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Cortana voice actor reflects on 20 years of Halo: "It's just a gift to get to play a character such as this"

Halo: Combat Evolved
(Image credit: 343 Industries)

Jen Taylor, the voice of Cortana in the Halo games, discussed the surprising and interesting process of getting to know the AI, her "little friend", for issue 227 of Retro Gamer.

"It's just a gift to get to play a character such as this for such an extended period of time and to check in with Cortana, if you will, for really intense periods… and then to just step away from her," Taylor says. "Each game I felt like I got to know her better because I would have a year or two or three in between, and I would have to reacquaint myself with my little friend. I adore this character, she surprises me. It was an interesting thing to play the genesis and the growth of her more human side, it was interesting to play someone discovering that."

Taylor says that it wasn't until she saw the hype for Halo 2 that she began to realize how big Halo had and would become. But she says it was always fun to record for Cortana, from the first character direction she was given – "you're this man's lifeline, you're sort of the girl next door, there's no flirting, it's not that kind of relationship" – to the, uh, more dramatic developments in the later games. 

Taylor says it's Halo's community that really made the experience. "I have people come up to me and say, 'This game saved my life, this game helped me to process stuff that I was not able to, this game made me feel strong, this game gave me a community when I didn't have one,'" she says. "Those are the things that I really remember."

Pick up the latest issue of Retro Gamer here.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.