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Cut Halo 4 levels

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Halo 4 cut content


Cut content

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During the development of Halo 4, a number of maps were concepted and partially-developed though cut from the game for various reasons. Many of these maps were concepted by company Digital Extremes, contracted by 343 Industries to help with the production of the game's DLC map packs. A number of map ideas and concepts were pitched to 343 but went unused, and have since been released online.

Many of these early level blockouts can be found in the Halo 4 tags build - an early prototype of the game leaked online including many early Halo 4 DLC and non-DLC maps, development and testing levels and even several early levels intended for Halo 5: Guardians - which can be found detailed here. The maps found in the tags build exhibit very early geometry and basic blockouts with very little art or set-dressing, and contain placeholder names and descriptive text - often comprised of jokes written by the game's developers.

Multiplayer maps[edit]

Breaking Point[edit]

"100% pure adrenaline!"

An original map by Certain Affinity known by the filename CA_Breakingpoint.

Deadlock[edit]

"Formerly Blood Bath!!!"

An original map by Certain Affinity known by the filename CA_Blood_Bath.

Blood Pit[edit]

"BLOOOOOOD!!!"

An original map by Certain Affinity known by the filename CA_Blood_Pit.

CA Ching[edit]

"CA Ching Description"

An original map by Certain Affinity known by the filename CA_Ching, featuring a placeholder map name and descriptive text.

Forerunner City[edit]

"Enter description here."

An original map design developed by Certain Affinity and given the filename CA_City, was presumably intended to resemble a Forerunner city. Interestingly, the top-down layouts of this map heavily resemble the Castle Map Pack map Perdition in layout.

Dish[edit]

"Dish... dish is pretty cool!"

An original map design developed by Certain Affinity, given the map filename CA_Dish, can be found in the tags build. The map takes the form of a long canyon, with multiple levels. The map is complete with vehicle and turret spawns, alongside respawn points for players - though appears not to have progressed beyond the early blockout stages. Interestingly, this map contains spawn points for the Revenant design which was intended to appear in the game.[1][2] The relatively late cutting of the Revenant from the game indicates that Dish may have been in development relatively late in Halo 4's development cycle.

Escalation[edit]

"No, this is not the BlackOps map pack!"

An original map by Certain Affinity and given the filename CA_Escalation.

CA_Gorge[edit]

This Certain Affinity-designed map is given no map name or description in the files, simply the filename CA_Gorge.

Remnant[edit]

Station[edit]

"Station... station is hell!"

An original map by Certain Affinity, known in the files as CA_Station.

Fortress[edit]

"Bow to your Master; You are Little"

Known only in the files of the Halo 4 tags build as Z01_Fortress, this map appears to have a layout similar to that of Sandtrap - featuring the same Shrine defender towers as Sandtrap and Sandbox. The map has spawns laid out for vehicles including the Halo 4 cut iteration of the Revenant, though the map as a whole has no textures.[3][4]

NoLoad Tower[edit]

"Do Not Load; Coming Soon"

Known in the files as Z04_Tower.

Pillars[edit]

"Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls"

Known in the files as Z06_Pillars.

Island[edit]

"Warthog Crossing; Keep Your Head Down"

Known in the files as Z07_Island.

Sinkhole[edit]

"Watch your step; You might could Die"

Known in the files as Z08_Experimental.

Extinct[edit]

"Current path equals Death"

Known in the files as ZD_01_Extinct.

Other cut levels[edit]

Other cut levels present in the tags build of the game include Z06_pillars, Z07_island, Z08_experimental alongside maps Z02, Z03 and Z04.[5][6]

DLC maps[edit]

CA_Constant_Strife[edit]

"A deadly battle on the UNSC Constant Strife"

A space-based map, intended to be set on a UNSC starship known by the name UNSC Constant Strife - which would have served as the map's namesake. The blockout geometry found in the map's early revisions bear no resemblance to any canonical UNSC spacecraft, and the skybox is reused from the map Impact. The interior layout slightly resembles Rat's Nest from Halo 3's Heroic Map Pack, with either side consisting of a hangar bay containing an F-41 Broadsword strike fighter similar in design to that featured on Ivanoff Station in the opening cutscene of the level Midnight.

CA_Peanut[edit]

"Spartans are nuts for this level."

CA_Shipyard[edit]

CA_Standoff[edit]

"Standoff"

Present in the Halo 4 tags build, this map was in development by Certain Affinity. The map was a remake of Halo 3's Heroic map Standoff.[7]

DLC_Junkyard_Craneswing[edit]

"UNKNOWN"

Unused DLC map concepts[edit]

Arrowhead[edit]

"Arrowhead" was one potential DLC map concepted, and evidently would have taken place in or around a UNSC facility embedded in a cliffside, though no other details are known.[8]

Covenant underwater technology[edit]

This potential DLC map was designed to focus on underwater Covenant technology.[9]

Genessis[edit]

Identified in a series of concept art uploads all titled genessis, this map has a similar theme to the release map Vortex, set in a crashed Forerunner ship in a desert wasteland, turned into a makeshift base by the UNSC. In the distance, a Forerunner Keyship can be seen.[10] It is unknown if this pitch has any relation to the planet Genesis featured in Halo 5: Guardians.

Last Resort remake[edit]

Main article: Last Resort

One map concept shown involves a paintover of the sniper tower area of the Halo 3 map Last Resort. Its filename, lastr-paintover, suggests it was intended to be a Last Resort remake.[11] Notably, the map was later realised in Halo 2: Anniversary's multiplayer as Stonetown.

Narrows remake[edit]

Main article: Narrows

One concept pitched to 343[12] involved a remake of the Halo 3 multiplayer map Narrows, redressed in a human architectural aesthetic.[13][14][15]

ONI Bog[edit]

Concept art for the map suggests it would have had a similar theme and tone to the map Abandon, though it is unknown if the two maps are one and the same, or simply similar.[16][17][18]

Other DLC map concepts[edit]

Some callout sheets for individual map props have been posted online, of which tie to no particular known map.

Development and testing levels[edit]

Lighting reference test maps[edit]

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These maps, an interior and an exterior space, were employed by Bungie through the productions of Halo 3, ODST and Reach - and were used by 343 Industries in the production of Halo 4.

Sandtrap[edit]

"Don't eat the yellow sand"

While never considered for official inclusion in the final game, the Halo 3 multiplayer map Sandtrap was used in development for testing the vehicle sandbox of Halo 4.[19]

"Stripey room"[edit]

First referred to as such in the Halo: Reach Legendary Edition developer commentary by Martin O'Donnell, the so-called "Stripey Room" or sound.map is an audio testing level utilised by Bungie throughout the production of Halo 3 through Halo: Reach, and 343 Industries during the production of Halo 4. The map is almost identical to its Reach incarnation, with the exception of labelled terrain types and water.[20]

VFX test map[edit]

Help.png This section needs expansion. You can help Halopedia by expanding it.

This map was created by 343 Industries to test out visual effects such as the disintegration on Promethean weaponry.

Z00_testchamber[edit]

"Not For Play; Test Scripting File"

z00_testchamber is a map present in the Halo 4 tags build, used for testing. The map is described as a "small box test map".[5]

TEST_DLCHopper01[edit]

"[EN] This is the Blue Level"

This is one of three testing maps used to test the functionality of adding map packs into the game.

TEST_DLCHopper02[edit]

"[EN] This is the Green Level"

This is one of three testing maps used to test the functionality of adding map packs into the game.

TEST_DLCHopper03[edit]

"[EN] This is the Red Level"

This is one of three testing maps used to test the functionality of adding map packs into the game.

TEST_Thepit[edit]

"CA Game Mode Test Map"

TEST_Valhalla[edit]

"Large CA Game Mode Test Map"

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___) (Retrieved on Sep 4, 2021) [archive]
  2. ^ Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___) (Retrieved on Sep 4, 2021) [archive]
  3. ^ Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___): "Here's a look at another cut MP map from Halo 4 called "Z01_Fortress". There are a total of 6 maps with "Z0" as there name (Not counting test chamber) and only 2 of them made it into the final game. That being "Z11_Valhalla" and "Z05_Cliffside"." (Retrieved on Sep 7, 2021) [archive]
  4. ^ Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___): "This map also has proper vehicle spawns. The Revenant being one of the vehicles used in this map. Again, this implies the map was made before they scrapped the Revenant. The map appears to be a sandtrap inspired map." (Retrieved on Sep 7, 2021) [archive]
  5. ^ a b Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___): "This is a list of all "Z0" labeled maps in the debug menu. Valhalla interestingly enough is number 11. This implies that there are 2 more unknown cut maps we haven't seen before as number 9 and 10 are missing. FYI test chamber is literally a small box test map" (Retrieved on Sep 7, 2021) [archive]
  6. ^ Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___): "I almost forgot, there are also 3 more missing maps in the list. Z02, Z03, and Z04." (Retrieved on Sep 7, 2021) [archive]
  7. ^ Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___): "Fun Fact: The map Standoff from Halo 3 was going to be a DLC map for Halo 4 by Certain Affinity, but it was cut for currently unknown reasons" (Retrieved on Aug 25, 2021) [archive]
  8. ^ Artstation, HALO - Arrowhead (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  9. ^ Artstation, Halo 4 - Aquatic Covenant: "Random vis dev experiments for potential Halo 4 DLC environments. Toyed around with some ideas for undersea Covenant vessels. Ultimately unused, but sure was fun!" (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  10. ^ Artstation, Halo 4 (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  11. ^ Artstation, Halo 4 - DLC (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  12. ^ Deviant Art, Halo 4: DLC Bridge Lower Level Concept: "This only went as far as a pitch to 343." (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  13. ^ ArtStation, HALO - Narrows reimagined structural studies: "Narrows (a HALO 3 favourite) reimagined for an unfortunately unrealized HALO 4 multiplayer DLC." (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  14. ^ ArtStation, HALO - Narrows reimagined under-pass (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  15. ^ ArtStation, HALO - Narrows reimagined hangar interior (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  16. ^ ArtStation, HALO 4 - Oni Bog (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  17. ^ ArtStation, HALO 4 - Oni Bog 02 (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  18. ^ ArtStation, HALO 4 - Oni Bog Structure Studies (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  19. ^ Twitter, Galaxy (@___Gal4xy___): "A shame they never considered releasing Sandtrap as an official map for Halo 4, But it is neat to know that they used it to test out the vehicle sandbox during development." (Retrieved on Sep 4, 2021) [archive]
  20. ^ YouTube - Galaxy, Exploring the "Stripy Room" sound & material test map (Halo: Builds & Cut Content) (Retrieved on Sep 4, 2021)