Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Cortana Isn't All About The Boobs

I can’t be the only straight female gamer geek that thinks the new Cortana model looks good. Great even. It’s not just that she has upgraded with technology, but that she has undergone an evolution herself. As Master Chief has grown in his journeys, Cortana has been right there with him (most of the time) and her new model is a testament to that.

She’s also boobtacular. Not Laura Croft, but just enough to make a statement. So when I read this piece from Kyle Bacham in the HuffingtonPost (Canada) I shrugged my shoulders. She has a bigger chest then her previous versions. Ok. So what?

I’m not oblivious to the fact that Cortana is a sexual object, but she is also the mentor/guide for the game. In a franchise that is heavily focused on military actions, aliens, and science fiction, there are few to no women around. Cortana is it. That isn’t to say that she should BE the sexual object, but based on what Bachman was getting at, her only purpose in the game is be sexy.

Cortana is one of those female characters that I feel transcends their sexual identity. She is that mentor we hear so much about in Joseph Campbell’s monomyth: aka the Hero’s Journey. Like Obi-wan, Cortana exists to be the helping hand to escort Master Chief on his perilous journey. She gives him reason, logic, and knowledge that the human squad-mates and military are unable to provide. Not even the Arbiter can give him the needed tools to press on; only Cortana.

This assessment that she is just a sexual object without a brain is completely inaccurate. Without Cortana, Master Chief would not exist, and vice-versa. And let us not forget, Cortana is a digital object. She’s not even real. She’s a complex AI. Master C can’t sex her up. Unless they know something about the future that we don’t know. In which case, all of humanity will die out while people “play” with their computers. But seriously, for as much as Bachman and countless others focus on the body of the character, they completely disregard the mind. Even in the title of the article, brains need not apply. Cortana is above all of that. For as much as we talk about her body, her mind is very key and an integral part of the game.

At RTX this year, Halo megaverse, when I talked to other gamers about the series, Cortana was always held with an air of respect. You get the occasional tards saying she’s hot, but a lot of people saw her as MC’s partner. She needed MC as he needed her. They are a team. She’s not just digital boobs. Cortana is the essence that makes up Master Chief.

That’s one way Halo stands out to me as a great accomplishment, not just for its uniqueness to the genre and placing Microsoft on the gaming map. It is a game that bridges genders.


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