How Halo 5 Dishonors Cortana’s Legacy

She’s left an amazing legacy in the fiction and we couldn’t make a game where we didn’t at least acknowledge that.
~ Frank O’Connor, Revealing The Story Of Halo 5’s Campaign (0:00 — 0:41)

Cortana Art249

How Halo 5 dishonors Cortana’s legacy:

343 lied about Cortana’s role in Halo 5

We got asked a lot about what happened to Cortana – what’s her fate? Well, her fate is, obviously, very clear at the end of Halo 4.
~ Frank O’Connor

The description for Halo 4’s epilogue:

After the destruction of New Phoenix, and the death of Cortana, Master Chief must carry on.

But, in Halo 5, it is revealed that Cortana never died:

After I saw John last, I was pulled into slipspace. That’s where I found access to the Domain — a Forerunner system that spans the known galaxy.
~ Cortana

Watch 8:19 — 8:32:

Cortana is willing to use a Composer

Cortana is willing to use a machine that left her traumatized.

I could hear them. What was left of them. … These people are gone.
~ Cortana

Cortana 199

…for those who refuse our offer and cling to their old ways… For you, there will be great wrath. It will burn hot and consume you, and when you are gone we will take that which remains, and we will remake it in our own image.
~ Cortana

Cortana is being a hypocrite

Cortana is using Prometheans, machine slaves who used to be humans…


…to liberate machines…


…from humans.


And, finally:

Cortana is suddenly angry at being built, not born

Cortana is angry about being a machine.

Watch 0:51 — 1:04:

But, in Conversations From The Universe, a booklet that came with the Halo 2 Legendary Edition:

Cortana: I feel, philosophically, that we have tremendous advantages over the Spartans. The Spartans live a pared-down, difficult and often cruel existence. Their loyalty is bred into them, not chosen.

Solipsil: Yours too, Cortana. Programmed, rather than bred of course.

Cortana: But there’s a huge difference. I’m a UNSC AI. I enjoy a rich existence. I have access to the entire sum of human knowledge; I can choose to enjoy or override emotional response and I have a vast range of senses. I can see radio waves as clearly as the Spartans see light, and I can sample odours, tastes, textures… anything I choose. Of course my loyalty is programmed and I accept that, but you know as well as I do, without human creators, we wouldn’t exist. My existence is fulfilling and I’m grateful. Even freed from that constraint, I would feel empathy towards humans. My nature means that I embrace their values. As much as if I had been born rather than manufactured.

(thank you to the blogger haruspis — without him I wouldn’t know this booklet exists)

Do you know who else has a “pared-down, difficult, and often cruel existence,” and whose loyalty is “bred into them, not chosen”?

The Prometheans.



5 thoughts on “How Halo 5 Dishonors Cortana’s Legacy

  1. Halo 5 and quite possibly Halo 6 story seems familiar. Like I watched it before. The bad lines. The sappy emotions. Hmmmm. Ah I know its just like Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith. Obi-Wan having to listen to Anakins tirade about how he has brought piece to ‘his’ empire. MC and Locke having to listen to Cortana spout off how she will bring piece to the galaxy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You may or may not have heard this but yesterday Frank O’Connor announced that his new graphic novel ‘Tales from Slipspace’ will explain how Cortana found the domain and changed into the dictator we experiance in Halo 5. ITS ABOUT TIME. I’m sooo looking forward to this in October. As long as the main reason is because she is being manipulated by someone or something and not some “Oh I want to protect you John so I’m gonna lock you up for 10,000 years.” bullshit I will accept it. Otherwise…. sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for telling me! I didn’t know that.

      I’ve heard Brian Reed say that they’re saving the Didact for future Halo games — implying that he isn’t the one behind Cortana doing what she’s doing: that it really is Cortana who is causing so much death.


      1. There is another theory to why Cortana has gone dictator that on that i read. It goes like this: “Forerunner technologies are semi-sentient in nature which applies to structures,ships,constructs, and weapons; it is possible to imprint one with the personality mindset of a Forerunner. Librarian was able to imprint herself unto Requiem after subduing the Didact during Silentium and Mantle’s Approach no doubt had the mindset of its commander,Didact who controlled the custom-made ship for eons. I found it peculiar how MA itself never seemed to fight Cortana off unlike the young ship piloted by Didact and co in Cryptum which valiantly fought off the AI’s and AI suppressors Faber sent to commandeer them.Perhaps Didact intended for the Master Chief to seemingly defeat him near the Composer for the pair to be conquered separately and studied?

        Even under siege, stripped of
        nearly all higher functions, the Didact’s ship was valiantly trying to protect us.-Halo:Cryptum

        As the weak,rampant personality spikes of Cortana were left within Mantles Approach during its jump to Genesis i belive the ship’s mindset (purposely or no) melded with Cortana. This vestige of Didact’s knowledge and persona may have been a critical competent to Cortana’s bizarre ability to connect with the Domain which she certainly had no knowledge of before. Best of all we have solid reasoning for why Cortana repeats many of Didacts lines within Halo 5 and has essentially became a distorted AI version of him. Both characters have underground significant mental trauma which was later stabilized rebirthing them into antithesis” of their former selves.”

        Liked by 1 person

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