Cortana Vs Alyx Vance As 'Microsoft Voice Assistant'

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By Tanya Diente | June 18, 2014 5:53 PM EST

Before Cortana, Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2 was first considered as Microsoft's voice assistant.

REUTERS
A Nokia executive shows the new Lumia 920 phone with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system at a launch event in New York, September 5, 2012.

According to techradar, Windows Phone 8.1 that features the voice of Cortana as its personal assistant is set to arrive on devices in the UK within weeks. But Microsoft wasn't always certain that Cortana would be the voice assistant.

Marcus Ash, Microsoft's Group program manager, revealed on his Twitter account that the early frontrunner for Microsoft's voice assistant was Alyx Vance.

Alyx Vance is the name of Gordon Freeman's close ally in the PC game Half-Life 2. She is portrayed as a young woman in her mid-20s of Afro-Asian descent. According to giantbomb, Alyx Vance is a key player in the resistance against the Combine in Half-Life 2.

Being the initial choice as Microsoft's voice assistant could be attributed to her character in Half-Life 2.

Alyx Vance is a skilled hacker and very talented at bypassing security systems and locked doors. In Half-Life 2, she is skilled at reprogramming enemy equipment like turrets to attack its owners.

Alyx Vance is among the few female videogame characters that convey a wide range of emotions. She is not the typical damsel-in-distress type, nor is she the half-naked warrior commonly seen of female characters in other videogames.

She is a friendly character in Half-Life 2. She is also playful and has a great sense of humor. Despite her many attributes, Microsoft ended up choosing Halo's Cortana as the voice assistant for Windows Phone 8.1.

According to techradar, Microsoft is closely associated with the Halo franchise. That could be the reason it decided to pull out a character from the Halo series instead of using Alyx.

Compared to Alyx Vance's "human" characteristics, Cortana is the total opposite.

In the Halo videogame series, she is the artificially intelligent character who assumes the role of Master Chief Petty Officer John -117, that provides backstory and tactical information to the game player.

Although missing the human-like qualities that comprise Half-Life 2's Alyx Vance, Wikipedia reported Cortana has been recognized in the Halo series by her sex appeal, believability and character depth.


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(Photo: REUTERS / Brendan McDermid)
A Nokia executive shows the new Lumia 920 phone with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system at a launch event in New York, September 5, 2012.
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