When Bungie introduced Master Chief to the world in 2001 in “Halo: Combat Evolved,” the game became a phenomenon. Heralded as “the most important launch game of any console, ever” it quickly surpassed GoldenEye to became the gold standard (zing!) of competitive multiplayer games.
WARNING: MINOR “HALO 5” CORTANA SPOILER INSIDE!
It also brought Master Chief”s purple A.I. named Cortana into the public consciousness. Instantly a sex symbol, Cortana was a product of her time: a sexy sidekick for a testosterone-driven first person shooter. Over the next decade and a half, Cortana would become so intertwined with Microsoft”s brand they”d end up naming their voice command program after her.
Of course, her look also evolved. With each sequel Cortana looked less and less like she was wearing a space-aged body and more like she was basically naked. By “Halo 4,” players could even see her belly button.
Image Credit: Bungie via Dorkly
“Halo 4” also introduced a brand-new A.I. named Roland. Besides being male, the main difference between the two avatars was that Roland wore clothes, throwing into stark contrast the double-standard when it came to character design. In fact, all other humanoid A.I. in the “Halo” universe – be it novels or comics – wear clothes. So what was 343 Studios to do with Cortana, who”s look is now so iconic but very outdated? Throw caution to the wind and put some clothes on her.
“Halo 5” finally introduced Cortana to the wide world of a wardrobe. Her classic look is maintained in both shape and color while creating the illusion she's wearing fitted body armor instead of her birthday suit.
In a recent interview with GamesRadar, “Halo” franchise director Frank O”Connor explained their retcon backstory to explain Cortana's former nudist ways:
“She's not really nude … but that's what it makes you think of. So one of the reasons she [chooses to appear without clothes] is to attract and demand attention. And she does it to put people off so that they're on their guard when talking to her and she has the upper hand in those conversations.”
O”Connor continues to talk about Cortana”s “strategy” when it comes to appearing naked in the article.
What do you guys think? Is that a good enough in-universe explanation? Or should they just have put clothes on Cortana and left her history ambiguous?