343 Industries describes Master Chief removing his helmet in the new Halo TV series as "a mission statement".
In a lengthy blog post from 343 Industries community writer Alex Wakeford dissecting the opening episode (it's full of spoilers!), the matter of the lead character removing his helmet is addressed, seemingly in response to fan criticism.
The post notes that the games "have predominantly been a space for player projection", but fans of the expanded universe shouldn't be quite so surprised.
"For fans of our expanded universe, who have read The Fall of Reach and other media centred around the Master Chief, taking the helmet off is something that they're actually quite used to - our literature and comic formats have allowed for that kind of storytelling," it reads.
It also mentions that players get a glimpse at Master Chief's eyes in Halo 4 - if they complete the campaign on Legendary difficulty.
"This was an interesting creative decision to grapple with for the Halo television series, as we look to the legacy of the Halo franchise and see thoughts scattered all over the map as to whether this is a thing that should even be done," reads the post.
"A moment like this is not a plot point or even explicitly a 'reveal' of what he looks like, but a means to tell his story. It had to be a moment that was earned and meaningful. This is also part of why it happens in the first episode: it's not a twist, it's a mission statement."
In short, then, revealing Master Chief's face is a way to show his human side. And that's something we can expect more of in the remainder of the series.
Reads the post: "This exciting moment sets the stage for a new Halo story that will be told over the next eight episodes about identity and self-discovery; about systems and morality, and to whom you are loyal (whether that be to yourself, your past, your colleagues, your beliefs); and about what - in the circumstances of the Silver Timeline - it truly means to be human."
These comments are also in-line with those made previously by actor Pablo Schreiber.
"Rather than being co-creator of the experience as you go along and believing that you're Chief, we're now inviting you to sit back on the couch and watch Chief start to discover elements of himself," he said.
The Halo TV series is airing in the US on Paramount+ - Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in select countries can claim one month of the service for free.