Despite the brouhaha over whether a forced no-clip of Master Chief's helmet truly revealed the man behind the mask, the story behind the man has already been written and spans four novels.
Speculation over the identity and facial characteristics of the central Halo character has run rampant as of late, as one Halo 3 beta player forced a graphical glitch to produce a glimpse of the character's face.
As Ars Technica's game editor Ben Kuchera reminds us, however, Master Chief's identity is not really much of a secret.
Novels sanctioned by the original developer, Bungie Studios, are quite revealing, Kuchera says:
John sounds like a cute kid, complete with gap-teeth and freckles, but he was lucky/unlucky enough to be a little more physically intimidating than the other kids he grew up around. During a game of "king of the hill" he beat the other kids to the top easily, showing off his physical agility and natural athletic gifts as military scientists looked on. He was taken from his home, replaced with a flash-grown clone, and began his military training. At age 14. he and the other recruits went through a series of cybernetic and biological enhancements to make him even stronger and faster, although many of the other candidates died or became otherwise physically maimed by the process.
Though apparently a human and likely the last "Spartan," Master Chief's mask still clearly creates an element of intrigue for players unfamiliar with the novels or nonetheless eager to see his mug.