Storyline question

I thought Cortana sacrificed herself to keep Atriox from releasing the rest of the harbinger’s species but yet at the end of the game he still ends up releasing them which makes Cortana sacrifice meaningless why did the first part of the campaign end like this also do you think all of the harbinger’s species will be our enemy or do you think some of them might actually become allies for some reason

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Cortana wasn’t trying to stop anything at all, she was waiting on the ring for the Chief to come and basically snuff her out. What she didn’t expect is Atriox beating the stuffing out of UNSC and taking the deletion program (Weapon), coming down to the ring instead of Chief and killing her. After that, Atriox probably sought out a way to use Zeta to bring back Dosiac which if the lore of the Eternals go, has very strong time travelling hints.

So no, Cortana didn’t sacrifice herself for anything at all. She was there waiting for her best friend and only human she cared about to come put her down but that was taken from her.

Regarding the Eternals as a whole: they feel neutral to me at the moment, and every single lore piece and exposition is trying to paint them as a bad faction in the narrative which honestly doesn’t impress me. Right now our main antagonist is the Banished, but the Banished has struck a deal with the Eternals in some way which could spell trouble for humanity and every other faction in the universe because the Banished are a warmongering group.

I wanna see where 343 takes this because it could have a very complex plot or a very simplistic and lazy one, who knows.

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I would say that given how so much of the campaign was cut, and Jo Staton coming in later rather than sooner, now I do have hope of more biomes and campaign continuing in a good way, maybe one day we get things like rain and snow storms.

It would be nice perhaps if there was some interim dlc that could maybe add to existing part of campaign that had previously been cut. Sure hope the falcon get’s put into campaign rather than just mp

  1. She slowed him down and gave you a chance. Entire reason the Banished can’t just drive off with the ring n start blasting and how Chief single handedly curb stomps the Banished is because she destroys the ring. Plus the Banished might be more effective with Atriox in charge. It’s depicted as if he had already won and she prevented the Banished winning then and there.

  2. They haven’t fully revealed precisely what Cortana knew of the Endless. What Atriox plan is for them exactly. Her concern is stated to actually be about the Banished -

“He has the ring. A weapon pointed into the universe. My fault.”

So her concern is that Atriox is going to fire the ring. Which would result in him killing himself but that’s on point for Brutes; they’re not very clever.

  1. The Endless kind of have to be our enemy at this point. You can’t spend an entire game building up this threat. Saying that they’re more dangerous than the Flood. Having the Harbinger ominously quote the Gravemind; just to have them turn out to have been wronged and goody Cthulhu squid aliens who just need to be loved. Xenos need to die.

  2. Cortana might not actually be dead or that this isn’t permanent.

  • Strong indication time travel may be a factor. “If you know how you were going to die.” Chief says that he believes he could have talked Cortana down. He is shown that there’s still good in her. It’s his greatest failure etc etc That’s a very strong motivation to save Skynet.

  • Something is off about a doppelgänger with amnesia telling you a convoluted story about how her automatic deletion was prevented. When Cortana has every incentive to wipe her memory and take the Weapons place. We see the Weapons deleted memories include Cortana meeting Chief and it’s stated emphatically she should have no memory of Chief.

Think Savathun from Destiny how she learns who she is be rewatching her scattered memories. This is precisely what happens in Halo Infinite. This is Cortana trying to get a fresh start.

There’s also a clear analogy being drawn between the ring being shattered and slowly rebuilding itself and Cortana/Weapon.

  • Even if that’s not the case the weapon is shown merging with Cortanas memories. She is being shown these in order to mold her into being Cortana 2.0. This isn’t just theatre of the mind either, she’s shown to be almost wounded when this happens and says

“I felt what she felt. It was joy, anger and pain.”

At that point, if you’re a blank slate and are already predisposed to be like Cortana. She’s an empty vessel being filled with Cortanas memory.

  • Or, Chief is currently sealed in a Cylex (think that weird vision he has at end of game) along with all the (totally not composed) Banished/UNSC in some sort of Matrix like simulation as a still very insane Cortana plays God living out this twisted fantasy.

But basically her sacrifice doesn’t need to be final because her death might not be final. She doesn’t need to have killed Atriox or stopped his plan because Chief and Cortana are going to do that anyway.

Well, even as presented it isn’t final because the writers clearly just view the Weapon as Cortana 2.0 and a convoluted way of getting her in the story with Chief without going through all the steps of a redemption arc.

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The thing which Infinite’s open world hasn’t quite nailed yet is the replayability factor. Many open worlds actually fall victim to this so I wasn’t really expecting Infinite to ace it tbh.

Important things that Open Worlds need is less of a NEED to explore and more of a WANT to explore. The only studio who has nailed this down to a T is probably Fromsoft, and this is because they have been perfecting the formula for years now. (Check Demon Souls all the way till Elden Ring, each game had their own slew of problems which slowly got better)

The essence of Halo ultimately isn’t Open World exploration, which again, 343 failed to understand what made Halo a Halo. Halo was more of expressing the world as a canvas with moving bits and pieces which let the player perform their gameplay. Halo was never about “open levels” like CE’s Halo.

How can 343 improve Campaign, Openworld and replayability going forward? Quite simple, really.
We will have two distinct PvE experiences:

The Master Chief story, the solo adventure.

These will be told in the format of linear levels and carefully crafted levels. I mean levels like everything is properly planned, each area an arena, regardless the environment. This is the OG Campaign experience.

The Player Spartan narrative, the multiplayer.

These will utilize the open world in depth, have more areas to explore, with tons of lore scattered around. You load into the open world either alone or with a squad or even recruit a squad to explore Zeta. While Chief is off tackling serious objectives alone, the Player Spartans are sent in to hold ground against the Banish, explore the ring and skirmish against threats so that Chief has bases to return to after his mission.

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That’s not The Weapon’s deleted memories, that’s fragments of Cortana’s data in data clusters. More simply put, we’re seeing Cortana’s memories.

We’re explicitly told they’re the Weapons memories -

“This, this is a part of me. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but it is me. It was the last part of me I remember being deleted” - The Weapon

So the Weapon iterates 3 times that it was “me”, after just establishing the story that she had an automatic deletion routine which removed parts of her memory. The character can’t be mistaken since she doesn’t make this association with other data clusters in the same mission. On instinct she identifies this as part of her. She finds a fragment of what she explicitly says are her memories. Which turns out to be Cortana meeting Chief for the first time.

That’s kind of sus. :smile:

Now, is it not a little coincidental that this memory was the lay thing deleted? Surely if it was random and not Cortana hitting the factory reset it wouldn’t be this quite important memory. As if that was the last thing she wanted to forget.

You don’t think a doppelgänger and memory loss is a bit suspect?

Basically the Weapon is Cortana and she’s trying to convince herself and the Chief that this is the version sent to kill her. Fresh start.

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I think it’s important to remember that the entire campaign is a half-measure to the full retcon that they should have done. It was taking back Halo 5 without admitting that it was bad and just retconning back to the end of Halo 3.

The plot has gotten so convoluted and outlandish, I truly think the only way back to the success of the original games is cutting all of it and going back to the core of what made the games good (the 4 key aesthetics of the industrial, utilitarian human military, the purple, organic, religious covenant, the flood plague, and the ancient and mysterious forerunners.

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Reading the Encylopedia the last page clarifies why the endless are a big deal. Or were. I don’t think it is time travel, I think Infinite (and the encylopedia) did a bad job of explaining the endless.

The Endless are a big deal because they survived the halo array. When the surviving extra-galactic forerunners came back to check their work, they found them. And the Endless are just as powerful as they were before. The forerunners were scared that the endless would use this to their advantage and take the mantle of responsibility from humanity while humans at the time were still cavemen. So they parked Zeta Halo in orbit around the endless homeworld and locked them up in cylixes until humanity was ready to deal with them. Naturally the harbinger got released early.

However, that doesn’t make the endless much more of a threat than the promethans or created. And they can’t interface with forerunner tech, which is why they wanted the weapon so badly (which also implies that the humans are reliant on AI to interface with forerunner tech in the first place.) So, if the harbinger/endless are on equal playing field with the UNSC and Banished, then I don’t see how they can be “worse than the flood”.

The encyclopedia also explains that the Brutes specifically wanted both The Ark and the Halo rings so that they could have new homeworlds to inhabit after Doisac exploded, and be in a position of power while they repopulate.

So yeah, while I like Halo Infinite’s story more than Halo 5, between the Rubicon Protocol and the encyclopedia it looks like this game’s story requires homework again.

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Prior to this when John started hearing Cortana, he asked the Weapon and she told him they’re passing through a data node, and it’s bits of data left behind that’ll eventually fade: dust and echoes.

The line you’re quoting isn’t re: the memories, even the Weapon asks John what the memory scenes were after seeing them, you’re quote is referring to part of the activation index for the ring; that’s the data she lost.

Cortana and the Weapon are 2 very different characters, with the Weapon being “another Cortana model,” or more simply put, a “copy” of Cortana, but from the time of Cortana’s original creation.

Curious. How do you see them “taking back” Halo 5: Guardians?

Nah, the game focused on the fact that they survived the firing of the Halo array as well in the bits we got. The speculation of time travel only happened at the very end during the Harbinger battle. It wasn’t confusing at all, at least not to me.

In this regard, the Endless are “worse than the Flood” because the galaxy’s ultimate weapons can’t stop them.

Pray tell how the index she lost got mixed in with Cortanas memories? :blush:

You’re implying a distinction that isn’t made. In that scene she says those are her deleted memories. Three times. Why even bother telling the player this and putting emphasis on it just to confuse you by showing Cortanas memories.

You find the Weapon buried underground miles away from the Silent Auditorium waiting for you on this Golden Path Cortana laid out for you. We even see sentinels guarding this memory core on prior commands that leave as you approach. Controlling sentinels, sending the ring into Slipspace; lot of control for an AI the Weapon was meant to keep on lockdown. Clearly this is a scheme for you and Cortana 2.0 to make things work.

Why was she there? She should have been at the Silent Auditorium. If she was how did she get out of the blast zone? How was Cortana able to splice off the Weapons index chunk, mix it with her own memories and then place the Weapon in a secure location.

How could Cortana set all this up if she was on Lockdown. Why would the Weapons automatic deletion routine activate if Cortana wasn’t locked down, free enough to control the Halo ring and we noticeably never see the Weapon interact in this flashbacks with Cortana.

If anything, it seemed more like the “Weapon” was in lockdown than Cortana given her manipulation of the system. We find her in this secure bunker and she says she’s been there for months when per Rubicon the UNSC was fighting and dying for months. That’s kind of sus.

Again, it’s an incredibly convoluted and weird tale from a character who has amnesia that we’ve never met. Cortana has every incentive to lie to you and fake her death; whether benign or not. The far simpler answer is that Cortana had a change of heart and has taken the Weapons place.

Plus, you’re visually shown the Weapon merging with these data and memory fragments. Is it a huge stretch that Cortana could have simply defeated and absorbed the Weapon in a similar manner? Since, they’re literally the same code. The Weapon is presented almost as a computer virus being uploaded into a system.

They’re not really that different unless you’re comparing her to Halo 5 Cortana. It’s simply increasing the innocence factor because that’s appropriate the story. It would surprise me if they drop that entirely in future games.

Wait a sec. Cortana was the one who damaged the ring to stop Atriox from using it. Why else would she do that?

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Because they followed the data clusters and she recognized the code as being hers but doesn’t remember it because it’s Cortana’s, and she’s a copy of Cortana. So the code is “hers,” but it isn’t.

The whole big story “twist” for the Weapon was that she “is” Cortana, but isn’t. They’re code is the same save The Weapon is younger and hasn’t gone on to do the things Cortana has done.

It clearly is.

To address most of your other paragraphs, Cortana, realizing her folly, quickly set a plan in motion to stop the Banished, in which she used the Weapon and laid out a path for John and for the Weapon to guide him through. This is all explained in-game. Cortana saw a lot of potential in her younger copy.

Throughout the entire game Cortana is still helping John, even though she’s destroyed by this point.

This is actually what I was expecting from shortly after meeting the Weapon and the above sequence you’re discussing (when you find the first part of the activation index). I expected that the Weapon was defeated, absorbed, and you’ve actually been working with Cortana again the entire game, though she herself “lost” her own memories in the process and is essentially a “clean slate.”

I thought her finding memories over time would reveal this to be the case, but the game itself disproves this during the Weapon’s revelation that she’s a copy of Cortana (I’m… her!!!), and then Cortana’s own goodbye at Campaign’s end (and through a few of the final memory sequences you see).

Don’t get me wrong, I like your overall idea, but it’s already been proven incorrect through the game’s own narrative.

Of course, it’s always possible 343 could turn the story back in this direction if they wish, but for now, the Weapon is indeed her own character and not Cortana herself.

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The “return to form” and “spiritual reboot” were clearly based on the negative response to the plot and art direction of Halo 4/5. The gigantic time gap was meant to distance us from Halo 5, and the resolution of Halo 5s key plot points (around Cortana and Locke/Chief,) happening off-screen also indicate to me that they were shifting directions, totally moving away from “the created” and that plotline, in favor of something they thought was more in line with the original games (particularly the first game, which they emulated to the point where the entire open world feels like a single mission in CE.)

Of course where they miscalculated was that 1: the art style of the original games had 4 brilliantly distinct styles - the covenant, the humans, the forerunners, and the flood. In Infinite, the human, banished, and forerunner structures look practically the same.

They should just admit that things aren’t going well, and retcon all of 4, 5, and Infinite. Then they can take the good ideas (there were some!) and implement them into a new series that starts in the human-covenant war and ties in where Halo 3 left off.

Particularly, they should go back to the original story, where Humans were forerunners.

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Very simple.

Why give Cortana a redemption arc and kill her off just to replace her with a copy?

You’ve already done the hard work reminding the player of all the good stuff Cortana did, having her get a change of heart and at the end do expect the player to forgive Cortana for the Halo 5 stuff. That’s how it’s presented.

The main reason against Chief just getting Cortana back, which he has to all intents and purposes, is that The Man would have something to say about it. She’s too dangerous to be left alive.

An easy way out of that scenario is for somebody to lie. That’s not Cortana. That a totally different AI.

343 have made it pretty clear that they view the Chief/Cortana thing as central to the story and believe people like that. If you want to continue making drama there then you have to create some other conflict that isn’t Cortana taking over the Galaxy or dying of rampancy. Her essentially lying to the Chief and faking her death would do that. Putting the Chief in the position of either going along with that and lying to the UNSC. The man maybe being a bit suspect. Maybe Atriox knows this and he’s going to reveal this to sow discord between the two. It would create those flashpoints.

Yes you can do some of these things with the Weapon. Maybe you think the Weapon and a lack of player investment is an excuse to pivot the story away from that pairing being the focus; but that’s at odds with Infinite. I just don’t see what gained if Weapon is just the Weapon and you’d be losing quite a bit.

That or they’re planning on time travel of course. Or Zeta Halo fired and locked everybody into Cylex in a matrix style simulation.

Plus I agree with the quote marks. It’s not a twist that the Weapon is a copy of Cortana. That’s very obvious and I was literally like “and….” when that’s revealed. Such a bizarre moment. I just don’t think Weapon as a new AI works because she’s always going to be this ghost haunting you.

See that’s what I don’t get.

Realistically, you could probably address most of the actual story in that one year gap in a single novel.

Have a single short novel with a Cortana POV, with a human POV on Created occupied Earth and Infinity as Battlestar Galactica. To beat a dead horse, it has been 7 years and not a single one of those three things has been done in any Halo media.

I don’t think that’s particularly onerous. People who want closure on Halo 5 get what they want, people who hate Halo 5 don’t get this rammed down their throat in a game and frankly I’d rather they wrote that than the thirtieth version of -

“We got to get to the artefact before the Covenant”

Instead of what they actually did which was write just about anything else other than the State of the Galaxy and be incredibly vague. Genuinely, it is squeezing blood from a stone to get any actual lore from it. Shadows of Reach might as well have nothing to do with the Created; it’s just another story of get to the relic before the Covenant. Bad Blood basically doesn’t tell you any more than what you in Halo 5. You get various angles to the end of Halo 5 but then no follow up to it.

It’s pretty clear that because the story was so up in the air and they weren’t certain what was going to be covered in Halo Infinite that they picked the “do nothing” option.

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Fair enough. A few points:

I don’t know what faction was originally going to be the primary antagonists of the game, but they switched to the Banished not because the Created were poorly received, but because the Banished were so well received.

With respect to art styles, I disagree here. The UNSC, Banished, and Forerunners each clearly have their own style. One’s that are all very familiar.

If they do something like that, they won’t retcon the games they’ll do a full reboot, but at this point I don’t think that’s necessary. Halo 4 was actually really good and far better than people give it credit for. Halo 5: Guardians, while one of the lesser stories of the franchise, is still good (I don’t believe any of the game’s stories are outright bad). Halo Infinite’s is really good and a lot of fun.

The humans not being actual Forerunners, as implied in the first two games, was a Bungie change, not a 343 Industries change. I always find it amusing watching the players of today continually harp on 343, and in turn praising Bungie. Yet the issues they complain about with 343 are the same issues Bungie had!

Shipping unfinished games, technical issues, poor writing, etc. are all things Bungie is guilty of with their Halo titles, yet either it’s been long enough the rose coloured googles prevent people from remembering it or perhaps their first trip out with the Bungie games was the MCC.

Again dude, I like your idea, but the game very clearly says this is not the case. The Weapon is not actually Cortana.

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Well she says “I am her” so yeah… :smile:

That would be fine if the Chief initially thinks or suspected that it was Cortana pretending to be someone else. But the possibility that this is just Cortana masquerading as the Weapon isn’t brought up. You’re just introduced to a character you’ve never met.

No character directly challenges the assumption that she’s dead.

I think you’re down playing how vague they were with some of the flashbacks. For example why not show the Weapon and Cortana interacting when she’s locked down? What story purpose would the Weapon having amnesia serve exactly?