Halo fans are mad about Cortana design in Paramount+ TV series

By Olivia Richman

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Apr 3, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

Fans of the iconic Halo video game franchise have been skeptical about the live-action adaptation since it was first announced. When Halo players didn’t see Cortana in the first episode of the Paramount+ series, many became confused. But then it only got worse once Cortana finally made an appearance.

At the start of the television series, Cortana is apparently still in development. The AI is meant to be a clone of Dr. Catherine Halsey. In the Halo video games, Halsey originally created 20 clones of herself, with the surviving two combining their brains to create the Cortana AI. In the TV show, Cortana is created from just a single clone.

But for Halo fans, it wasn’t this difference in the plot that frustrated them. It was actually Cortana’s looks.

Cortana redesign leaves fans frustrated

Cortana’s appearance in the Paramount+ show is a lot more realistic and human than her more robotic holograph in some of the games. Going from heavy sci-fi influences to such realism felt jarring to fans who were used to seeing the same general Cortana design since 2001. Where was the hologram-like appearance? Where was the blue?

The Halo series executive producer, Kiki Wolfkill, responded to the negative backlash with confusion. Wolfkill explained to GamesRadar that Cortana has a different design in every game as well, a decision that was always “driven by technology.”

Blog post image
Funny timeline of Cortana’s designs by Visioncy

“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 said.

But her newest redesign may just be a bit too far for Halo fans thanks to how closely Corana’s appearance resembles that of a human. Luckily, Cortana is still voiced by OG actress Jen Taylor. The voice actress has portrayed Cortana since 2001 and stated that she understands why fans are “protective” of the design. But Cortana is much different in the television show, not only in appearance but also her overall personality.

“She has different goals than the Cortana that we have known in the past 20 years. So that is really fun. I get to do some slightly different things,” Taylor said.

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