Cut Halo Wars units
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The Cougar was designed as a UNSC AFV, equipped with two M68 Gauss cannons. Although anti-heavy armor fire would blow the Cougar away quite easily, this vehicle was highly effective in holding off enemy armored vehicles until slower armored units could arrive at the battlefield. The Cougar had gained infamy in several urban tactical situations prior to the deployments in the war against the Covenant.
It appeared as a somewhat standard armored fighting vehicle with two wheels up front and two pairs in the rear. It bore a small mounted turret armed with two M68 Gauss cannons, as well as a machine gun or grenade launcher on other concept art. There was a windscreen on its forward body, with two side windows to provide a fairly high amount of visibility for the driver, which would have proved useful. It would have been able to reach a top speed of 90mph.
The Cougar was ultimately cut from the game in favor of other vehicle ideas. Its shape may have proved the inspiration of the SP42 Cobra, as its role in Halo Wars was originally an anti-vehicle unit. The Cougar bears a striking resemblance to the World War II armored car, the M8 Greyhound.
Not to be confused with a cut vehicle of the same name from Halo 2 or the tiltrotor helicopter that appeared in Halo: Reach, the Falcon was a UNSC aircraft that got so far as having a 3D model made. The Falcon was a twin seater fighter aircraft planned to be used by the UNSC Army. Originally intended to be a usable unit, stored in the UNSC airpad, it filled the role of strike fighter, packing enough firepower to destroy enemy vehicles and infantry with "Sidewinder" missiles and heavy armor-piercing guns. Like several other units, it was cut from the final game before it shipped.
In terms of design, the Falcon uses forward-swept wings (giving it an appearance similar to the 20th Century Sukhoi Su-47), which are used to provide stability during steep dives, indicating an emphasis in air-to-ground combat. Another, smaller set of wing flaps are attached to the ventral hull, possibly to improve stability. It also possesses two inward-angled vertical stabilizers at the rear, and missile pods attached to the base of the wing and the ventral hull. At the rear of the craft are twin jet thrusters, capable of tilting to allow VTOL capability. Retractable landing gear appears to be located at the wing tips.
The Fox Cannon was a UNSC vehicle cut from Halo Wars. It was to be a self-propelled artillery vehicle, capable of firing five shells per minute, and with great accuracy due to satellite targeting over a distance greater than 50 kilometers. The Fox was equipped with a 175mm cannon that shot the M179 projectile. Given its role, it was likely replaced by the SP42 Cobra.
Leviathan Mobile Firebase
The Leviathan Mobile Firebase is a UNSC vehicle concepted during the development of Halo Wars, but evidently never implemented. The vehicle is similar in size to the Mammoth, being many times the size of an M12 Warthog and serving as a mobile Firebase. The vehicle is seen to have several different configurations such as a "Suicide assault" variant with nose-mounted saw blades and a "Paris gun" variant equipped with a massive artillery cannon. However, the primary variant appears to be a vehicle that would fill a role similar to that fulfilled by the M312 Elephant in the final game, sporting numerous machine gun turrets, a mobile barracks and the ability to tow a Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine, like that seen in the mission Reactor.
Early on in the development of Halo Wars, the M274 Mongoose was intended to be included. The vehicle got as far as having a model created and implemented in game, though by the time of the "Sway" alpha, all that remained in the files was a handful of text strings referencing
To create this Mongoose model, Ensemble 3D artist Jenell Jaquays had to rely on observing screenshots of the Mongoose as seen in Halo 3, as Bungie were unwilling to share the original model file with Ensemble.
This prototype infantry unit was created by artist Gene Kohler. Little is known of it or its purpose in-game.
The Tiger Tank is a unit referenced in the game files. Little is known of it, except for the below icon.
The Covenant Air Artillery was a unit cut from Halo Wars some time prior to January 2008. The vehicle was to boast three plasma mortars, and was intended for use in a ground attack role - noted to be especially effective against static bases.
The "Brute Tank" is a vehicle cut from the game, notable for its high similarity to the existing Wraith. However, the Brute Tank instead comes equipped with a turret like those found on the Scorpion tank. Text strings in the "Sway" alpha build reference
Although the Brute Tank icon found in the final release of Halo Wars depicts a Wraith with a Scorpion turret, some models seen in earlier builds have a more distinctive appearance of a Wraith with a more Covenant-style turret; these vehicles bear some resemblance to certain Halo: Combat Evolved concept art, shown below. Another piece of concept art uploaded to ArtStation by Nathan Stefan shows a vehicle very similar to the Brute Tank, though the image itself is named
Another icon depicts this vehicle with a dome shield-like ability.
The Chimera was a Covenant unit cut from Halo Wars. It was a four-legged walker bearing slight resemblance to the Type-47A Scarab, though with a more hunched appearance.
Found in some screenshots and an animation reel uploaded by animator Charles Tinney, the Elite Ranger was evidently to be a flying infantry unit. Their design is that of the Elite Rangers found in Halo 2.
Named only in game files, the Gargoyle was intended to be a Covenant bomber aircraft. In the final game, a menu icon is still present in the files to represent the unit.
The Gorgon was a vehicle created for the Covenant and intended for use in the anti-air role. The vehicle was envisioned as a walker equipped with a heavy needle cannon, used to attack air targets. The vehicle's mech-based nature conflicted with Ensemble's philosophy that anything with legs was considered infantry, and the overwhelming abundance of Covenant ground vehicles - combined with the relative lack of aircraft - ultimately led to the Gorgon being scrapped and replaced with the Type-29 Vampire. A very similar vehicle; the Reaver, was later implemented in Halo Wars 2.
Named in an image upload by artist Don Gagen, the Hydra was intended to be a Covenant aircraft.
Present in the "Sway" alpha, the Recon Drone appears on an early version of the map Repository as a unit buildable in the map's central Sentinel factory alongside Aggressor Sentinels. Despite this Forerunner construction and neutral placement, the Recon Drone takes the form of a Yanme'e. The Drone has a complete model and animations, and is able to fly at high speeds around the map. True to its name, the Drone has no attacks, and is instead only intended for scouting.
Scarab (Protos variant)
Seen in the E3 2007 build and on the box art for Halo Wars, among other promotional screenshots, is the Type-47A "Protos" Scarab - the Scarab variant notably found in the Halo 2 campaign levels Outskirts, Metropolis and The Great Journey. In the final Halo Wars game, the Type-47B Scarab design notably used in Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach is used.
In the E3 2007 demo, the Scarab appears near the end in a short viginette, climbing out of a Forerunner underground shaft. The Scarab proceeds to rampage across the battlefield, destroying several tanks and other units, and must ultimately be destroyed via MAC orbital bombardment.
Cut Sentinel boss
While the Sentinels do appear on many maps and levels of the final Halo Wars game, this Sentinel design in particular does not. While superficially similar to the final game's Super Sentinel in design and proportion, it has a number of very notable differences; predominantly the massive size it has compared to most other units in the game. The unit was intended to appear on the campaign level Cleansing as a boss enemy, though was ultimately cut. The model for the Sentinel remains in the game files, unused. An image of the Sentinel in-game appears to show it emitting plasma mortar-like projectiles firing at the Flood forces below.
A number of maps in Halo Wars feature neutral AI factions such as rebels, Sentinels and Flood. These factions will typically be hostile to both the UNSC and Covenant. A number of additional factions were intended to be implemented in the game. These factions were developed under the codename of "creep", and include the following.
One possible creep faction intended to be included in Halo Wars were the Covenant heretics - those who sought fit to defy the Covenant religion. Concept art reveals that Sangheili were intended to be soldiers in this faction, while unused files within the releases of Halo Wars and Halo Wars: Definitive Edition showcase additional Heretic Grunts. An additional texture file known as
Another cut creep faction that would have been included are the Kig-Yar pirates. Files for the Jackals are still available within Halo Wars, allowing the units to be spawned in via modding. The Jackals were to spawn in squads of four, armed with plasma pistols or needlers. The pirates would also have access to Kig-Yar Snipers armed with beam rifles.
While an unidentified insurrectionist group does appear in the final Halo Wars game on maps set on Harvest and Arcadia, released concept art indicates the rebels were intended to be much-more fleshed out. Released concept art showcases a rebel "sci-trooper" wielding an EMP gun and an insurrectionist-branded Gauss Warthog.
Alongside the neutral factions, Halo Wars was intended to feature fauna as ambient AI in the game world. Some of these creatures were only concepted, while others were even modelled and textured for in-game implementation. For a list of other ambient life cut from other Halo games, see this page.
The arctic beast was a creature concepted, modelled and textured for inclusion in Halo Wars, likely intended to spawn on maps set in the polar regions of Harvest. This creature was later canonised in 2015's Halo: Hunters in the Dark as the Chaefka; a species of life indexed by the Forerunners and present on The Ark. The following year's Halo Mythos saw a scene from the book visualised with a new illustration, using the arctic beast's design almost entirely unaltered.
Arctic ice hound
The thorn beasts are another cut creature seen fully modelled, textured and animated; they are present in the Halo Wars E3 2008 build and can be seen walking around the map around thirteen minutes into the demo. They do not appear to attack UNSC forces. Thorn beasts remain canon in the Halo setting; with the Chieftain character said to particularly enjoy eating them; they were later featured in the novel Halo: Contact Harvest as a delicacy enjoyed by the crew of Rapid Conversion.
Interestingly, Halo Wars is not the first time the thorn beasts were developed to appear in a Halo game; they were originally designed by Paul Russel during the development of Halo: Combat Evolved, where they were modelled with an identical design and similarly cut.
The Harvest whale was designed as part of the exploration for the wildlife of Harvest. This creature would likely not be seen as an ambient AI on the map, but instead a dead body appearing in the environment.
The oxyaena is another creature fully modelled and textured for inclusion in Halo Wars. The creature was present in the game's E3 2008 demo, and can be seen wandering the map at around one minute into the demo.
These creatures have also been showcased in various work uploads related to Halo Wars. Little is known of their design intent or purpose, and are thus presented below.