Celebrating the anniversary of Halo Reach, Bungie's former creative director Marcus Lehto had a lengthy AMA session on twitter, where he revealed that Bungie would've taken the series in a very different direction had they stayed on.
Lehto said that he has utmost respect for 343 Industries, the current Halo caretaker. That being said though, he's quite certain Bungie would've taken the game in a "very different direction" after the events in Halo 3 and yes - it would've been with the Master Chief onboard.
Speaking of Master Chief and his helmet induced anonymity, Lehto said that Bungie had a "very early sketch of John 117 that had him bald from years of wearing a helmet and scars over most of his exposed skin." Apparently, he was both heroic and brutal but the sketch isn't very likely to see the light of day, for more than one obvious reason.
Asked whether there's anything that Bungie cut from Halo Reach that he personally liked, Lehto said that there was plenty. Had there not been for these cuts, the game could've been an even richer experience as Lehto confirmed by saying, "We cut lots of stuff. Water combat, squad commands and several other things."
They weren't all easy questions either, as Lehto was eventually asked whether he finds it ironic that a game sporting the slogan Combat Evolved has found itself stagnating. He pointed out however that Combat Evolved actually came from "M$ marketing" department and that Bungie "bristled at it" at the time.
He went on saying, "but also, in a franchise like Halo, there’s no easy path through later iterations", pointing out that it's a difficult job balancing the core game experience while adding new stuff. "It’s a no win situation", he added.
Halo Reach is now eight years old and Bungie have since moved on to make Destiny and Destiny 2, the latter putting a huge question mark on whether they should've left Microsoft to begin with. The studio once hallowed for their AAA work are lately being lambasted for shoddy work on Destiny 2 so we guess that Lehto's departure from Bungie has been well timed as well.