343 Industries, current developers of Microsoft Studio’s Halo series, is working on a restoration of the original unreleased Halo RTS, it is reported.
Originally revealedat Macworld 1999 and introduced by Steve Jobs, Halo was expected to be a flagship title for the Mac G3 and G4 lines. In the event, the game was shelved, and reappeared as a flagship title on Microsoft’s original Xbox in 2001.
A post on the official Halo Waypoint website details the effort that has gone into recovering assets long considered to be lost, as well as what will happen next. And it’s pretty exciting, not just from the point of view of being a Halo fan, but also from a game preservation angle.
…we are working to bring as much of this prerelease content to the community as possible, using the Editing Kits for Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Data, tags, everything you need to put these in your own mod, and enough information to let experienced modders experiment, remix, and even port to other Halo engines than what they were made for
So much material has been uncovered that it appears the 343 Industries team was at risk of being overwhelmed by the project. To combat this, it has taken the smart step of focusing efforts into two key areas:
- Prerelease Halo (Digsite Alpha): This is content related to Halo from its earliest origins as an RTS up to material cut from the retail release. That does mean we are revisiting a few things that were restored in the PC port, using more of the original source files (looking at you, flamethrower animations).
- Halo 2 Development (Digsite Delta): The sophomore release in the original Halo trilogy had a complicated development, and while we don’t have every iteration of the work-in-progress builds, we do still have a wealth of cut material.
As yet there is no official release for these files, and there is considerable expectation-management throughout the blog, but with statements like “we have managed to recover cyborgs, animations, aliens, weapons, vehicles, and props from 1999-era Halo” it’s pretty hard not to be intrigued by these prerelease Halo RTS and abandoned Halo 2 build recoveries.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.