I am writing this post in the hopes that someone at 343/Microsoft will see this and be able to give me some feedback. I’m activating my old xbox account just to post this because I feel like it’s a very important topic for me. I’ve been a fan of halo since game number 1 on the first xbox and I stopped playing halo after ODST came out but I’m not here to talk about the series as a whole or why I no longer enjoy it as much as I once did.
My concern is over the new look of Cortana and well, her -Yoink!- appeal. I always liked Cortana since the very first game because she was not only really helpful during the course of the game but she was pretty cute with her bob/tomboy haircut and her understated looks. She never came off as a Lara Croft type character to me, her personality and witty comments solidified her as something more than just a pretty face who could order you around during the game. I grew to not only like her but to care about her on another level similar to how the character Alyx from the Half-Life series was always likeable and quirky and fun to be around without having the -Yoink!- appeal of a supermodel or the looks of a busty babe.
We’ve all seen Cortana’s new style in plenty of images leading up to the games release but last night when my two friends who still are deeply into halo brought over their xbox to play the new game (their currently without power due to the bad storm that hit the New York area and since I have power I was more than happy to have them over to enjoy their game)but during the opening scene my first friend said “wow, cortana looks. . .” and before he could finish his statement my other friend said “yea, I’d bang her.” Now I know that might call into question the quality of my friends and how they view the games they play but to me, I never once cared about Cortana’s looks since the very first game. This deeply upsets me because I fear that new players of the series will not understand the Master Chief’s attachment to Cortana in quite the same way as those who have been with the series since earlier times and even those who have played the old games, Cortana’s actions will now be overlooked or forgotten due to her new style.
One might chalk up Cortana’s new look as just technology allowing the artists to render her as they saw her and maybe she was held back by the older generation of consoles and now is only being shown as she truly was meant to be. I don’t want to take away the hard work and creative abilities of those who make such great games. My feelings are though that Cortana has seemed to change too much with each game that comes out, becoming more and more lifelike but also her -Yoink!- appeal and style is something that seems to be increasing as well. Cortana’s attachment for me was always about how much she helped the character out and really provided a guide and partner to share the experience with but she seems to me, more of an object now, something to be saved because she can’t save herself from going rampant.
I’m not the most knowledgeable about halo lore as others, I read some of the books and played games 1-3 plus ODST and I did play reach once at a friends house through the single player but I’ve lost my passion for halo, I’m not sure why. This new redesign though kinda strikes me close to home and makes me care more about how the series will be looked upon in the future because even though I don’t own halo 4 and am no longer a big halo player, she was someone I really thought had a unique style because she wasn’t the hottest character in the game, in fact many of the halo women such as the young Ms. Keys seemed to be more about their drive and personality than their looks and that’s what made them such great characters.
I fear for the younger generation who might pick up Halo 4 or the parents who see their kids play these games and think, “well of course the player wants to save her, she’s really good looking and she’s all sad about her fate, similar to how princess peach needs to be saved or zelda seems unable to break herself out of being captured all the time.” (baring zelda turning into shiek, there’s a big of a gender blur there that was actually quite fresh and good for the series I think as was zelda in wind waker where she was a badass pirate captain type character) I also don’t want to sound like I’m complaining or that I don’t have a right to say these things because I no longer am an active halo player or into the halo universe as much, I don’t want to tell people how to do their jobs because honestly, you all deserve to make the game you want to make!!!
I do however think that characters like Bayonetta or Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw, while they are quite the opposite of Cortana, they ooze -Yoink!- appeal but on the other hand, those characters realize how they effect others and it shows in their personality, sometimes for good, sometimes for the worst. Bayonetta and Juliet still have problems and breakdowns but they do manage to save themselves from their problems, yes they do get help from others and they are the STARS of their games but that doesn’t change how we the players sympathize with them while playing. Halo to me, was always not about how people looked but the actions they took and how that effects others. By changing Cortana so much, I can’t help but feel like some of her actions will be lost on those who now are focused on her looks, even the die-hard fans.
I guess what I would want out of making this post is maybe a bit of insight as to why Cortana is now being shown as she is rather than as she was. I could be reading into this way too much but for me, a gamer to actually think that a character has become too -Yoink!-, well, that must mean it’s hitting a chord with others out there and I’d really like to hear some feedback about this. I probably have much more to say but honestly I’m still in shock over how much Cortana has changed. She was an advanced AI created to help save the Earth for threats that could spell doom for the galaxy, her looks and styles are influenced by her creator, to me she seems sorta like a digital map of Halsey’s brain but she does have her own individual quirks that make her a stand-alone character. Does she choose to grow her hair out a bit or have a bigger bust or is this something the design team wanted for another reason? It’s hard to put my thoughts into words because I really do feel a bit outraged at how this is going down. I don’t want my message to be passed off or made fun of by anyone either part of the team or by the fans because I do think that these things are important to future generations of gamers and how games are made.
Thank you for your time and effort,
Once a Halo fan, always a Halo fan, (even if I can’t play all your games)