I had been looking forward to Halo 5.
The year of its release, not a day passed where I didn’t check to see if there was some new piece of Halo 5 news somewhere.
Having dropped out of college the previous year — because I came to the conclusion during my second semester that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and wanted to come home to sort myself out — the impending release of Halo 5 was one thing that kept my spirits raised when I was tempted to slide further and further into depression.
Some of my most cherished memories with family and friends are because of “Halo.” I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. And having replayed Halo 4 and become an admin on a Facebook page devoted to my favorite “Halo” character, Cortana, becoming more active in the community than I had ever been before, I was more hyped for a “Halo” game than I had ever been.
I had my doubts. I knew Halo 5‘s story wouldn’t be My Favorite Story Ever. (That title belongs to Whisper of the Heart.) And, truth be told, I felt that I was outgrowing the science fiction genre — aliens and space battles didn’t have the same appeal as in years past.
But, regardless: I was riding a hype train with no brakes.
Which is why, on October 26th, 2015, the day before Halo 5‘s release, I watched walkthroughs of the campaign on YouTube, not caring that the game wasn’t officially out yet because I just had to know what happened right now!
And when I learned of Cortana’s role in Halo 5…
In my review of Halo 5, I said this:
Halo 5’s story might as well crumple up Halo 4’s story and throw it in my face.
I feel like what I went through in Halo 4 was for nothing.
No. Actually. It is worse than being all for nothing.
I feel betrayed.
I feel like I got spat in the face and punched in the gut.
In a blog post on Halo HQ, I said that no matter what, Halo 5 wouldn’t piss me off.
Well, 343, Halo 5’s story proved me wrong.
If I had to pick one word to describe Halo 5’s story, it would be “Sadistic.”
There’s 343 standing over me, dangling Halo 6 on a string in front of me like it’s a piece of meat and I’m a dog, saying, “You want to know the rest? Wait for Halo 6…”
Or Halo 7 or Halo 8 or Halo 9 or Halo 10 or who knows how long they’re going to drag this out!
I don’t want to know how the story ends anymore. I don’t want to care. But I just can’t. I can’t not care. And it is that fact, above all, that makes me hate Halo 5’s ending.
To paraphrase Roger Ebert: I hated Halo 5’s ending. Hated hated hated hated hated its ending. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
I was pissed.
Looking back now, one and a half years later, I am embarrassed.
Embarrassed that I would allow a story — even a story in a series I loved like “Halo” — to affect me in such a way.
Halo 5, for a time, worsened my depression.
I reached out to “Halo” YouTubers, looking to vent my anger to a larger audience than the one that reads this blog.
For a time, I had nothing but vitriol for all things “Halo.”
As far as I was concerned: The moment Cortana became Space Hitler is when “Halo” jumped the shark.
Looking back on all the blog posts I wrote venting my anger, and the YouTube video and Facebook posts that were created as a result, I now realize that I overreacted.
Contrary to what I thought on October 27th, 2015, Cortana becoming evil is not the worst thing ever.
It’s actually a good thing.
This is why:
Cortana is a dictator now.
A dictator who has no regard for the man she fought to protect.
But: Everyone’s favorite badass blue buxom beauty is still alive.
And where there’s life, there’s hope.
Everything Old Is New Again
The “evil robot tries to enslave humanity” trope is one of the oldest tropes in fiction.
A number of “Halo” fans expressed disappointment at 343 going down such a worn path.
But: Cortana being evil gives 343 the opportunity to do something unique with the trope — to not just have Cortana be defeated by the inevitable uprising of her subjects like, for example, V.I.K.I. in I, Robot (2004):
What could 343 do that is “new”?
Well, that’s why 343 hires writers, is it not? To answer such a question?
Becoming human would be the fulfillment of Cortana’s greatest desire: To know if a sun “looks real. If it feels real.”
I want Cortana to know that. And now that Cortana is back from the dead, it’s (hopefully) only a matter of time before she does.
What can I say? I have a soft spot for AI.
Plus, to appease the shipper in me:
If she becomes human, there’s the possibility of Cortana and Chief makin’ babies.
Cortana would make a good mother.
For reasons I won’t get into, earlier this month I chose to end a relationship I had had with a lady friend.
I acted like the kind of person I promised myself I never would. And I felt that communication had broken down between us. So, in order to spare myself further pain, I broke off contact with her.
I don’t blame her or anything. I can’t control how anyone acts. And I wouldn’t want to. The only thing I can control is how I act. And, I realize, I acted like an asshole.
I was thinking about that while writing this post.
An unfortunate reality of life is “Good things don’t always last.”
The relationship you thought could last forever? Careful — its foundation might not be as rock-solid as you think.
Cortana’s betrayal of Chief reminds me of that lesson.
Sometimes things fall apart.
Thank you, 343 — really, thank you — for reminding me of that unfortunate, but important, truth.
Halo 6‘s story could go anywhere.
Chief and Cortana could go anywhere.
With that in mind, I am optimistic.
Life is a storm.
But, to quote Syd Matters:
Someday we will foresee obstacles through the blizzard