Cut Halo: Reach vehicles
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Armoured personnel carrier
Labelled in file uploads as the "Wolverine" and "Kodiak" at different stages, various concept images released by Isaac Hannaford indicate that at some point in the development of Reach an APC was planned for inclusion in the game. Few details are known of this vehicle, and it is likely it was never realised in 3D or in-engine prototyping. The vehicle notable bears an extremely heavy resemblance to the M577 APC from the film Aliens - one of many inspirations taken from the Alien franchise as a whole.
The release of Halo Wars in 2009 saw the introduction of the M9 Wolverine - an anti-air tank employed by the UNSC. It is likely that this spurred the change of the APC's name from Wolverine to Kodiak. The release of Halo Wars 2 in 2017 saw the introduction of the M400 Kodiak - a self-propelled artillery vehicle bearing little resemblance to the planned Reach vehicle.
The Kodiak was prototyped in-engine in some form, with code referencing the Wolverine as a vehicle physics model remaining in the files of Reach.[Note 1] The vehicle operates in a similar manner to other human vehicles such as the Warthog and Mongoose, though has an additional deployed state.
Referred to in game files for the Halo: Reach Alpha as a "drone", this vehicle utilises a similar flight model to the final game's Sabre fighter. The fighter handles similarly and employs the same autocannons as the Sabre for its primary weapon.
The visual appearance and name of the craft are seemingly inspired by the F-99 Wombat UCAV previously featured in Halo 3: ODST, though the use of a flight model and visual design similar to that of the Sabre indicate it may have been an early version of the Sabre.
The "drone" on Forge World.
Early in the development process, some revisions of the FSS-1000 Sabre were mocked up by Isaac Hannaford in 3D for implementation in-game. This early version was ultimately scrapped as this initial pass did not have a strong enough visual silhouette from the player camera perspective.
Once notable vehicle heavily prototyped in-engine was a UNSC watercraft, a small attack boat capable of seating a driver, a passenger and a gunner on an M41 Vulcan - akin to the Warthog. Early campaign level layouts by Marcus Lehto indicated an intent for the fourth level of the game to be a "covert SEAL-esque boat attack at night", with the goal of sinking a ship.
The boat was conceived by Isaac Hannaford, and prototyped extensively in-engine resulting in the development of water-wake technology later re-used for the jet-wash effects on the jetpack. Ultimately, the boat was cut entirely, though the boat's removal was credited in allowing the level New Alexandria to be fully-developed and make it into the final game. A small amount of footage of the boat prototype was later shown at PAX 2010 in a demo reel of cut content; showcasing the boat riding on the waves and driven in a third-person view.
Code for the boat remains in the files of Reach.
Seen only in the Halo: Reach E3 2010 Trailer, this drop pod design was cut from the final game and replaced for unknown reasons by the Yado-pattern Intrusion Carapace. This model was later featured (and thus, made canon) in 2017's Halo: Warfleet – An Illustrated Guide to the Spacecraft of Halo as the Suspa Al-pattern Assault Carapace.
Referenced only in the game code, the "Jackal glider" was presumably an aerial vehicle designed for the Kig-Yar. The glider's physics model is extremely advanced compared to all other aircraft in-game, containing data fields for wings, tail, rudders and drag among other things.
While the Deutoros-pattern Scarab did ultimately make its way into the final game as a low-poly background entity on the levels Tip of the Spear and The Pillar of Autumn (with the latter level also featuring a more detailed, non-interactive setpiece Scarab at one point in the mission), early ideas for the game's campaign were to have the player character able to drive the Scarab. Early ideas for the level New Alexandria would have seen the player drive the Scarab in the remains of the post-glassing city. Prototypes for the Scarab were made and the physics involved was described by Chris Ophdal as "sweet", though the Scarab was ultimately considered unsustainable - especially with the high engine cost needed to run the level. Ultimately, the drivable Scarab was scrapped and New Alexandria was transformed into an aerial mission focusing on the Falcon instead.
Cut dialogue for the missions Tip of the Spear and Exodus shows that early plans for these levels were for both to feature Scarab encounters similar to those featured in Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST, though all were cut.
Revenant physics model
While the Rizvum-pattern Revenant was ultimately realised in the final game as a fully-fledged vehicle, an unused physics model present in the game files suggests a different originally-intended role for the vehicle. In the final release, the Revenant utilised the "alien scout" physics model, shared with the Ghost which provides the vehicle with four directions of movement and a front-facing, driver-controlled weapon. The unused Revenant variation in the files acts similarly, though with the exception that the driver-controlled turret has a full 360 degrees of rotation - similar to the turret on the Scorpion tank. It is unknown why this ultimately went unused.
Notably, early concept explorations for the Revenant did explore the idea of giving the Revenant a fully-operational manned turret, akin to the Wuzum-pattern Spectre or the Warthog. Although this design was ultimately unused, the concept was revisited in Halo 4 as the Phelent-pattern Revenant.
Referred to internally as the "siege engine", little is known of this gargantuan Covenant vehicle's purpose. The vehicle was conceived by Isaac Hannaford, though never progressed past the concept stage. When asked about the vehicle's resemblance to the H-K-Tank from the Terminator franchise, Hannaford responded that there were "no coincidences."
Some concept art for the Tip of the Spear mission indicates that early plans were to have the siege engines be the target of the Battle at Szurdok Ridge. This early concept may also be depicting what would have been mission nine in Lehto's early campaign level layouts; which list a mission with the following objectives;
- Destroy Covenant Supply Convoy
- Take out massive hover platforms
The "massive hover platforms" mentioned match the visual depictions of the siege engine.
Halo 3 leftovers
Code remains in the files for the physics models of several leftover vehicles used and/or cut from the previous game, Halo 3. These include the Chopper, Mantis and Guardian Sentinel (classed internally by the game as a vehicle).
- In Halo, vehicles are separated by their physics type with models such as "Human Jeep Type" representing the Warthog, Mongoose and Spade physics or the "Alien Scout Type" representing the Wraith, Ghost and Revenant. The Wolverine APC is its own physics model.
- ArtStation, Armored personnel carrier (Retrieved on Sep 11, 2021) [archive]
- Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "I wish we still had some old Reach builds with the Kodiak!" (Retrieved on Oct 25, 2021) [archive]
- Twitter, Zeddikins (@zeddikins) (Retrieved on Jan 26, 2021) [archive]
- Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___): "Here's some footage of the cut Wombat (Drone) from Halo: Reach for those curious." (Retrieved on Feb 10, 2022) [archive]
- ArtStation, Sabre first round: "we mocked this up in 3d and it didn't get the parallax I wanted it to from the players perspective so I decided to redo it and build it myself to ensure my goals for the fighter were met." (Retrieved on Jan 26, 2021) [archive]
- Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "This was a very early campaign layout I made for Reach. Space combat. But it took brave people like @tipul [Mike Tipul] who made it a reality." (Retrieved on Sep 11, 2021) [archive]
- Isaac Hannaford's Blog, Halo Reach boat and the Pioneer offroad vehicle: "The boat would have been great, and some of the test were promising, but it never quite made it. You should have seen it jump the waves though... Awsome!" (Retrieved on Sep 11, 2021) [archive]
- ArtStation, Assorted Vehicle designs for Halo: REACH (Retrieved on Sep 11, 2021) [archive]
- Twitter, Steve Scott (@stepscot): "The sweet water wake tech we developed for the shelved boat prototype came back as ground-aware jet wash on the jetpack. Working with Baldwin on that feature was a highlight of that development cycle for me" (Retrieved on Sep 11, 2021) [archive]
- Twitter, Sam Arguez (@sam_arguez): "We may have lost the boat, but in doing so we made room for that cool Falcon rooftop mission by @dmiller360 [Dan Miller] . Man, I should go play Reach again..." (Retrieved on Sep 11, 2021) [archive]
- YouTube - Halo, PAX 2010: Bungie Halo: Reach Panel (Part 3)
- Eurogamer, Tech Interview: Halo: Reach - Page 3 (Retrieved on Sep 11, 2021) [archive]
- Halo: Reach: Legendary Edition developer commentary
- Twitter, Isaac Hannaford (@Isaac_Hannaford): "Covenant siege engine painted over a beautiful piece by Jamie Jones." (Retrieved on Mar 28, 2021) [archive]
- Twitter, Isaac Hannaford (@Isaac_Hannaford): "There are no coincidences :)" (Retrieved on Sep 11, 2021) [archive]