Master Chief. Marcus Fenix. They were unlikely suspects on the spectrum of marketable mascots, perhaps – one is a mysterious husk hidden behind an opaque mask and the other looks like a dollar-store Dolph Lundgren that ate Bret Michaels whole and unironically wears his bandana as a kind of trophy. But Microsoft mascots they became, succeeding where Blinx the Time Sweeper, Voodoo Vince, and Clippy all failed before them.
Depending on how much stock you place in the nature of a review aggregator like Metacritic, a huge part of the reason for the enduring popularity of the likes of Master Chief and Marcus Fenix is surely tied to the quality of the games wrapped around them. The first Halo is the highest-rated Microsoft exclusive on the original Xbox (in fact, it’s the highest-rated game on the console, full stop). And Halo 2? Number three on the all-time list.