Halo fans have long wondered why Master Chief's artificial intelligence buddy Cortana looks like a naked (or at least mostly naked) woman. Franchise head Frank O'Connor gave the official explanation for her appearance in a new interview.
O'Connor noted in his chat with Games Radar that other A.I. constructs in the Halo universe are wearing (virtual) clothing. For example, the artificial intelligence onboard the UNSC Infinity is dressed like a World War 2 pilot. Other A.I. throughout the franchise appear as a cowboy, wizard and British military officer. Cortana's decision to wear nothing but a "holographic body stocking," O'Connor says, stems from her origin and personality:
In Cortana's case, because she's illegally cloned from a real human brain, she's a little bit different than other AIs.
I can buy the first part of the explanation. Cortana was created from a copy of Dr. Catherine Halsey's brain. The combination of an unorthodox method and an unorthodox brain would explain why Cortana would be a little south of normal.
The idea that her scantily-clad avatar would give her some kind of advantage doesn't make much sense, though. It wouldn't really be "winning intellectual points" with anyone. The only difference between a naked A.I. and a clothed A.I. is that the naked A.I. would have to explain everything twice because soldiers keep staring at their digi-boobs.
343 Industries is doing the best with what they've got, though. It sounds like the developers are just trying to come up with a retroactive explanation for the appearance that Bungie made up years ago:
That's not why she was designed like that. That's how we've backed into our fiction. But that's the conceit and that's why she does it. She expresses that in her other behaviors and we've invested in that aspect of her persona.
Halo 4, 343 Industries' first work in the genre, shows that they're committed to Cortana's established appearance. They made her curvier and more human than past games.
Halo 5 launched earlier this week for Xbox One. In the game, players take on the role of Master Chief as well as the team of Spartans hunting him down. The multiplayer side of the game includes the lower player count, competitive Arena modes along with the more expansive Warzone match types.