Halo Wars sequel (Ensemble)
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During the development of Halo Wars, Ensemble Studios was shut down by Microsoft. As such, the game was the studio's last title, with Robot Entertainment continuing the work of producing the game's downloadable content and Title Updates. However, Halo Wars writer Graeme Devine did consider some ideas for a potential sequel, in the form of campaign downloadable content and a sequel game. These notes and scripts are non-canon, similar to Devine's blog. Halo Wars 2 released in 2017 though developed by Creative Assembly and 343 Industries - as such, these ideas have little to do with the final released game.
"Halo Wars 1.5" (Covenant campaign expansion)
During the game's development, Ensemble wished to make a Covenant-centric campaign expansion, though this was never realised. Graeme Devine wrote some script treatments for a potential storyline for this hypothetical DLC, with himself and several others pitching the expansion to Microsoft. The known transcripts posted online posit two potential avenues for the DLC, both set after the main story with the player taking the role of the Brute chieftain seen in-game.
In the first idea, the DLC would see the Chieftain returning to High Charity, in a scene similar to The Heretic cutscene of Halo 2. The Chieftain is questioned by the Hierarchs about his failures and survival at Trove, and is tasked with restoring his honour. The Chieftain is then dispatched to an Unggoy colony world which is on the verge of an uprising, where a human ship has been seen. The Chieftain puts down the uprising, and learns from the Grunts that the human ship was spotted nearby a mining outpost operated by pirates and mercenaries. The scene ends with the reveal that the ship is UNSC Spirit of Fire, ending with the same shot as the post-credit scene in the main game.
The second idea starts around the last level of the main game's campaign, with the Brutes being pushed back by the UNSC and Flood on both sides. The Brutes attempt to seal the entrance portal to the shield world to trap the humans inside, before escaping. The Brutes then travel to a Forerunner mining world for repairs, only to discover it infested with Flood.
"Halo Wars 2"
In Devine's notes, "Halo Wars 2" would pick up immediately following the post-credits scene of Halo Wars, with Serina waking up Captain Cutter from cryo stasis. In this scene, Cutter would wake up to find Ellen Anders standing next to him, having written a program to automatically open her pod once the rest of the crew was in stasis. The two would then inform Cutter of the issue; Sergeant Forge. The two would then be interrupted by the Sergeant himself, revealing he had survived the events of Halo Wars thanks to a transport that took him to the place where the Spirit of Fire was docked. Upon finding out the ship was docked, Cutter would demand to go to the bridge immediately, with the posted transcript ending there. It would turn out that the Spirit was docked at a Forerunner station which had been tracked by Anders for over a year.
The initial thoughts on the story continuing started like this. It should be noted this is a) old b) just an outline and c) not canon “Captain, wake up, something has happened” Cutter woozy could feel the wakeup program running, the condensation on the inside of his tank made the air hot and heavy. By the time the door slid open he was extremely unhappy to see Anders standing over him. “How long?” “Three years, one hundred and seven days, fourteen hours, six minutes and eighteen seconds Captain. Approximately.”. Serina was active? Anders? As Cutter stepped out Anders pulled his head back and checked his eyes. “Sorry captain, I set a program to wake me 30 seconds after you finally put yourself into cryo. Too much to learn here.” “Serina. Report.” “It’s Forge sir.” Cutter looked across at Forge’s cryo unit. Empty. Powered down. Dark. “Sergeant Forge can speak for himself thank you very much”, Forge stepped out of the shadows. Even with a beard his swagger was unmistakable. Cutter was visibly shaken, almost fell and then starting shaking before actually falling to the ground unconscious as the world spun and blurred out before him. Anders kneeling down next to Cutter, “It’s cryo sickness, he’s weak.” “Or he might have just seen the ghost of his dead friend that blew up.” Serina quipped. Cutter came to in the medbay. The ship was still on low power, lights barely at night level, his head still dizzy he started to move to get up. “Woah there Captain, you’ve got a bit of downtime there.” Forge was sitting next to the Captain, Anders hovered nearby while Serina glowed on the table. “Thought I was a goner too, bought the big one, but it turns out this old Sergeant had one more hand to play.”, Forge shifted in to lean near the captain “The planet we blew up? Yeah, that core didn’t go. It had some sort of transport that shot me to the thing we’re now docked to.” “But how?” Forge looked across the room and locked eyes with Anders. “I directed the ship here. I felt one rescue deserved another.” Serina, a little agitated, “Really, I thought I did all the directing? All you did was follow some fast moving untraceably faint UNSC coded tachyon burst echo from lover boy over there.” Cutter tried to sit up again, positioning his medbed so he could sit up and look around.” “Wait. Docked? You docked my ship? Take me to the bridge. Now!” “Told you he’d be grumpy.”
- Reddit, Halo Wars AMA with Graeme Devine is here!: Graeme Devine's Halo Wars 2 transcript (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
- Twitter, Graeme Devine (@zaphodgjd): "Found this old @halowarss email today with story ideas for the DLC expansion." (Retrieved on Oct 19, 2020) [archive]
- Twitter, Graeme Devine (@zaphodgjd): "I remember after leaving Microsoft a few of us pitched the expansion, including this, so it was never “official”" (Retrieved on Oct 19, 2020) [archive]
- Twitter, Graeme Devine (@zaphodgjd): "canon, and these ideas were never actually presented anywhere." (Retrieved on Oct 19, 2020) [archive]
- Escapist, Halo Wars Lead Designer Says Interface Key to Sequel Success (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
- Reddit, Halo Wars AMA with Graeme Devine is here!: "Originally we planned that for the sequel but the studio shutdown prevented that from happening. We were always concerned though with what the Flood really are and wanted to head in that direction to explore it." (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]