Kiki Wolfkill, the executive producer of Paramount’s Halo adaptation, responds to the controversy surrounding Cortana’s design change.
While some Halo fans might be upset with the design of Cortana in Paramount’s upcoming adaptation, executive producer Kiki Wolfkill said the change was necessary and intentional.
Speaking to GamesRadar+, Wolfkill spoke about the controversy surrounding Cortana’s appearance. “It’s so funny, because we change his design for every game. And a lot of that is driven by technology,” Wolfkill said. “A lot of the design changes as we progress[ed] through generations of games, it’s because we had access to better graphics, better technology, more pixels, and more effects. So it was always about adapting Cortana to the environment.”
Wolfkill explains that the changes to Cortana’s appearance were in line with the major changes the adaptation makes to the source material. “In this situation, it’s so different from games in that it has to feel real. And by that, I don’t mean feel like a real human,” Wolfkill continued. “She needs to feel like a real AI, a real hologram, and be a character that real people act against… That was really the impetus in her design – how do you make her feel very tangible in this Halo world?”
Jen Taylor, who voices Cortana in every video game installment of Halo, reprises his role as Master Chief’s AI companion in the series. Although she is aware that her character is very different from the version fans may be familiar with, she is excited to try something new with the character. “I’m curious how it’s received. I’m interested in seeing something different and seeing something new,” Taylor said.
When the first trailers for Halo arrived, fans of the franchises were wowed by the faithful recreation of the games in the series… with the exception of Cortana. Many viewers were upset that the live-action version looked too human, ditching the character’s signature blue appearance for someone with natural skin tone and hair.
Cortana isn’t the only major change Halo agrees to. Another controversial move includes the removal of Master Chief’s helmet, revealing his face for the first time in long-established Halo lore. “[T]he decision to remove Chief’s helmet was not a decision taken lightly, nor was it an inevitability when we decided to do the show,” Wolfkill explained. “That said, the focus of the show has always been to deliver a differentiated gaming experience, not a carbon copy.”
Halo premieres on Paramount+ on March 24.
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