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Cut Halo: Combat Evolved vehicles

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

During the development of Halo: Combat Evolved, the game went through many different styles including a strategy game, a third-person shooter and a first-person shooter. Throughout these iterations, many different vehicles were cut from the game, some of which presenting notably different design styles from those found in the final 2001 release.

RTS era[edit]

These vehicles were present in the early stages of the development of Halo, when the game bore little resemblance to the final product. In this era, prior to 1998, the design of the human vehicles bore a notable resemblance to those found in the modern-day, with conventional-looking Humvees, tanks and attack helicopters.

Alien tanks[edit]

In the RTS era of Halo, the Covenant did not exist yet as an entity, simply being the "aliens". There were to be several vehicles used by what would eventually evolve into the Covenant and Forerunners.[1]

Forerunner tank[edit]

Not to be confused with a cut level of the same name from Halo 2, the Forerunner Tank as intended for the first Halo game was concepted by Marcus Lehto as a heavy vehicle intended for use by the Forerunners. At this point in time around 1998, the Forerunners were little more than an idea, though the intention was for the Forerunners to still be alive in the active setting of the game.[2] Lehto designed the tank to contrast the art direction of the existing Covenant and UNSC tanks, with the tank designed with a focus on asymmetry and unique forms.[3][4] Lehto visualised the vehicle as coloured an "off-white" like an "old skull", with weathered "dried blood-red" accent colours.[5][6]

When firing, Lehto visualised that the vehicle would fire a short-burst energy beam projectile, with an additional burst emitting from the back of the vehicle to counter recoil.[7]

Human tanks[edit]

A number of various armoured vehicle designs can be seen in many of the released RTS-era screenshots. Little information is known about most of these vehicles, and are such presented collectively in the below gallery.

Hummer[edit]

The Hummer - labelled in-game as the "scoutcar" - resembles a modern-day Humvee, and was eventually "sort of" replaced by the Warthog.[8] The vehicle featured a pair of roof-mounted machine guns.

Third-person shooter era[edit]

The third-person shooter era of Halo was characterised by the evolution and development of the Warthog. In the game's RTS stage, a third-person camera and driving controls were added to the Hummer vehicle to test the game's physics and terrain technology. Ultimately, the developers found driving the vehicle so fun that by late 1998 and early 1999, the game had transitioned into third-person format. The Warthog was a key aspect of this era of Halo, though was accompanied by a vast assortment of other vehicles.

Boats[edit]

Various watercraft were concepted and tested for inclusion in Halo, though ultimately none made it into the final release. One such vehicle was present in the earliest builds of the game, described as a single-man vehicle named the "Doozy".[9] Another watercraft was cut from the game due to being "kind of pointless" and described as a floating dinghy looking like "two floating carrots".[8] At this time, entering the vehicle would simply move the player model under the vehicle - the boat had a buggy physics engine, and was prone to bouncing out of the water.[1] It may be possible that the "Doozy" and "Carrot Boat" are one and the same.

The Doozy was later one of many vehicle ideas re-tried and concepted for inclusion in Halo 2, and also similarly-cut. A vehicle named the Doozy lives on in Halo canon, but as a snowmobile rather than a watercraft.

Covenant bomber[edit]

Concepted by Shi Kai Wang and modelled/textured by artist Paul Russel, this vehicle was to be a large bomber aircraft used by the Covenant, measuring 12m wide and 10m tall.[10] It was presumably meant as a heavy aerial weapons platform, a supplement to the smaller, lighter Banshee, but was cut from the released game. It featured two forward-swept wings, akin to the twin booms of the Spirit dropship, and had a long protrusion underneath, which may have been an underslung weapons mount or landing gear.

Covenant ground transport[edit]

Known in-game as c ground transport, this vehicle would later go on to be featured in Halo 2 as the Shadow.[11]

Covenant tank[edit]

"That, my friend, is a Seraph fighter. [...] But, the funny thing is that the Seraph fighter is actually the old, old, old, old Halo Covenant tank, right, that Shi-Kai built. That ship that you just saw, that sort of, round, almost... What do you call it? Cuttlefish. Used to be a Covenant tank, back in the day. And maybe again."
Joseph Staten discussing the Covenant tank's evolution into the Seraph fighter.[12]

This design for a Covenant tank was featured in these builds of Halo: Combat Evolved, and was built in 1998.[13] The design was later reused as the Kai-pattern Seraph later featured in Halo 2.

Interestingly, the original textures for this 2000-era tank remain in the files for Halo 2, allowing the full model to be recreated via modding.[14]

Helicopter[edit]

"Helicopters were a featured item by the time Halo evolved into a third person shooter but in retrospect, they're simply not futuristic enough. Although it could be worse, they could be hot air balloons or -blam!-ker Triplanes. Maybe for a prequel, they might go Retro. I can see it now, a World War One and Two themed action strategy shooter, called Halo: Alsace Lorraine Panzer Division Edition. Or then again, maybe not..."
Frank O'Connor[8]

At one point in the game's third-person builds, a vehicle resembling a modern attack helicopter could be seen, though was cut as helicopters weren't "futuristic enough".[8] Perhaps ironically, they would later be heavily featured in Halo: Reach as the Falcon.

Kestrel[edit]

The Kestrel was a human aircraft of some kind that was modelled for inclusion in Halo. Little is known of the vehicle's intended role within Combat Evolved.[15] The vehicle was later concepted for (and also cut from) Halo 2, before eventually being brought to life as a MEGA Brands set. The vehicle would then go on to see its in-game debut in 2015's Halo: Spartan Strike as the AV-30 Kestrel.

Mech walker[edit]

Concepted at some point by Marcus Lehto, this mech was described as being a "personal mech". No known depictions of this model in 3D exist.[16][17] A similar concept would later make its way into Halo with the Cyclops in Halo Wars and the Mantis in Halo 4.

Shadow[edit]

Known as the "Shadow" in this stage of development, this vehicle would later go on to be featured in Halo 2 as the Spectre.[8]

Stealth tank[edit]

Described as a "low-black Scorpion"[8] and featuring "counter vented fire stablization", the stealth tank was a human vehicle present in the game's third-person era and fully-drivable.[18] The vehicle was intended as a counterpart to the existing Scorpion, being lighter and more agile with a lower profile, but more vulnerable to enemy attacks due to having less armour.[19]

The Stealth Tank was cut before the game moved to development on the Xbox console.[20]

Warthogs[edit]

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Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e YouTube - ForumsExtremeDotCom, Evolution of Halo Part 1: Pre-Xbox RTS to Third-Person Versions (Retrieved on Jul 9, 2021)
  2. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "In 98 the Forerunners were very much alive - even though they were barely a zygote of an idea." (Retrieved on Jun 2, 2021) [archive]
  3. ^ a b Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Found a Forerunner Tank sketch from 1998 in one of my old books. Was imagining something to contrast Covenant/UNSC" (Retrieved on Jun 2, 2021) [archive]
  4. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Agreed - The upper left was built and focused on asymmetry and some sharper forms which kinda worked." (Retrieved on Jun 2, 2021) [archive]
  5. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "I was thinking of off-white, like an old skull, with some weathered accent colors." (Retrieved on Jun 2, 2021) [archive]
  6. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Red, but like old blood that dried in the sun" (Retrieved on Jun 2, 2021) [archive]
  7. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "I was thinking of of an energy projectile, like a short beam burst, with a counter burst out the back for stabilization" (Retrieved on Jun 2, 2021) [archive]
  8. ^ a b c d e f Bungie.net, The Origin of Halo (Retrieved on Jan 18, 2021) [archive]
  9. ^ VICE, The Complete, Untold History of Halo (Retrieved on Jul 11, 2021) [archive]
  10. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@Dr_Abominable): "@HaloFanForLife @HaloArchive Here's the first. Didn't have shot of the 'blind wolf', @game_fabricator's creation." (Retrieved on Oct 30, 2020) [archive]
  11. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Yes, at that time is was just called "c ground transport"" (Retrieved on Jul 9, 2021) [archive]
  12. ^ Halo 3 Legendary Edition, Halo 2 Developer Commentary
  13. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@Dr_Abominable): "The Seraph was actually, verbatim, a design (also built) for a covenant tank dating back to 1998." (Retrieved on Oct 30, 2020) [archive]
  14. ^ Twitter, RejectedShotgun (@RejectedShotgun) (Retrieved on Jul 11, 2021) [archive]
  15. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Did the Kestrel ever get out to the public?" (Retrieved on Jul 11, 2021) [archive]
  16. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "In Halo CE, I thought it would have been cool to build a personal mech, but we never got around to it." (Retrieved on Jul 17, 2021) [archive]
  17. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Found this Halo utility vehicle in my sketches. I think I was trying to figure out mechanical linkages and usage." (Retrieved on Jul 17, 2021) [archive]
  18. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Here's an old #Halo vehicle I built, the Stealth Tank. Low profile with counter vented fire stabilization." (Retrieved on Jul 9, 2021) [archive]
  19. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Faster, more agile, lower hit profile, but less armor and vulnerable." (Retrieved on Jul 11, 2021) [archive]
  20. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "That’s the stealth tank. I had to cut that before we started dev for Xbox" (Retrieved on Jul 11, 2021) [archive]