Halo Infinite pairs the legendary Spartan soldier Master Chief with a new AI partner, Weapon, who allows him to change in ways Cortana never could.
Halo‘s Master Chief was never a character who showed a wealth of emotion. His life and the training he underwent meant that he was never really able to interact normally. However, Chief’s general lack of social capability would be countered by his pairing with the AI Cortana. Officially, the aim was to pair a Spartan-II with an AI companion to increase their combat effectiveness, but it meant more to Chief.
Throughout the Halo series, Cortana was a voice in Chief’s ear and his confidant. She had all the information he would need and offered support where he needed it. The two were indebted to each other and had helped to save one another numerous times. However, Cortana eventually became twisted due to the influences of the Forerunners and turned against humanity. Halo Infinite takes place after that event, giving Master Chief a new AI who may be better for him than Cortana ever was.
Weapon is as smart as Cortana, but she is severely lacking in any experience when it comes to the Banished or interacting with people. In some ways, she is the complete opposite of Chief. Where he is Stoic, she is emotional; where he is resigned, she is hopeful. Weapon’s main purpose is to help Master Chief navigate the Halo ring, but she also serves as an audience surrogate for asking questions. This allows the audience to learn more about the world and broaden Chief’s character.
Earlier Halo games had Cortana inform Master Chief of events and individuals they would encounter. While this kept things streamlined and allowed the audience to imprint on Chief, it didn’t allow him to have much of a character. This was eventually mitigated somewhat in later games as Chief and Cortana’s relationship was expanded upon but it was never perfect. However, Weapon constantly speaks to Chief and asks him about the world. His responses help to build a better idea of the man behind the helmet.
Another important character moment has to do with Chief dealing with his new distrust of AI. Chief and Cortana trusted each other in the original games. Until Halo 5, there was little conflict between the two, and even then it had a minimal effect on their interactions. However, the experience of Cortana turning on the UNSC has made the Chief distrustful of his new companion and her actions. This simple change allows their relationship to grow as the game progresses, something that was missing from the original games.
Cortana and Chief worked together perfectly, they rarely fought against each other or had any friction. However, Weapon and Chief often argue with each other due to his mistrust. There is more than simply conflict, as her interactions allow other aspects of his character to shine. For instance, there are moments where his more subtle shade of humor is allowed to shine through, such as his reactions to how Weapon names things and his more stoic responses in contrast to her statements.
Weapon is an addition to the franchise that raises the interesting question about how the earlier games would have differed if players had experienced the beginning of the Chief and Cortana’s journey. The new building of a relationship between the two main characters gives players more insight into how the mysterious Spartan works and thinks. This could mean that players get the chance to learn more about their hero and his new journey as the latest story progresses.
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