The Mas­ter Chief re­mains face­less in Halo 5, and why not? In a first­per­son uni­verse where play­ers can’t see your face any­way, earn­ing a brand­boost­ing no­to­ri­ety for it is some­thing of a coup. But the in­tro­duc­tion of a ri­val Spar­tan fireteam does of­fer a new way of ne­go­ti­at­ing the process of char­ac­ter-player iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. We play as Locke, a flavour­less avatar, but we can see Nathan Fil­lion, whose char­ac­ter, Ed­ward Buck, is a long-term Halo fix­ture now pro­moted to ‘that guy whose face you see all the time’. In a se­ries as com­mit­ted to heroic anonymity, Fil­lion’s face is a big deal – he’s not quite as funny as he gets to be in Des­tiny, where he plays ro­botic Van­guard Cayde-6, but when you can look into his eyes, that’s not the point.

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