First a preface…
I DID NOT VIEW ANY LEAKED MATERIAL. THIS IS ALL SPECULATION. I REPEAT THIS IS NOT BASED ON ANY LEAKED INFORMATION
This happens to me at the eve of the release of any game I have any emotional investment in. The darkness sweeps over me and I begin to wonder “which one of my favorite characters are they going to kill off because, you know, it is cool dark edgy and mature?”
So it hit on me, like a Spartan heel kick to the chest…Cortana’s expiration date is well past and a new female lead (right now just a secondary character apparently) is introduced with a VERY FIRST interaction that suggests tension between her and John (talking about Palmer).
I have the horrible sinking feeling 343i is planning to kill off Cortana and replace her as a female lead (and maybe paramour) as well as emotional anchor/humanity of the chief with Palmer (a role she may share with Laskey from what we see on FUD)
God I sincerely hope I am wrong but this feeling has its claws sunk into my heart like a phantom beast feeding off of my caffeine induced despair dragging me down deeper into this emotional black hole.