Halo Infinite may redefine the way we play Halo games, but it's also changing the way we look at the franchise's cowardly minions: the grunts.
While emailing with lead narrative designer Aaron Linde about how Halo Infinite is the funniest game I've played in years largely thanks to the grunts, Linde pointed out that the notoriously cowardly little guys have changed a lot. The grunts have always been the pawns of the Halo franchise, the first line of defense sent out by the Covenant to inevitably get shredded by Master Chief. But the grunts of Halo Infinite have had a taste of equality, and it's clearly gone to their head.
"One thing that I'm really glad to see people noticing is the higher degree of confidence in the grunts. 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," Linde writes. "They’re still cowards, and still treated terribly by their peers, 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!')."
If you've played Halo Infinite you've probably been roasted by the cockier grunts, whose voice lines include mocking Master Chief's relationship with Cortana and making fun of human names. But in keeping in line with the "tragicomedy of their moment-to-moment lived experiences" that Linde references, the grunts are still the first to die - in horrible ways. Halo Infinite's brutes will pick up grunts dual-wielding plasma grenades and hurl them at players, and I've died to more than one grunt who accidentally turned on their plasmas and run at me screaming "oh no!"
Linde is "thrilled" that players are responding to the glow-up of the "silly little jerks" of the Halo Universe. He writes: "for a comedy writer this is about as gratifying as a game launch could be, 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."
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