The hardcore fans of the Halo series must have already been familiar with the name Offensive Bias. However, if you don’t pay too much attention to the Forerunner lore and side materials like novels and comics (like me), you might be wondering who this guy is supposed to be when his name is thrown around in Halo Infinite. Well, continue reading below if you don’t care about Halo Infinite spoilers or need to know a bit more about Offensive Bias, one of Forerunner’s AIs that plays a pivotal role in the series.
Halo Infinite: Who or What Exactly is the Offensive Bias?
Most of this information comes from the Halo 3 Terminals along with Halo: Primordium novel and its sequel, Halo: Silentium. Written by Greg Bear (The Way, The Forge of God), the novel series details the lore of The Forerunner Saga — their society, rise, and fall.
Offensive Bias, a name that comes up in Halo Infinite, is a Forerunner AI of the ancilla type. Extremely advanced and equipped with a unique personality, the ancillas were common companions of Forerunner society. They can be found in personal shells similar to Monitors (Guilty Spark, Despondent Pyre), as well as personal armor, spaceships, and even buildings. There are several categories of ancillas, and metarchs were the most advanced of them all, created to mainly serve the Ecumene Council, the main government and lawmaking body of the Forerunner society.
Aside from Offensive Bias, there was also a metarch named Mendicant Bias, created by the Ur-Didact (the Halo 4‘s Didact) and Master Builder Faber, a high-ranking Forerunner official, after the Flood first attacked Milky Way and the ancient human race. Following the return of the Flood and the beginning of the Flood-Forerunner War, Mendicant Bias was placed in charge of all Forerunner defenses and studying the Flood in order to find their weaknesses.
However, it is revealed that while trying to study the Flood, Mendicant Bias end up encountering something called Primordial — some sort of ancient Flood Gravemind. Long story short, in their 43-years-long conversation, Primordial managed to convince Mendicant Bias that the Forerunners were denying the next step of evolution: turning every lifeform in the galaxy into part of the Flood.
Although Mendicant Bias (and Primordial) were able to wreak havoc armed with its knowledge of Forerunner defenses and using Installation 07 aka Zeta Halo, the Didact’s forces had successfully captured and correct the rampant AI. It was disassembled and its parts were scattered throughout the Ecumene for further study for several years. But of course, it was just a temporary setback. A Gravemind was able to overrun the facilities where its part was being held and reactivate the AI again to command the Flood’s fleets.
Following Mendicant Bias’s defection, the remaining Forerunner put the Offensive Bias AI as its replacement. Despite Mendicant Bias dismissing its counterpart as an inferior metarch since Offensive Bias lacked creativity and free will, it was built to be more methodically lethal. Offensive Bias and the Forerunner survivors who held up in the greater Ark, the first of the two Ark megastructures used to manufacture Halo rings, fought hard but they suffered devastating losses. Obviously, firing the Halo arrays to eradicate all organic lifeforms all-around 25,000 light-years wide radius is the best option at this point.
To buy time for the remaining Forerunner and IsoDidact (the “good” copy of Halo 4‘s Didact) to prepare the Ark and activate the Halo rings, Offensive Bias took the last Forerunner fleets to the Maginot Line to bait Mendicant Bias and the Flood army — despite being outnumbered 436.6:1. As Offensive Bias’s log in Halo 3‘s Terminal 6 reveals, after eight hours of combat, the Halo ring was fired. Aside from killing the Forerunners, it also destroys most of Mendicant Bias’ Flood fleet. Offensive Bias completely annihilated its counterpart’s fleet, and the rogue ancilla itself captured, its primary core delivered to the lesser Ark. At some point after this event, Offensive Bias was also tasked to help Despondent Pyre in guarding the Endless’s Cylixes prison inside Installation 07.
Much, much later, a shard of Mendicant Bias’s component crashed on the San’Shyuum or Prophet’s homeworld, Janjur Qom. But that’s a story for another time…
Halo Infinite is now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.