Halo Infinite: Who is the new Cortana-like AI companion?
My theory about the origins of "The Weapon" and what she was created to do.
While the reveal of Halo Infinite's multiplayer gameplay at the Xbox E3 2021 blew everyone away, the campaign trailer's introduction of a new AI character called "The Weapon" was equally shocking. The Weapon looks just like Cortana, and sounds like her, too. What's going on here? Who (or what) is this AI, and what are her origins?
We don't have any official answers yet, but armed with previous tidbits of lore and information from one of the latest Halo novels, I'd like to speculate about some very likely possibilities. Here are my theories about who this new Halo Infinite character is and how she was created.
Who is The Weapon in Halo Infinite?
Many fans speculate that The Weapon is either a fragment of Cortana that the UNSC used against her or a brand new AI that was created to oppose her tyranny. I believe that the latter possibility is correct, and the reason why can be found in the novel Halo: Shadows of Reach.
In this book, Master Chief and his Spartan brothers and sisters on Blue Team deploy to Reach in 2559 — seven years after the planet was glassed by the Covenant during the Human-Covenant War. The Spartans are on a mission to retrieve a handful of special packages from the remains of the office of Dr. Catherine Halsey, the "mother" of the Spartans and the creator of Cortana. After battling Banished forces and reaching the office's location, Blue Team finds and extracts three cryobins.
In my mind, there's only one thing that could be in the cryobins: three of Dr. Halsey's cloned brains being kept "fresh" by the cryostasis induced by the containers. This lines up with previous lore as well since Dr. Halsey stated in her journal (included in the Halo: Reach Legendary Edition) that she put her cloned brains into cryostasis. The reason why this is significant is because Halsey used a cloned brain like this to create the original Cortana that accompanied Master Chief.
In the Halo universe, there are two types of AI: "Dumb" AI that are made with traditional programming and aren't capable of learning or adaptive thinking, and "Smart" AI that are made from scanned human brains and are fully capable of free thought and adapting to situations on-the-fly. When Dr. Halsey originally made Cortana to accompany Spartans on a mission to capture a Covenant Prophet, she used a cloned version of her brain to do so because she believed it would yield the most capable and advanced Smart AI possible.
Based on this, I believe that The Weapon is another AI created from one (or all) of the three remaining Dr. Halsey brains to counter Cortana and stop the dictator-like rule that she imposed over the universe at the end of Halo 5. She's not another version of Cortana, but rather an AI created from the same DNA. This would explain why she wears a uniform and speaks with different mannerisms but still looks and sounds a lot like Cortana, and it also fits perfectly with her stated mission objective of infiltrating Cortana's network and shutting her down to prepare her for retrieval and deletion by Master Chief.
What do you think? Do you think I'm right about the origins of The Weapon, or do you think she has a different origin? Let me know, and don't miss my complete Halo Story Timeline that provides a detailed overview of each major Halo story if you need a refresher so that you'll be all caught up in time for Halo Infinite.
We're hoping that Halo Infinite will be one of the best Xbox games ever made when it releases later this year. I'm incredibly excited to play it when it comes to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs. Notably, you can preorder the game now for $60, but if you're only interested in the multiplayer, it will be completely free. There's also a Halo Infinite beta coming in summer 2021 you can sign up for (check our guide on how to sign up for Halo Infinite's beta for more details).
The next adventure in the saga
A new Great Journey awaits
Halo Infinite is the biggest Xbox game of the year by far, and based on what we saw at E3 2021, it looks like it's going to be fantastic.
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.
If MC has to delete Cortana, that would be very sad. It would mark the end of the MC saga for sure.
Unless they do a really good job with creating a bind between Chief and The Weapon. Like maybe by the end she'll take on a more human name and also have a developed relationship with Chief. Certainly that would be enough to continue the saga...
Not happy about losing Cortana at all. She was a huge part of this franchise and my interest in the games and story. Sometimes writers, whether it's a show, a movie, or in this case, a game, overthink things. This is one of those times. They could and should have saved Cortana. She and her relationship with Chief was at it's peak in Halo 4 and headed in a very interesting direction. Halo won't be the same and at this point I would have rather Ed have no A.I. counterpart at all instead of a new one.
Pretty sure Cortana will be back in some way. The first Halo Infinite reveal trailer gave us some dialog between chief and Cortana. Not the last we've heard of her for sure!