Lead narrative designer Aaron Linde discusses the Grunts’ newfound confidence in Halo Infinite’s campaign and explains their place among the Banished.
The Covenant’s Grunts are a bit more confident in Halo Infinite, and 343 Industries lead narrative designer Aaron Linde has just opened up on why. These diminutive alien foot soldiers have served as the primary forces of the Covenant and later Banished armies in the long-running Halo series, and are the most frequent cannon fodder for the Master Chief during his never-ending mission to save the universe.
In contrast to the hulking Brutes, skilled Elites, and terrifying Flood, the Grunts are often a source of comic relief in the otherwise somber Halo games. Players occasionally catch these little guys having casual conversations about life in the Covenant or even briefly singing, and most of them either cower in terror or flee for their lives at the sight of the legendary Master Chief approaching their path – an understandable reaction given how infamous the Spartan is among their ranks. The Grunts have retained their comical ways in this year’s Halo Infinite, but it turns out that these quirky little creatures are slightly bolder in their new service to the Banished. Indeed, these new Grunts make fun of human names and occasionally taunt Master Chief about his tragic relationship with his old AI partner Cortana – something they wouldn’t have dared to attempt in previous Halo games.
Halo Infinite lead narrative designer Aaron Linde recently spoke with GamesRadar about the Grunt legion’s newfound confidence, revealing that it ties in with how they are viewed within the Banished. “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,” Linde explained. He notes that the Grunts are still cowards who are looked down upon by the larger and stronger members of the Banished, but they are “on more even footing with the others, even if only constitutionally” and are even encouraged in battle by other species like Elites. However, Linde points out that the Grunts are still the first to fall in battle against the Chief in brutal and often hilarious ways in Halo Infinite, and that for a comedy writer, seeing fans react to the “silly little jerks” of the Halo Universe is “about as gratifying as a game launch could be.”
Of course, the Grunts are just one of the many different enemy types players are facing off against in Halo Infinite, as the new Banished forces consist of dangerous foes like the sadistic, duel energy sword-wielding Elite Jega ‘Rdomnai and the Banished’s sinister Brute leader Escharum. Halo Infinite’s campaign received mostly positive reviews when it launched at the beginning of December, with fans and critics praising its more emotional plot that serves as a solid jumping-on point for Halo newcomers while still being rewarding for longtime players.
A small but noteworthy part of this success comes from the writing of Aaron Linde and his team at 343 Industries, with plenty of fans laughing at the Grunts and their comical dialogue during Halo Infinite’s campaign. Although the Grunts are still far from a threat to Master Chief and his new AI companion The Weapon, it seems the little guys have at least gained a small boost of confidence and respect in their new home with the Banished – for all the good it does them when faced off against the legendary Spartan super-soldier who has already gunned through countless members of their brethren in past Halo games.
Halo Infinite is available now on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC.
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