Cut Halo: Combat Evolved creatures, enemies and ambient life

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This page discusses elements of deleted material and cut content. Some information on the page is sourced from game files and may not be verifiable through external sources. Where possible, such information should be clearly-marked and replaced with a proper external source as soon as one is available.
Several cut creatures and vehicles by Paul Russel.[1]

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.

Ambient life[edit]

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.[2]

Antaeus[edit]

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.[3] 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.[4]

Blind wolf[edit]

Main article: Morolaath
Shi Kai Wang: "Look, it's the blind wolf!"
Marcus Lehto: "Big, beloved blind wolf."
Shi Kai Wang: "That was back when you could ride it."
Marcus Lehto: "Yeah, yeah. You could actually mount the thing and ride it. A.I.... A.I. couldn't, uh... Couldn't handle it on the A.I. side. Couldn't flock 'em, couldn't, uh... fit them into gameplay."
— Marcus Lehto, Halo: Combat Evolved art director, and Shi Kai Wang, a concept artist, discuss the attempts made to include "blind wolves" in the first Halo game.[6]

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.[7][8] 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.[6]

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.[6]

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.

Doberman gator[edit]

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.[6][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.

Keelbug[edit]

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.[6] 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 Keelbug has since been referenced in more modern media, being referred to in the Bleached Bone armor coating description in Halo Infinite.

Rock worm[edit]

The "rock worm" was featured in the Macworld build showcased by Marcus Lehto.[10]

Stalker[edit]

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.[6]

Threeleg[edit]

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.[1]

Thorax[edit]

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.[1]

Thorn beast[edit]

Main article: Thorn beast

The thorn beast was a creature modelled and textured by Paul Russel.[1] It was shown in the Halo E3 2000 trailer as an ambient creature that the Marine squad passed by.

While cut from the game, the thorn beast did survive and eventually make its way into canon in the 2007 novel Contact Harvest - served as a delicacy aboard the Rapid Conversion.

Vulpard[edit]

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.[1]

Other miscellaneous creatures[edit]

Covenant[edit]

Drinol[edit]

Main article: Sharquoi

The Drinol was an enemy type intended to be employed by the Covenant, itself based on the Drinniol enemies from Marathon.[11] The Drinol, as intended for Halo, was modelled and textured by Paul Russel and animated by Marcus Lehto.[12]

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.[6]

Engineer[edit]

Main article: Huragok
"We started the Engineer all the way back in Chicago, around 1999 or so. The original idea for the Engineer hasn’t ever really changed, they were meant to be a class of aliens that acted as idiot savants towards technology. We wanted a set of creatures that could decipher the Forerunner tech easily, and allow a glimpse into what made the Forerunner technology so special. As far as gameplay, the designers wanted a race that were less aggressive to populate the world in a more passive way, making Halo feel more alive."
Shi Kai Wang[13]

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.

Sniper[edit]

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.[6]

A later model shared by Paul Russel differs from these designs massively.[1]

Tankbeast[edit]

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.[1] The creature's visual similarities to the Lekgolo may indicate it was to fulfill a similar role.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Twitter, Paul Russel (@Dr_Abominable): "Here's the first. Didn't have shot of the 'blind wolf', [Marcus Lehto]'s creation." (Retrieved on Jan 25, 2016) [archive]
  2. ^ Bungie.net, The Origin of Halo (Retrieved on Jan 18, 2021) [archive]
  3. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Found this ancient relic while looking through some old Halo CE data files. This beast is called Antaeus. I believe I was inspired by Ray Harryhausen and I thought I'd make a big ambient life creature for Halo." (Retrieved on Dec 31, 2020) [archive]
  4. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "No, but it could have been associated with them somehow. Creature from their home world or something." (Retrieved on Dec 31, 2020) [archive]
  5. ^ a b Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "And some ambient life explorations from my 1998 Halo sketchbook." (Retrieved on Nov 6, 2021) [archive]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h YouTube - Bungie, Cutting Room Floor Weapons Vehicles and Characters: Official Bungie upload of the BTS video from the Halo 2 Collector's Edition (Retrieved on Dec 17, 2020)
  7. ^ Twitter, @game_fabricator: "Oh sweet! When I designed the blind wolf for CE, it had a symbiotic relationship with a large insect which would plant a stinger at the base of the wolf’s cranium giving the wolf the ability to “see” through the insects. Blind wolf kills prey, insect cleans up the mess." (Retrieved on Nov 6, 2021) [archive]
  8. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@Dr_Abominable): "Bug was the blind wolf's eyes. Symbiosis. It leads blind wolf to prey, gets to eat carcass." (Retrieved on Mar 1, 2020) [archive]
  9. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved E3 2000 trailer
  10. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "Look what I found in one of my old Halo builds. Rock Worm! WTF were we thinking? Hah!" (Retrieved on Nov 28, 2021) [archive]
  11. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "You mean what we used to call the Drinol? There's a reason he never made it into the game. :)" (Retrieved on Nov 6, 2021) [archive]
  12. ^ Twitter, Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator): "I animated the only existing one about 15 years ago when Halo was still on the PC/Mac." (Retrieved on Nov 6, 2021) [archive]
  13. ^ Bungie.net, Post Mortem: Engineer Evolved (Retrieved on Jan 23, 2021) [archive]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b In the cases where a creature was featured in the Halo 2 LCE cutting room floor documentary, it can generally be assumed that the creatures in question were concepted for Combat Evolved - not Halo 2 - due to the emphasis Combat Evolved had on wanting to portray ambient fauna and flora.