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Rediscovering Halo’s RTS and Third-Person Origins: A Journey of Restoration

Get ready for an exciting update on Halo: The Master Chief Collection! Not only does the collection already offer six of the most iconic FPS games ever made, but 343 Industries has now unveiled a treasure trove of cut content that will be restored with the help of dedicated modders. Prepare to delve into the rich history of Halo as it ventures into the realms of RTS and third-person shooter, presenting an array of enemies, vehicles, weapons, and maps that were previously hidden away. The Master Chief Collection is about to become a repository of preserved history that will leave you astounded.

343 Industries has formed a collaboration with a remarkable group of modders, known as the Digsite team, to resurrect a multitude of classic Halo cut content that has been long-awaited but never before seen. The journey began when 343 made a commitment to restore content from the legendary 1999 Halo RTS, and we are now inching closer to that ambitious goal. We can expect the reappearance of discarded enemies, vehicles, maps, and weapons originating from the early stages of Halo as an RTS and even during its third-person shooter phase.

Over the past year, with the assistance of 343, the Digsite team delved deep into the Halo archives, unearthing a plethora of fascinating materials. They have revealed, “Of particular interest to us were design/production docs, Bungie feedback notes, tags, compiled maps, and source data for previously unseen multiplayer maps.”

Among these remarkable findings is a map named Indoor, which was originally developed for the Gearbox Software PC port of the original Halo. The Digsite team has ingeniously combined this map with unreleased assets created by Gearbox, resulting in an entirely new map known as Underground.

Prepare yourself for a monumental expansion of Halo’s legacy within The Master Chief Collection. The resurrection of this cut content is a testament to the dedication and passion of both 343 Industries and the Digsite team. Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey through Halo’s history like never before!

One of the Digsite team members, Ludus, shared some fascinating insights about the collaboration. According to Ludus, “Gearbox had created a plethora of brand-new textures that were left unused. It would have been a shame for these textures to go to waste, so I took it upon myself to remix Indoor and create a fresh map that could fully utilize these newly discovered bitmaps.”

Another Halo PC map, Dusk, was also unearthed but in a rougher state. However, the Digsite team has painstakingly rebuilt it, drawing inspiration from the iconic Call of Duty map, Rust. Additionally, there’s the inclusion of Ruined Pain, a multiplayer map that accommodates eight to sixteen players, as well as a Swamp-themed level that repurposes assets from the original Halo level, Guilty.

Perhaps the most surprising revelation is the Macworld 1999 sandbox, a complete playable area that was initially designed when Halo was planned as a Mac-exclusive third-person game, serving as a follow-up to Marathon (which is also making a comeback). Described as a vast location with a heightmap-based terrain system incompatible with Halo: Combat Evolved, it required substantial efforts to make it functional within the Master Chief Collection. The sandbox has been set up for players to explore, experiment with, and repurpose for their own mods.

In addition to the maps mentioned, a plethora of cut content from Halo 2, including development testing areas, has been showcased. However, the highlight of this restoration project is undoubtedly the vast array of weapons and equipment that have been resurrected from the period when Halo was in its third-person iteration. Although the gameplay perspective has shifted to first-person, players will have the opportunity to wield and utilize these weapons and equipment, immersing themselves in a unique experience.

With each new discovery, the collaboration between 343 Industries and the Digsite team continues to unveil a treasure trove of lost content, enriching the Halo experience within The Master Chief Collection. Prepare to be amazed as you rediscover the roots of this legendary franchise and engage with a wealth of restored assets and gameplay elements that were once lost to time.

The assault rifle equipped with a grenade launcher and the SMG take center stage among the restored weaponry. However, here’s an unexpected twist: you can even experience these weapons from a third-person perspective. Yes, you read that correctly. This feature is not a joke. Digsite modder Scruffy confirms its functionality, stating, “It works, and it looks really cool.” While these third-person reticles may not perfectly replicate the older builds in terms of function, they are represented as 3D holograms rather than 2D HUD layers. Nevertheless, they accurately indicate the aim of your weapon, even from a distance or while performing acrobatic movements like jumping. Prepare to be impressed by this unique and visually stunning addition to the Halo experience.

The Digsite team has made remarkable discoveries regarding the vehicles from Halo’s early days as a ’90s RTS. Although these vehicles have been found and recovered, they will only exist as data-only assets since there is a lack of documentation on their intended performance. However, this limitation won’t deter other modders from attempting to decipher their functionality. Similarly, some old Halo alien enemies have been uncovered, but they lack special AI or gameplay functionality. The development of these features never progressed to a point where they could be implemented in the retail games.

While discussing Halo’s early RTS era, it’s worth noting that numerous cut vehicles and Covenant enemies are at various stages of completion. Several enemies have been almost fully restored and retooled, breathing new life into their designs. Among these revived foes are the massive Sharquoi, Slugman snipers, Neos (slimmer Hunter-like individuals), and Covenant Masters, who have been adapted to function as Elites.

The ongoing efforts of the Digsite team and other modders continue to shed light on the untapped potential of Halo’s past, expanding the possibilities within The Master Chief Collection. As more discoveries are made and existing content is revitalized, players can look forward to experiencing a broader range of vehicles, enemies, and combat encounters that showcase the creative vision that was once locked away.

In the process of uncovering Halo’s early days as a ’90s RTS, an impressive collection of vehicles has been discovered and recovered. However, due to a lack of documentation regarding their intended performance, these vehicles will exist solely as data-only assets. Nevertheless, this limitation has not deterred modders from attempting to decipher their functionalities and explore their potential within the game. Similar circumstances apply to some of the old Halo alien enemies. These creatures were never equipped with special AI or gameplay functionalities that could be implemented in the retail games.

Despite these challenges, there are still numerous cut vehicles and Covenant enemies that have been unearthed, each at varying levels of completion. Some enemies have undergone extensive restoration and retooling, breathing new life into their designs. Notable examples include the colossal Sharquoi, Slugman snipers, Neos (slender, Hunter-like beings), and Covenant Masters, which have been modified to function as Elites.

The ongoing efforts of the Digsite team and other modders are illuminating the untapped potential of Halo’s early RTS era. While the exact mechanics of these vehicles and enemies may remain elusive, the dedication and ingenuity of the modding community continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved within The Master Chief Collection. Prepare to encounter a captivating array of vehicles, enemies, and combat scenarios that not only pay homage to Halo’s past but also provide fresh and thrilling experiences for players to enjoy.

While the content I’ve discussed in this article is not yet available, according to the 343 blog, there are more content showcases on the horizon. The blog mentions that GitHub and Steam workshop links will be provided for all the forthcoming content drops. It’s important to note that I haven’t covered or shared all the details from 343 and the Digsite team in this article, but you can find comprehensive information on Halo Waypoint.

In the meantime, if you’re eager to dive into the Halo experience, you can gain instant access to Halo: The Master Chief Collection through PC Game Pass. And the best part is, you can grab a subscription for just $1.

While you eagerly await the upcoming Halo content, we also have comprehensive information on the Halo Infinite system requirements. Additionally, if you’re looking for other multiplayer gaming options on PC, we have a list of the best multiplayer games currently available.

Stay tuned for further updates and get ready to embark on new and exciting adventures within the Halo universe.

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