Here's What Ultimately Happened to Cortana in 'Halo 5'

Near the end of 'Halo 5,' Master Chief's companion Cortana underwent an important change that will likely affect what happens in 'Halo Infinite.'


Jul. 24 2020, Updated 9:02 p.m. ET

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Source: 343 Industries

A staple of the Halo universe, Cortana isn't a human character, but she's integral to the overall narrative. A smart artificial intelligence construct, she's John-117, or Master Chief's partner across the variety of missions he takes on. She's also carried several important pieces of data over the course of the game, such as the Activation Index from a Halo installation. More than that, she's a sassy spitfire who makes sure Chief has the intel he needs in the field.

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Cortana has been around since the original Halo game, Halo: Combat Evolved. However around Halo 5, her entire character took an important turn. In fact, the end of the series up until that point depended on what Cortana did. With Halo Infinite on the way out later this year near the holiday season, it's a good time to get acquainted with the character and what her fate may mean for the latest game. We've got everything you need to know about Cortana right here before you dive in. 

Source: 343 Industries
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Where does Cortana end up at the end of 'Halo 5'?

Near the end of Halo 5, we know that from the events of the previous game and this one that Cortana has changed. She's no longer the helpful AI companion she once was. In fact, she's gone "rampant," having become self-aware to a murderous degree. As a result, she begins launching attacks on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn in a bid to stop humanity from the bloodshed it's capable of to bring peace to the universe — in a nutshell, at least.

Except instead of coming to an agreement with humanity, Cortana just decides she wants to wipe everyone out instead. After spending most of the game as Spartan Locke (and not Master Chief), when you finally reach Cortana after searching for her for so long, she's been irreparably corrupted. She wants to seek order in the galaxy, and she's been destructive throughout the entire game. She's become drunk with power. Eventually she and Chief do meet up and have something of a confrontation. 

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But it's too late to stop anything. When Chief finds Cortana, she refuses to back down and instead double-crosses him, paralyzing him and essentially forcing him to remain frozen within a Cryptum, a near-impenetrable device used by the Forerunners of the olden days. This would seal Chief's fate and keep him from interfering with Cortana's plans. Unfortunately, there's no real resolution to Cortana's fate, and Chief ends up remaining where he is. By the end of the game, Cortana hasn't let up.

In a cutscene only viewable by those who complete the game on Legendary, Cortana can be seen before the credits roll firing up another Halo installation before the screen fades to black. Will we find out what happened next when Halo Infinite arrives? We'll have to wait and see. Right now, Halo Infinite is poised for a Holiday 2020 release and it'll be available on Xbox One and Series X. 

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