The creators of Paramount+'s Halo TV series have recently responded to Cortana's controversial redesign explaining that they wanted Master Chief's AI companion to feel "very tangible" on the live-action series.
During an interview with GamesRadar+, Kiki Wolfkill, a studio head at 343 and Halo's executive producer, was asked about the reaction to Cortana's new look in the Halo TV show, and he explained that the decision was partly driven by technology, as the team likes to use the latest tools to make considered design choices, just like how they worked throughout the decades-spanning video game series.
"It's so funny, because we change her design for every game. And a lot of that is driven by technology," Wolfkill explained. "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.
"In this situation, it's so very different from the games in that she has to feel real," Wolfkill added. "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?"
Jen Taylor, who provided the voice of Cortana in the mainline Halo games, reprises her role as the AI companion for the upcoming TV series. Taylor says she's "curious" to see how the live-action version of her Cortana plays out.
"I understand why people are protective of that [original design]. I am curious to see how it's received. I'm interested in seeing something different and seeing something new... I'm also interested to see what she looks like in this new version," Taylor said, adding that the AI has "different goals than the Cortana that we have known in the past 20 years."
The Halo TV show stars Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, and he will be joined by Natasha McElhone as Dr. Halsey, “the brilliant, conflicted and inscrutable creator of the Spartan super soldiers”; Bokeem Woodbine as Soren, “a morally complex privateer at the fringes of human civilization whose fate will bring him into conflict with his former military masters and his old friend, the Master Chief”; and newcomer Yerin Ha as Kwan, “a shrewd, audacious 16-year-old from the Outer Colonies who meets Master Chief at a fateful time for them both.”