Halo Infinite is a serious game about serious things, like the fight for Zeta Halo, Master Chief's humanity, and the importance of relying on your partners. But things do get a bit funny when there are Grunts around. These little guys scatter in fear if you shoot anywhere near them, but long-time Halo fans may have noticed that they do seem a bit braver than they used to be. This was a conscious decision according to lead narrative designer Aaron Linde.
"One thing that I'm really glad to see people noticing is the higher degree of confidence in the grunts," he said in a conversation with GamesRadar. "We wanted to convey a sense of meaningful change for them as part of the slightly-more-egalitarian Banished, where they have more equity—or at least more than they did in the Covenant, where they had none—and more philosophical buy-in on their part as a result."
"They’re still cowards, and still treated terribly by their peers," he continued. "But they're on more even footing with the others, even if only constitutionally. And you’ll hear that reflected by the other species from time to time as well, particularly the Elites ('go, tiny warrior!')."
Players would have surely noticed this newfound confidence exuding from the Grunts. The cannon-fodder NPCs rush towards Master Chief guns blazing and trash talking on first contact, but immediately slink away in fear after you dispatch one of them. Their voice lines tend to add an element of humour to the otherwise serious tone of the game.
Linde mentioned that he was thrilled by the reception of these funny little guys. "For a comedy writer this is about as gratifying as a game launch could be," he said. "So I’m deeply grateful to our audience for sharing their favorite moments and all the kind words they’ve slung at us. It’s been overwhelming in the best of ways."
We appreciate the comedic relief thanks to – or rather at the expense of – the Grunts. However, we might never have gotten to know them if things worked out differently during the initial development of Halo: Combat Evolved. According to multiplayer programmer Stefan Sinclair, a single-player campaign wasn’t even in the original plans.
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