Cortana Nearing Rampancy
343 Industries have dropped a couple of interesting nuggets about Halo 4: the first of the Reclaimer Trilogy developed after Bungie's departure from the series. Apparently Master Chief and Cortana will undergo some "fairly radical modifications" as part of the storyline, which will affect both the Mjolnir armour's aesthetics as well as each character's personalities and abilities. Cortana will also be nearing the end of her seven-year lifespan... awaiting the inevitable anger and jealousy brought on by Rampancy. Full details below.
While discussing Halo 4 with Xbox World Magazine [via CVG], 343 Industries boss Frank O'Connor states that Master Chief's Mjolnir armour has undergone some major changes, many of which are from being adrift in space for so long. However, the addition of thrusters - as witnessed in the E3 2011 reveal trailer - suggests that it may also pack some powerful new abilities. This ties in nicely with a story earlier in the year that told us to expect a "changed" chief.
There's some fairly radical modifications to his armour. Some of those are an artistic evolution, but some are connected to the story. We just can't talk about it yet. He's been in space for a long time.
Cortana will, not to put too fine a point on things, be getting a little cranky. AI constructs are only supposed to last seven years before they expire or enter a 'rampant' state, which leads to unchecked insanity as they become jealous of their human masters. We could have another Durandal on our hands...
Cortana was getting close to the end of her natural lifespan at the end of Halo 3 but she has been exposed to far more information than any other AI in existence. She's going to develop some muscle from that process but it also contributes to her rampancy - that much information makes things worse.
With Halo 4's campaign focusing on a Forerunner Shield World and sandbox battles against an ancient threat, we can't wait for more details to emerge.