Cut Halo: Combat Evolved creatures, enemies and ambient life
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During the development of Halo: Combat Evolved, a number of creature designs were considered for inclusion by Bungie to serve the role of enemies, ambient AI and other miscellaneous NPCs. Not all of these concepts made it to full 3D development.
In the earlier stages of Halo, ambient fauna were intended to make up a significant portion of the environments, and many were fully modelled, animated and implemented in-engine. Ultimately, they were cut due to a combination of time constraints, design issues and performance problems, with problems such as how the AI would respond to action sequences and herd mentality being prevalent. Ultimately, they were cut to focus on more pressing issues, though there was one last reason. Had Installation 04 been depicted with a burgeoning and active ecosystem, the surprise reveal of the Flood would have been considerably less shocking. An unintended side-effect of the creatures' removal meant that the structures and landscapes of the ringworld setting felt creepy, eerie and abandoned - serving to enhance the mystery of the Forerunners in a good (albeit accidental) way.
Antaeus is a cut creature developed for Halo: Combat Evolved. The creature was created by Marcus Lehto and inspired by the work of Ray Harryhausen. Although the creature bears some visual similarities to the Brutes later introduced in Halo 2, the creature was not related to them; though Lehto did note that they could originate from the Brute homeworld.
The Blind Wolf was a creature heavily featured in early revisions of Combat Evolved. The creature was the brainchild of Marcus Lehto, who concepted and modelled it for implementation in-game. The original concept features the Blind Wolf in a symbiotic relationship with an insect; the insect would act as the "eyes" for the Blind Wolf and lead it to prey - and in turn get to feast on the carcass the Blind Wolf left. The creature would have been featured in game as a hostile piece of ambient fauna on the ring, though the player would also be able to tame them and ride them as a mount.
The Blind Wolf was later updated for inclusion in Halo 2 and featured on the Collector's Edition DVD, complete with updated lighting and normal mapping.
The symbiote bug mentioned as concepted for the Blind Wolf coincides with details known about the Keelbug.
The Blind Wolf remains one of the most iconic cut creatures in the Halo series history, and has a long legacy. The creature was concepted for inclusion in Ensemble Studios' planned Halo MMO, intended for use as a Brute mount and known as the "Jaggmaw Sawtail". It would later go on to be prominently featured in the 2015 novel Halo: Hunters in the Dark, taking a prime position on the book's cover art and being canonised as a Morolaath, a creature on the Ark.
The creature jokingly referred to as the "doberman gator" was featured on the Halo 2 Limited Collector's Edition cutting room floor documentary, though little is known about it.[Note 1] The creature's anatomy slightly resembles that of the prehistoric Gorgonopsids which lived on Earth within the Permian. There are also similarities between it and Ambulocetus; an aquatic as well as terrestrial ancestor of Earth's Cetaceans which lived throughout the Eocene.
Seen only in concept art on the Halo 2 LCE disc, the Keelbug was a creature intended to be present in Combat Evolved. The Keelbug is described as being intended to fly into the battlefield, cut up dead bodies and fly them offscreen as a way of cleaning up the bodies. This was to serve in-game as a way of clearing corpses from the level to save on memory. This description (and appearance) is remarkably similar to the symbiosis insects described by Marcus Lehto for the Blind Wolves, indicating the creature found in his concept drawing was the Keelbug. [Note 1]
The "rock worm" was featured in the Macworld build showcased by Marcus Lehto.
When concepting the Elites for Combat Evolved, Marcus Lehto felt that the team needed an enemy character that was "more monster-like". The Stalker was one such creature created under this direction.
The Threeleg was an ambient lifeform intended to inhabit Installation 04 in Halo: Combat Evolved. As its name suggests, it was a tripodal organism, with three powerful legs and two smaller arms. It appears to have had an exoskeleton, and at least two eyes. It was cut from the final game.
The Thorax was an ambient lifeform intended to inhabit the ring in Combat Evolved. Mostly blue, with luminous yellow on its back, it had thin arms but long, powerful legs and a single eye. It was cut from the final game.
The Vulpard was an ambient lifeform intended to inhabit the ring in Combat Evolved. As the name suggests, it was a quadruped with leopard-like spotted fur and a powerful, vulture-like beaked head. It was cut from the final game.
Other miscellaneous creatures
The Drinol was an enemy type intended to be employed by the Covenant, itself based on the Drinniol enemies from Marathon. The Drinol, as intended for Halo, was modelled and textured by Paul Russel and animated by Marcus Lehto.
The Drinol model would be later implemented into the Halo 2 engine and was intended to play a part in that game as a boss enemy of some sort, though was eventually similarly-cut. Nonetheless, the Drinol - now named the Sharquoi - did make it into Halo canon with the release of the Conversations from the Universe booklet and 2016's Halo: Envoy.
The Sharquoi updated for inclusion in Halo 2 was featured on the Collector's Edition DVD, complete with updated lighting and normal mapping.
The Engineer is one of the more famous enemy types cut from Combat Evolved. The Engineers were developed for the game and remained in the build until fairly late stages, being seen in multiple promotional screenshots and even remaining in the game files - albeit unused - at launch. As a result, they can be spawned in-game via modding, albeit without animations or AI. The Engineers' late cutting consequently saw them remain featured in Halo: Combat Evolved: Prima's Official Strategy Guide, as they were unable to be removed in time.
Although cut from Combat Evolved, the Engineers remained in Halo canon thanks to their inclusion in the novels The Fall of Reach and First Strike. Their Combat Evolved design would later go on to be recreated by the team at Ensemble Studios for inclusion in Halo Wars, before being redesigned by Shi Kai Wang for a feature role in Halo 3: ODST.
The special purpose sniper is a deleted Covenant species seen in the Halo 2 Collector's Edition DVD. Its arms were to be used like a tripod (but not act like one), and it could flip from side to side, without having to switch weapons. It would also be able to hang from trees and building struts. Early revisions of this enemy's concept art can be seen wielding the particle beam rifle, similarly-cut from Combat Evolved.
A later model shared by Paul Russel differs from these designs massively.
The Tankbeast is a deleted Covenant species created by Paul Russel. The Tankbeast would have stood roughly 3.5 meters (11.4 Foot) tall, with no visibly-distinct head. The Tankbeast also had an underslung weapon, and armored legs. The creature's visual similarities to the Lekgolo may indicate it was to fulfill a similar role.