Halo devs reveal plans to release never-before-seen content from original titles

Eleni Thomas
Halo old content coming back header image
343 Industries

Halo devs 343 Industries have just announced that they have been working on bringing to life some of the original designs and features from early titles in the series that were scrapped last minute. 

When Halo: Combat Evolved released in 2001, it became the new benchmark for the FPS experience. It also quickly became the face of the Xbox brand and has held that position ever since.

While 343 were not the development team responsible for early Halo titles, they have taken it upon themselves to offer up a trip down memory lane for the Halo community. In a recent blog post, the dev team announced that across July 2022, they will be dropping information about what they described as “a three-part exploration of some deep Halo history.”

The first part has just dropped and can be found here. It includes a forensic examination of the early development process of the first two Halo titles. 

Finding the Halo 1 content folder and recovering its contents

Halo unreleased content mini warthhog
343 Industries
The Piglet is a mini-warthog style vehicle and is one of the pieces of content recovered from the early Halo 1 files.

Before getting into the thick of it, senior franchise writer Kenneth Peter first recounts how he managed to find the early work for Halo 1 and how he was eventually able to break through and salvage the content from it.

“In the darkest depths of the 343 Industries intranet is a folder devoid of light, bereft of hope, swarming with corruption that even the Flood recoil from in fear,” began Kenneth Peter.

“It contains treasures for those willing to plumb its depths and wrestle with the ruins of old dreams and tangled references. Its name? \share\Halo1.

Peter then went on to describe the folder as a”complicated beast”, one that over the decades has “suffered from everything from corporate schisms to bit rot.”

However, he then detailed how in 2021, he made a breakthrough with the folder. With the help of Sean Cooper, a publishing team member of 343, they were able to recover a large amount of Halo’s source files. 

Now in 2022, the plan is to not only continue to recover these files but to completely revamp them and turn them into playable content for the Halo community.

When will this classic Halo content be released?

While they don’t have a release date for all this content, they did say that it will be coming soon, however an exact time isn’t something they can confirm at the moment.

“We don’t have a specific date as we still need to follow Microsoft and Xbox Game Studios processes and reviews, even for “mod” content. The team is not willing to put out half-broken content, so we’ll be fixing stuff and making additions.”

Here’s a brief overview of the standout content and hidden gems that the devs showcased in their Cutting Room Floor post.

A treasure trove of unknown Halo Vehicles 

Halo unreleased content water vehicle
343 Industries
Early concept art for the water vehicle the Doozy.

One thing that has always made Halo stand out from the crowd is its unique and extensive collection of in-game vehicle options. The classic Warthog is often referred to as one of the most well known vehicles in all of gaming.

Now 343 have shown off a massive collection of early designs for many vehicles that were almost featured in Halo:CE. While some were scrapped quite early on in the process, others were essentially complete and workable before ultimately getting axed.

Two such vehicles that had near-retail tags were called the Kestrel and the Spectre. From the images shown, the Spectre appears to be an early design and working of what later became the Seraph tanks.

The Kestrel may be a name Halo fans have heard before as images of the deleted aircraft have been shown off at other points in time. While both were missing weapon tags, the actual designs were intact and are two of the vehicles 343 will be bringing to life.

Other early vehicle designs they revealed to be remastering from Halo 1 and 2 include the following:

  • The Viper – a stealth version of the Scorpion tank)
  • A Forerunner Tank – the first forerunner vehicle ever made
  • The Doozy – A jetski looking water vehicle 
  • Uberchassis – an actual car
  • The Piglet – a mini warthog that looks like a toy car

A needler mini-gun, SMG’s and many more weapons 

Halo unreleased content neddlet mini-gun and SMG
343 Industries
343 found a large amount of unused weapons and designs from Combat Evolved.

It appears that vehicles weren’t the only things Bungie experimented with heavily when developing Halo: CE. Many weapons, including ones that were later brought into the series, can be found in early stages of the first game.

Some of the weapons 343 were able to find and will be eventually restoring are a needler mini-gun, an original design of the Mjolnir minigun and another heavy weapon they referred to as the microwave gun.

Halo unreleased content microwave gun
343 Industries
The microwave gun sure looks like it can deal some damage.

Prerelease versions of the classic plasma pistol and plasma rifle have been recovered as well as early designs of a UNSC issue SMG. The SMG of course later made its debut in Halo 2 and had a massive overhaul from what was first created in Halo 1.

Old Halo maps and areas getting a makeover too 

Halo unreleased content map
343 Industries
The restoration team are working to fix Halo 2’s original demo map Earth City.

343 promises they’re also working on campaign cut maps and additional areas. They spoke in length in the post about how they have been working on rebuilding the cut campaign map Alphamoon – now named New Moon Rising.

Peter then also stated that they are also working on a, rebuild of the original E3 Earth City scenario that makes it playable in modern retail Halo 2.”

As well as this, added character and enemy designs and alien fauna were all on display for Halo plays to see.

The devs then ended the post by detailing how part of this series will focus more on highlighting the actual restoration process and will involve speaking more closely to the modders who have been able to bring this content back to life.