Oh man, I don’t want to do this…
Cortana’s farewell to John at the end of Halo 4‘s campaign was one of the most emotional scenes in the series as a whole. This scene not only managed to serve as a fitting climax for the journey of John and Cortana that started in 2001, but doubled up as a beautifully written character study of each of these beloved figures.
In this period of denouement following the defeat of the Ur-Didact and the destruction of the Composer, you’re truly hit with both the expected and the unexpected. Surely, you told yourself, now is the time where John will return to Earth with Cortana, find Halsey, and fulfil his promise to her by curing her rampancy?
And then, as John asks how they’re going to escape this situation, her expression changes (seriously, McKenzie Mason’s ability to convey this character’s emotions through her facial expressions is astoundingly good) and the 7 words you were dreading to hear are said.
“I’m not coming with you this time…”
John is dumbstruck, confused, in complete denial – just as I was that this was going to be the end of Cortana’s story. Despite the lump that formed in my throat as she faded into nothingness, I couldn’t help but feel that it was the perfect way for her story to end. We’d been building up to this moment ever since the concept of rampancy was introduced in Halo (which is before Halo CE was even released) and, in the end, it’s not as a broken husk of her former self that she departs the story, but as somebody who has accepted death and knows she has to let go of John.
It’s a beautiful, poignant end to a journey and I haven’t even begun to cover the scene in detail – the full analysis of which you can find here.