xbox.com: Halo 4

If rumors are to be believed then Microsoft Studios’ upcoming project Halo 4 could see the artificially intelligent (AI) character Cortana to play a leading role in the game.

Previously, it was rumored that Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will also feature a beta version of Halo 4 in its ‘Extras’ panel in the menu. Now it is believed that Halo 4 will see the graphical representation of Cortana is a livelier form.

"I can tell you Cortana's going to be a focal point of Halo 4, for sure." Said Frank O'Connor, 343's franchise development director, during an interview with OXM (Official Xbox Magazine). "I think a lot of people are speculating on Cortana's age and the effects of age on an AI, there's this thing called Rampancy which is really just any AI thinking itself to death and Cortana's been around for a while and most AIs have a lifespan of seven years.”

O’Connor has hinted that Cortana will not be limited to a graphical imagery AI in the new version of Halo alongside Master Chief. This is expected to alter the game’s storyline and give it a more detailed plot. If Cortana is to play an active character alongside the chief then it will come as a bonus with the game.

"Cortana's a little bit different in that she's been exposed to a lot more technology and information than other AIs via the Forerunner lore and mythos. But her state of mind, her relationship with the Chief, they're all going to be core elements of the story and the 'human drama' as it were in Halo," O’Connor added.

“Set in the aftermath of Halo 3, Master Chief returns to confront his own destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. Halo 4 marks the start of a new trilogy that begins with its release in 2012,” says the official Halo 4 website.

Halo 4 will arrive on Xbox 360 in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to an OXM report.