Microsoft has released Xbox Avatar outfits for Mister Chief, the long-running but entirely unofficial mascot of the Halo series.
Originally drawn up as a joke by 343 Industries franchise development director (then Bungie.net content monkey) Frank O'Connor in 2004, the character was a crudely drawn knock-off of Master Chief holding a lightsaber. Mister Chief was an instant hit with the Bungie.net community, and has appeared numerous times since his original creation.
Explaining the creation of the character on Xbox Wire, O'Connor said "I was in a bind. I had lots of things to write about 'Halo 2,' but nothing to show. So I simply 'mocked up' a 'screenshot' featuring the non-union, off-brand, off-kilter alter-ego of Master Chief, imaginatively named 'Mister Chief.'"
"Because it was so terrible, there was nothing that PR could do to stop it. PR is often trying to stop me from doing various things. They have no patience for antics or capers, and no budget to reverse shenanigans. He is carrying a light saber because those are easy to draw, compared with guns, for example."
"Mister Chief is a terrible idea that snowballed out of control," adds O'Connor, "and now we’re stuck with it, like the internal combustion engine or Justin Bieber. I don’t secretly think he’s awesome, nor do I secretly think that Mister Chief has any actual artistic or canonical merit. He is the bastard child of a more desperate time. You know the expression 'outsider art?' Whereby art is created from an unexpected place, like an elephant with a paintbrush. A French artist, Jean Dubuffet, coined the term to describe paintings made by children and the inmates of insane asylums. Well, that’s exactly what Mister Chief is."
"You have my profound apologies," concludes O'Connor.