Halo 4 saw the end of one of gaming’s most revered character duos, Master Chief and Cortana. Having been with players since the beginning of the franchise with the original Halo in 2001, players came to treat Cortana as a sidekick, rather than just a voice in your head giving you commands. In Halo 4, 343 explored the theme of humanity and whether or not the Chief was just a machine or if there really is a man inside the suit.

Cortana was the one thing the Chief was tasked with protecting, and with Cortana nearing the end of her lifecycle during the events of Halo 4, Chief showed an emotion we had not previously seen in Halo games. This is the major reason I don’t want 343 to find a way to bring Cortana back in the next Halo. Obviously we have no details currently on the next Halo and the story arc that 343 will follow, but I’m curious as to how Chief will deal with the loss of Cortana.

As we saw a more human side of the Chief in Halo 4, it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with loss. The teaser trailer obviously made a note of this as he wears her data card around his neck like a set of dog tags for a fallen soldier. Will the loss of Cortana affect how Chief fares in battles, will gameplay changes be made? I think the weirdest part of the whole ordeal is if 343 introduce a new AI to “replace” Cortana. Players may be set back by this and even frustrated, which in my opinion would be a great move by 343. Having a new AI take Cortana’s place would really drive home the fact that she really is gone, never to return.

Too often developers are afraid to kill off major characters, but 343 has a chance to pull a George R. Martin and make a big impact on Halo’s core story with the loss of a character as iconic as Cortana.

Some liked the ending of Halo 4, others didn’t. What did you think? Would you want 343 to bring Cortana back if they could make it fit within the story? The only possible solution I can think of for 343 to bring Cortana back is if Dr. Halsey were to make another AI in the way that she made Cortana by cloning her brain again, but in the same sense players would know, this isn’t the same Cortana.

Nick Calandra
OnlySP founder and former site owner.

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41 Comments

  1. I dont know.. I mean, I really want to see Cortana again! But, maybe they could use Halo 5 to “search” for Cortana and then as a big cliffhanger, we would begin to see signs of Cortana again.

    1. Eh, we all love Cortana and I’m sure there will be story references to her in the game, but I think Master Chief is going to become a much more dynamic character with her gone now. He hasn’t changed much over the course of the series and now he’s not JUST a soldier, he’s human.

  2. She is coming back. The next two games will revolve around her returning and the forerunners.

  3. Chief not having Cortana along for the ride would be as boring as Drake without Scully or any of those great duos without one another .

  4. Honestly, I just can’t see a Halo without Cortana. It would be interesting I think, but I just can’t see it.

  5. Cortana could never really leave or be gone entirely seeing as she has been such an impact on not only John but us as well for over a decade.That being said though I don’t believe 343 should bring her back after only 1 game, at least not entirely.
    Showing up like she did in halo 3 would be a great way to incorporate her. John going through his “human” feelings and flashbacks of her appearing on the screen.
    A new AI would challenge John in a way he never knew. Hearing Cortana’s voice giving him commands then realizing she was never there. He’s alone with his new “friend”
    When all hope is lost in finding her, John recedes to his cyro chamber and just as he is about to go under he hears an eery scream, Cortana’s . A bad memory…then the words “john help me” another bad memory…no not a memory a vision. Chief yells Cortana’s name is desperation, then goes under…

  6. Wow, I never really thought about it like that.

    Actually, I never thought about it at all! I was so overwhelmed with the sad fact, that I just naively decided the game was bad because my feelings were negative.

    I’m glad I read this article. I have a new-found respect for 343 Industries now.

  7. God… Please… YES! I would LOVE to have Cortana come back. Master Chief’s story just wouldn’t be the same without her.

  8. I can see it working for a little bit of the game. But cortana being completely gone forever, no. If she’s gone forever I won’t be purchasing another halo game. I bought halo for the story and to have cortana gone wouldn’t feel right. You can’t have chief without cortana and vise versa. I don’t see it working one bit and they’d be losing a fan that’s been there since 2001.

    1. you brought it for the story? then undoing the story of 4 would be pointless.

      1. You make it sound like the only thing that happened in Halo 4 was her death.

        1. It was a masive part of the plot, and you want to undo that.

          1. No her death was maybe 5% of the plot.

  9. without Cortana they should just rename it to Hollow 5!

  10. There’s a very important difference to be made about Cortana and other main characters/side kicks – and between Halo and Game of Throne’s narrative.

    Solving the Halo and GoT issue, GoT has an ensemble crew of characters. Halo has one main protagonist: Master Chief. Even Noble 6’s entire story was dedicated to Master Chief, and being his catalyst.

    Now, putting Cortana’s character in perspective. She is a lot more than a side kick. To add contrast, let’s bring up Sargent Johnson. Johnson was a side kick. You fought alongside him constantly within Halo, and when you didn’t, you almost always knew what he was doing. He was there until the end, and when he died, I had a hard time getting over it, but I did. He was a secondary character, a ‘robin’.

    Cortana however is a persona and element of the MAIN character. She has been the Chief’s voice, as a workaround to the “silent protagonist” narrative. In a very rough sense, it is a “brains and brawn” match. Cortana also offers the unique ability for the main character to both be able to relate to male and female players, something Halo has always targeted. Chief offers the male half, while Cortana offers the female half. Getting rid of her is doing a dis-service to this dynamic (however it looks like they are introducing a female spartan from the cover art of Guardians. But having a ‘side kick’ isn’t enough, as Cortana was constantly a part of the player – again being the voice, and the source of reason. Cortana had the ideas, Chief had the talent.)

    Cortana is as much the main protagonist as Chief. It’s not as simple as getting rid of a sidekick. You are killing off part of the protagonist’s persona, and hardening the ability to relate to said protagonist.

  11. I would lose a great deal of respect for 343 if they brought Cortana back. While they can cater to their fans clamouring for the return of Cortana, it defeats the purpose of killing her off in the first place. It cheapens her death, ruins the story line. There are casualties in war, and I love that 343 reflected it in Halo 4. I prefer a realistic story with death and loss, not some silly fairy tale where all your favourite characters are brought back just because you like them. For everyone who threatens to not buy the game because Cortana isn’t coming back? Go buy yourself a colouring book and watch the Teletubbies.

    1. wow u srs?

    2. Its good to know that this meta sci-fi series is realistic enough for you. Have you ever tried historical games? Lots of main characters die there. In fact, all of them do. I think it’ll be a haven. In my colouring book days I watched TMNT and played mortal kombat, and since I’m too lazy to search what that retarded Teletubies shit means, I’ll just assume it’s something only you and a few others are familiar with.

  12. Stupidest post I’ve ever read. Of course you played from the beginning Halo games. Replace Cortana? New AI? lmfao

    Halo is Xbox’s biggest selling platinum titled game. Master Chief and Cortana is what makes Halo. Without either of them, Halo won’t be the same. If Cortana ain’t returning, it don’t have to be straight away, but if there is no way she is coming back, then I won’t be buying an Xbox One or Halo. I will be done. If 343 think they can take over, make the worst multiplayer I’ve ever seen, a short campaign lasting 2 days, then killing off a character that’s been with me since childhood for over a decade when it was only just Last game (Halo 3) we saved her, WE could of gotten her to Dr.Halsey and get her fixed instead were stuck stopping Didact instead which he ends up surviving anyway, yeah, this sounds fucking terrible.

    There is loads of ways for her to come back and she will. If not they can enjoy hundreds of thousands of people dropping Halo all together. Then you will see in the news – ‘Halo 5 sales not as good as expected’

    It is factually impossible, based on many hints for her to return. And the next game is going to be more about the Humanity of Chief, what makes us Human? Hope. It’s going to be that hope to get Cortana back and Chief will stop at nothing. If for some reason he don’t, he don’t seem to try and find a way, almost as if he’s ‘over it’ this just shows 100% the game is forced and rushed in a direction that makes no sense all for the sake of bad story telling by 343. But that wont happen because it goes against common sense and logic.

    Next game will be tough, Chief will be forced to overcome challenges, question certain things, holding onto the shimmer of hope to bring Cortana back, and before long ‘near the end’ meet with Dr.Halsey get her to safety and Cortana returns in the many ways possible before the credits roll. Cortana is far too important to the Halo genre to just kill off. Playing a mission, heading into battle, music starts….but…no..’Chief!’ Cortana saying a line, it will be like we ain’t playing Chief at all.

    So I am 100% sure she will come back. And to anyone who says this will make Halo 4s ending pointless, well no because everything it stood for still has merit and Chief still has the challenges to face. Others saying ‘she should stay gone’ don’t bother posting. Your a minority and it don’t matter what you think especially when your first Halo game was probably 4.

    1. Ha, actually I’ve played every single Halo game released and read the books. So I think my opinion on the subject is just as valid as anyone else s. Cortana’s an iconic character, obviously, but just because she’s that doesn’t mean 343 would bring her back. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Halo 5 and neither do you, so I wouldn’t make assumptions that she’ll be back. And sorry to burst your bubble, but the game will sell whether she’s in it or not..

      1. You forget though that Chief is seen with halsey’s data in his hands.. at least that’s what we could assume.. He’ after the cloning facility to finally make the human version of her he so wanted.. I mean, that’s obvious isn’t it?

        Also the librarian could have made a copy of her as well.. there’s no reason why she should be gone forever though. As long as Master Chief is in the picture her part in his story is imperative.

        1. I agree that she’s imperative to the story, but if she does return in some shape or form I don’t think it’ll be in a way that we expect. 343’s been pretty clear that this is now Master Chief’s story. So you never know, I just provided my opinion on the subject.

          I’d personally feel it’d be a step backwards to push Chief over the edge emotionally and then to bring her right back. I’d like to see him deal with that loss in Halo 5.

  13. I honestly think Cortana should return to halo in Halo 5. as actual Cortana not a replica like you’ve stated they do. Yes killing off iconic characters have worked for other medias like the game of thrones frachise and then the Star Wars expanded universe, Harry Potter ect… but it’s different when a character is so tied into and attached to the said franchise.Yes Master Chief is the main Protaganist and the core of Halo, but Cortana has become the very same thing. John117 and Cortana have become the epitome of videogame duos since 2001 and separating this duo after almost 14 years could be very damaging to the franchise. yes losing characters like Sergeant Johnson was a blow because he was a part of the series since the beginning as well but he wasn’t as important and as tied to the core of the game as the two of them have been. The only one that may come close to them is the Arbiter but we already know that he is returning to the games.But to keep the series going for however long they want to keep this going for, they need the two of them to be apart of it together or it could spell the end for Halo as we know it

  14. I don’t care…..Cortana NEEDS to come back! In the 5th and stay in the 6th!

  15. In the halo 5 trailer, chief seems to be looking for something. He finds the giant owl/forerunner thing (Guardian?) and looks down at cortanas data chip. I think he is trying to get her back, and maybe her secret lies in the forerunners data, maybe a way to reboot her or reinforce her.

    1. That’s not Cortanas chip it’s another one cause Cortanas chip basically got incinerated when master chief was trying to get down the shields for Didact

  16. Did no one here think about what the librarian could have done when she took cortana?

    1. Good point

      You’ve figured it out

      1. wtf.

  17. They should use Cortana’s absence to the games advantage and create a really exciting twist to the storyline.

  18. This is my theory of how Cortana may return; when master chief is fighting Didact he gets thrown on the ground and stays there for about 7-10 seconds and remembers Cortana saying at the start of halo 4 “don’t make a girl a promise that you can’t keep” and gets up and pulls off some real spartan s*** and manages to get the fragments of Cortana from Didact and Dr. Halsey puts it back together and then boom master chief has Cortana back

  19. cortana was composed to mainly living tissue, the only was to revive her is with a dna match with that tissue that has gone rancid, in the Spartan ops mini movies, it shows DR halsy helping for the covenant for the other half of this key, she is now against the unsc,but wait, in the first ct scene the man wanted to decommission the chief, that could possible make seirra 117 a target of the UNSC, both the DR and chief are wanted, so what do I think, I think we have halsy helping chief revive cortana, by new dna tissue, and the data left behind from the librarian incident and the composer, this way cortana can return.if you agree message my back on face book Alec Voisine, NightRider331 signing out…

    1. Cortana isn’t composed of living tissue. She’s a virtual copy of a flash-clone of Dr. Halsey’s brain. Her potential cure for her rampancy would be for Cortana to use the original Halsey’s brain as a template to re-order her whacked out neural pathways. Captain Del Rio wanted Chief and Cortana decommissioned but he was removed from command and replaced with Lasky, who fully supports the Chief and Cortana. His reluctance to help Halsey comes from her not only her status as a war criminal, but also her repeated efforts to thwart security, access classified information, and secretly communicate with known hostile elements. Though Halsey is being shafted for no reason, Lasky’s hands are tied. There’s no reason to think that Chief is ‘wanted’ by anyone though.

      I feel that Cortana could live on within a Forerunner-made AI construct. After all, Guilty Spark went for millennia before rampancy set in.

  20. i know some of u out there r sad dat cortana is gone n some of your childhood memories r atached to her in the prev halos but its not like a large crowd of ppl sticking knives at each others throat will solve any thing ALL U HAVE GOT NOW IS HOPE SHE COMES BK FOR THOSE WHO WANT HER BK N IF SHE DOESNT U CAN GO AHEAD N RAGE ALL U WANT BC ITS A GAME N GAMES WERE MADE TO ENTERTAIN PEOPLE I MY SELF WANTS TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME WHAT ITS GOING TO BE SO I CAN LOOK FOR ANOTHER GAME TO STICK TO IF THE STORY GETS F*******D UP
    N STUFF __(((({{{{well lets see how dis will play out when the game is released}}}}))))__

  21. Who the fuck is George R. Martin?..Oh, you mean George R. R. Martin. Gotchya.

  22. I was angry, but not that they killed Cortana. I was angry because they killed her without leaving a trace behind. What I want more than anything is for Cortana to have left a child: An AI just beginning to grow sentience, naive and easily influenced, but with Forerunner advancement inherited from her mother.

  23. I’m sorry to say this but the character development between Cortana and MC is 60% the reason why I stuck with the Halo series. Halo:CE had me interested in all these new aliens and the novelty of the game in general, and I just kinda took Cortana as granted when I was slaughtering my way through pretty much everything as the Chief.

    As the games progressed and the scale was upped, too many variables started to form for me. Sure, I still find the story extremely interesting, but the story of Cortana and MC was the grounding factor. Without that, the balancing factor is gone, and that’s why I’m angry at the ending, which by the way provided very little resolution to their status quo.

    I don’t give a shit about everyone that wants their stories bitter sweet, in my opinion these stories are the worst, since they don’t fully commit to the happy ending and don’t fully commit to the sad ending on the endings spectrum. All I see in them is an attempt to appease everyone, by having a bit of both.

    To top it off, I don’t think her death was handled properly, it felt rushed to me. It just feels weird that THE MASTER CHIEF can’t beat Didact in hand to hand, and it’s gotta be the nuke and all that self sacrifice shit. Noble Six died awesome, Johnson died awesome, Cortana’s death made little sense to me. No matter how many times I see people defend her death, I get the feeling that they are eitherfairly detached from the series and don’t care about the character, or they are some script analysts that look at her as a plot reinforcement device and nothing more. Whatever the case, her death made very little logic to me, as in my opinion the ending of the game could’ve been handled better.

    I like my stories endings to be at least 70% happy. Unfortunately Cortana’s death dropped that percentage down to 50. Until I know that she is coming back at SOME POINT in the series, I’m not touching Halo. If her absence is there to trigger Chief’s humanity, cool, but I wanna know if I’m gonna be playing a broken, grieving man with no purpose or be playing a dude on a personal mission of redemption or whatever the right word is. In reality I just wanna see MC kick so much ass in order to get to Cortana, that at the end I as a player will be satisfied that all my troubles of xeno genocide will be fkin rewarded.

  24. a lot of bullshit to a smart person to write hum? Cortana is needed for this series… I started playing just because of her… and I will stop if she never comes back… I know im not the only one

  25. maybe something like a post credits scene showing a new Cortana who doesn’t remember a thing about what she and chief have been through

  26. definitely want her back

  27. They need Cortana so she can be product placement for Cortana services in Windows 10. lol

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