who ended up stranded in space, separated from his wife and kid (daughter, I assume) and left completely alone. When he discovers Chief floating in space, he begins to hope again, assuming that having Chief with him could somehow help get him home. That’s most of his character, really; he’s a scared soldier who just wants to get back to his family.
So, why do I love him so much already? And why does the community seem to agree with me? Well, there are a couple of reasons.
First and foremost is his motivation. It’s simple, sure, but it’s enough to get us invested in his character. In the Discover Hope teaser, we see just how much his family means to him. In a really clever rotating shot around his wife’s message, which signifies the passage of time, we get that he’s watched that message over and over again in his time stranded in space. When the video ends, he nearly breaks down crying, despairing over the possibility that he’ll never see his family again.
Then he discovers our boy Chief out in space. In this moment, he essentially becomes a stand-in for the audience. When he first brings Chief aboard, he’s sort of nervous but hopeful. Then, when Chief is essentially brought back to life, his joy and hope are immediately obvious. His feelings reflect those of the audience.
Plus, it goes to show what makes Chief so lovable in the first place. The dude is an icon. The very sight of him is enough to inspire hope in even the most broken of people. When we see this broken down soldier light up with joy, it makes us love Chief all the more. This is our character. The man who brings hope.
Which leads to the end of the teaser. When their ship is grabbed, Brohammer immediately panics. He looks to Chief, yelling that they need to run. In response, Chief grabs a gun, grabs him, and says: “No. We need to fight.” This establishes a contrast between the two that we’ve never seen in this series. How does a coward who wants to run interact with the badass who never backs down from a fight? This dynamic could be incredibly fun and interesting!
And from what we got in the gameplay trailer, we’re definitely going to get more of it!
When Chief and Brohammer crash down on the ring, the conflict between the two becomes immediately clear. Brohammer is totally panicked and blames Chief for the near-death experiences. Meanwhile, Chief is focused entirely on taking down the anti-air weapons that shot them down. Brohammer wants to grab a slip-space drive and escape back to Earth. But Chief is firm that they have to stay and stop the Banished.
This is another point in Brohammer’s favor: the dude’s got balls of fucking titanium! The motherfucker stands up to the Master fucking Chief! Sure, it can be seen as cowardly that he just wants to run away from the fighting. But his reasons for doing so are sympathetic, so we can’t hate him for it.
Better yet, his reaction is completely natural, which makes him all the more relatable! If I’d gotten into god knows how many near-death experiences since meeting a dude, I’d probably blame him for my troubles in a panic too! Poor bastard must be only a step or two away from a heart attack!
This is the setup for a spectacular character arc! How will he react to the struggles of the fight against the Banished? If he can’t find a way off the ring, what will he do? If he can, will he be forced to choose between Chief and his home? Will he find his courage? Maybe he’ll pull a Johnson and give his life to save humanity! The possibilities are wildly intriguing!
Again: I can’t say for certain where this character will go. Fuck, we don’t even know his real name! But he’ll clearly play a major role in the game, so there can be no doubt that we’ll see. Will this article age gracefully? Or will I look back on it in embarrassment? We’ll only know when the game comes out.
I haven’t been so excited about the holidays since before I got depression!