Halo’s Cortana Voice Actor Reflects On Her Role
Jen Taylor, the voice actor behind Holo’s trusted AI partner Cortana, reflects on her role twenty years later than released in 2001. Cortana was created in 2001 by Dr. Catherine Halsey as a companion for Spartan John-117 (aka the Master Chief). They would go through many difficulties and tribulations together, especially during the first four halo games. Cortana used her skills as artificial intelligence to assist the Chief as they battled foes such as the Covenant, the zombie-like Flood, and the Didact. This led to a close bond.
Cortana’s quirky personality and warmth contrasted with the battle-hardened and stoic Master Chief during the Halo series. The AI sometimes showed more emotion and humanity than her human counterparts. Cortana’s tale would turn tragically when she succumbed to AI rampancy during 2012’s Halo 4. This led to her giving up her life to defeat the Didact. But Cortana would return as an enemy in Halo 5 and Halo Infinite. Chief was left with no choice but to fight his former partner. Even though he had a new AI companion in Halo Infinite’sThe Weapon, the memory of Cortana’s fall haunts him as he faces new threats like Banished.
Jen Taylor, the actress that brought Cortana alive in the mainline Halo games, recently spoke with Retro Gamer (via GamesRadar), to talk about the role 20 years ago, when Cortana was first introduced to the public. Taylor said that it was ” a great gift to be able to play such an important role for so long, and how she would get to know Cortana more in each game. She is a wonderful character. It was fascinating to play her genesis and growth, it was also interesting to play someone who discovers that.
Jen Taylor noted that she did not realize how huge the Halo series would be until seeing the excitement for Halo 2. However, it was always fun to voice Cortana from Bungie. “You’re this mans lifeline, you are sort of the girl nextdoor, there’s never flirting, it isn’t that kind of relationship,” she said. She stated that she has had people approach her and say “This game saved me, this helped me process stuff I wasn’t able to, it made me feel strong, it gave me a network when I didn’t know one”, in a recent interview. These interactions are what she fondly remembers about her time with Cortana.
Jen Taylor will voice Cortana in the live-action HaloTV series. She has also lent her voice as Dr. Catherine Halsey, Cortana’s creator (due Cortana being copied directly from Halsey’s mind) and The Weapon (due her being a copy Cortana). But it is her role as the original AI partner of Master Chief that viewers will remember Jen Taylor for. This is due to the warmth, humor, and personality Cortana brought to the otherwise somber journey.