Halo’s creative team dismisses community backlash on Cortana redesign

The Halo TV series creative team has explained Cortana’s redesign to address the initial concerns made by the Halo community.

Development around the Halo TV series, releasing exclusively on Paramount+ March 24th, has had some ups and downs over the last couple of months.

There were concerns that Paramount might have to remove the original Halo score because of an existing lawsuit, early reviews aren’t getting the best rating, and it has already been renewed for a second season before release, which isn’t uncommon.

One element that has a large portion of the community unhappy though is the redesign of Cortana, the beloved artificial intelligence that accompanies protagonist Spartan 117, aka Master Chief, almost through the entire franchise.

In an interview with GamesRadar, executive producer and head of transmedia at developer 343 Industries, Kiki Wolfkill, discussed the decision making process and justification for this new Cortana.

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Image: Cortana Halo 4 / 343 Industries

“It’s so funny because we change her design for every game. And a lot of that is driven by technology,” Wolfkill stated. “A lot of the design changes as we progress[ed] through the game generations was because we had access to better graphics, technology, more pixels, and more effects. And so it’s always been about adapting Cortana to the environment.”

Wolfkill continued by saying, “In this situation, it’s so very different from the games in that she has to feel real. And by that, I don’t mean feel like a real human. She has to feel like a real AI, a real hologram, and be a character that real people are acting against… That was really the impetus in designing her – how do we make her feel very tangible in this Halo world?”

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Image: Master Chief Halo TV series / Paramount

Some people might not realise that the original voice actor is playing Cortana in the Halo TV series, Jen Taylor, who also comments on the new design.

“I understand why people are protective of that [original design],” Taylor says. “I am curious to see how it’s received. I’m interested in seeing something different and seeing something new. I apologize for my wishy-washiness: Yes, I understand. Yes, I’m also interested to see what she looks like in this new version.”

What are your thoughts on the change? Though I’m initially not a fan of the redesign, I need to see how it works in the series, if it does at all. Let us know what you think!