In Halo 5, 343 Ruined Cortana

Note: This post is me expressing my personal opinion.

Halo 4, to me, made Cortana into a three-dimensional character.

Halo 5, to me, undid that character development.

Let’s start with Cortana’s character itself:

In Halo 5, Cortana is evil now because “Reasons.” We’ll have to wait until Halo 6 (at least) in order to know exactly why.

But, I imagine this was the thought process behind making Cortana the villain: Crap. The Didact is dead. We need a villain… All in favor of Cortana, say “Aye.”

People have said “Cortana isn’t really evil. It’s the rampant pieces of her personality that are behind this change that she has gone through.” But, I read that, at the end of Halo 4, Cortana was teleported to a planet called Genesis, where she was able to cure her rampancy using Forerunner technology, and become more powerful, and knowledgeable, than ever before. This leads to Cortana deciding “I need to bring order to the galaxy.” Hence Cortana using the Guardians to keep species in line. Hence, Cortana is now, of her own free will, evil.

Though, of course, Cortana doesn’t see herself as evil.

Now let’s talk about Cortana’s appearance:

In Halo 5, Cortana is wearing clothes.

Cortana Halo 5

Probably in response to the criticism that her appearance received in Halo 4.


It pains me to consider the possibility that 343 changed Cortana’s appearance — an essential aspect of who she is — for no other reason than that Social Justice Warriors yelled loud enough.

Naked does not necessarily equal sexist.* It is possible to have a naked woman be a character and say “See her, and treat her, as a person, not as an object.” But, apparently, people can’t be told to do that. It must be too hard…

*If a woman is naked for no other reason than to give people something to gawk at and jack off to, than I can see where claims of “Sexism” are coming from. But, with Cortana, that was not the case. Cortana was a three-dimensional character: She had hopes, goals, fears, wit, to name only a few characteristics. She also just happened to be naked, too. (Cortana was naked before Halo 5.)

UPDATE: October 31st:

The Cortana in Halo 5 isn’t the real Cortana. It’s a rampant fragment of her.

Incorrect. Cortana says that she was able to cure herself of rampancy. Cortana is doing everything she is doing of her own free will. Hence, it is the real Cortana.

Watch 7:51 — 10:03

Cortana could redeem herself in Halo 6.

While I am glad there is the possibility of Cortana redeeming herself — while it would certainly lessen the hard feelings I have about Halo 5’s story — to me, if Cortana were to redeem herself in Halo 6, it would feel redundant.

Here’s what I mean: In Halo 4 Cortana was suffering from rampancy. As a result, she often did things that placed Chief in danger. But, in the end, Cortana was able to pull herself together and save Chief: At the end of Halo 4, Cortana redeemed herself and died a hero. If Cortana were to do redeem herself in Halo 6, the first thought I would have would be “I’ve seen this before.”

It would be like if, at the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke blew up the Death Star. Yes, it would be awesome that Luke blew up the Death Star. But I’ve seen Luke do that before, so its makes less of an impact on me this time.


13 thoughts on “In Halo 5, 343 Ruined Cortana

  1. It doesn’t matter if Cortana is just rampant personality spikes left behind. And yes the writing and story were terrible, far far below what we have come to expect from Halo.
    The truth is you can’t take a character people love and turn them evil. It just doesn’t work. Ever. It didn’t work when John Connor turned evil in Terminator, It didn’t even work when Anakin Skywalker turned evil in the Star Wars prequels, and everyone expected that.
    I have taken my business elsewhere along with countless others. Halo will continue to limp along for awhile, living on past glory, but it is the walking dead. It’s days are numbered. The tragedy is that it’s greatness could have lived on forever. For that I hate 343 and always will.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m going to be honest, I’m at a stand still with the Halo community. On one side I desperately want to despise the corporate hacks. 343, irregardless of Microsoft’s heavy involvement, had they had a back bone, could’ve made all this bullshit not come into existence.

      But on the other hand, I kick myself for hating them and abandoning my position in the company over the obnoxious writers and some two-timing executives. I pity ol’ Frank and the former Bungie employees who hopped on board hoping to continue Halo’s great legacy for many more years. Working with 343i again has shown me that corporations can truly turn passion into violence. There are good and bad people at 343 and Microsoft. Though the more I think about it, I say we stop the hate and not direct it towards anyone. We should provide constructive criticism to better help the guys who care improve our beloved game.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t wish anyone ill will, and I didn’t mean hate in the same way you think of hating someone who has wronged you, or the hate some people feel for a political or ethnic group. So perhaps hate is the wrong word. I’m just disappointed that I’ll never get to experience what Halo could have been.

        As far as constructive criticism, I don’t think it will help. Some people have the talent for great story telling, most people me included don’t. Sometimes greatness comes from the perfect mesh of a team. When you change that team the magic is gone, and it can’t come back. If Halo does come back I will become a fan again. And I will always be a fan of 1-4 and continue to revisit them. I’m just not holding my breath for anything great ever coming out of 343.

        But just for fun, if it were me I would bring back the old Cortana. I know she is gone, but you can write your way out of that, and I would have her and John battle the evil rampant personality spikes that are the evil Cortana and destroy them. As an apology to Halo fans I would give everyone who bough Halo 5 flaming heads in Halo 6.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I never meant to nor do I wish ill-will towards anyone. Hate is the wrong word to use in this case. Strongly disheartened by what Halo has become is how I’d describe my feelings towards it.

        I agree with you, when you change the team you loose that sense of wonder and passion that was once put into the project. If you watch the behind the scenes development videos you’ll see how drained everyone is, how dispirited they’ve become when Halo 5 was in the making.

        Halo 4 I think was beautifully written and executed. I believe 343i still has the chance to revamp that magic but what I’m trying to say is that we should stop aiding to digging Halo’s grave deeper by abandoning it all together and instead accept the facts and do what we can as dedicated fans of the series. Hold on for one last ride that’ll satisfy our hunger for experiencing that profound impactful story once again.

        I also have this short summary I wrote that would “fix” Halo in the 6th installment. John would “find” or rather be given a major fragment of the old Cortana, she’d be renewed by Halsey bringing back all her memories, and then they’d fight off the evil fragment. And because 343 wants to end Master Chief’s story, they could have Cortana either sacrifice herself again along with John, or John would be the lone wolf never to be found, or they’d be together in some peaceful ending.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I like that, that would be a story I would be interested in playing. My vote would be for a peaceful happy ending for them both. You also make some great points about holding on tho Halo and staying a fan.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. no. this is actually false. Cortana in Halo 5 is actually the rampant personality spikes that were left on the Mantels Aproach. The cortana we see at the end of halo 4 was Cortana. She saved John and then ceased to exist. When she said she “only held enough back to get you off the ship” She retained who she truly was to create the hard-light bubble to save John. And her rampant personality spikes were left in the core when it was sent through slipspace to Genesis.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t mind the direction the plot is going from 343. However, I personally think they did a terrible job in representing what is happening. First off, this game was sold as a battle between two team, Blue and Osiris. That almost didn’t even exist. Not only was that promised plot line non-existent, they immediately unveil the fact that Cortana is back. Like, no supprise, no awe, she is there. It was just terrible story telling in my opinion. Also to conclude, my most confused point about H5, is the scene with her and the chief. When she turns and says goodbye, she expresses extreme emotional pain (for the audience to see) no chief, and then she very suddenly, almost as if she faked it, changes to an expression of hate and resolution. Why? What is she angry at. This leads me to not know if it is, or is not cortana. Why is she angry.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cortana has clothes because her new sate needed a new look. Like a battle skin for Forerunners. Not because people thought she was naked. Seriously man. 343 doesn’t give a shit about haters. They’re trying to make magic. And all you guys are getting in the way. Halo is still awesome. Now stop closing your eyes to it like a bitch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make a good point — Cortana’s new look could be because she chose to wear a battle skin like the kind the Forerunners wore, and not because of criticism that her appearance in Halo 4 received.

      Thank you for commenting.


    2. Seeing as I work with 343i, I can say her change of appearance was also due in part to the backlash it received. So, yeah, 343 does listen to everyone, even haters.

      The writers here at Halo HQ aren’t closing our eyes to new ideas, either. We aim to provide constructive criticism rather than aiding to the hopeless plight of those guys who slobber over their keyboards at the Waypoint forums getting in every way of production.

      Thanks for your commentary.

      Liked by 1 person

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