The book Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar revealed many of the game’s original settings and action that were cut down or removed entirely from the final game. Half-Life 2 was originally intended to be a far darker game where the Combine were more obviously draining the oceans for minerals and replacing the atmosphere with noxious, murky gases. Promotional shots and gameplay videos released before the game became available showed parts of these scenes, and also showed enemies that do not appear anywhere in the final game, such as the “Hydra,” a massive, gelatinous, translucent, neon-blue creature that lived in the sewers. It was planned as a massive bulk far below the city with tentacles that would reach up and spear through enemies, including Combine soldiers. The Hydra was apparently cut because its AI proved troublesome: while impressive when attacking NPCs, it was less interesting, and more frustrating for players to fight, and was also difficult to code.
Other enemies cut from the game included Combine assassins (their AI was salvaged to form the Fast Zombie; they were females, very similar in attitude to the Half-Life black ops; they are included in Half-Life 2: Survivor), a newly skinned bullsquid, houndeyes, various Synths and Combine soldiers. There was also a planned creature called the Cremator who would clean the streets of bodies after a skirmish with a massive acid gun called an Immolator, which would double as an offensive weapon when the Cremator would become an enemy. The Cremator’s head would eventually be featured in Eli’s lab in Black Mesa East, encased in a jar of formaldehyde, which Eli will make comments about when the player nears the jar and views it.
The game was originally intended to be much more diverse in settings (to the extent that the game felt almost overblown, and little time being spent on developing existing characters; one of the key reasons for it being cut). Parts of the book detail how Gordon would fight alongside characters such as Odessa Cubbage, albeit under a different name and in a different place, as well as fighting together with Colonel Vance – a character that was later merged with Eli to become Doctor Eli Vance – and Vance’s forces. Originally, Eli and Alyx Vance had no relation, and Eli’s lab was originally intended to resemble a form of scrapyard and town in a cave than a better equipped laboratory within a hydroelectric power station; the scrapyard area where the Gravity Gun tutorial takes place resembles the original concept; being an auxiliary area as opposed to the bulk of the lab. The Citadel also looked very different, it was more round than the bulky Citadel from the final version.
Other cuts from the game included a drivable jetski, which was eventually replaced by the airboat in the final game because it was too much like running around on foot. Another vehicle to be included was what looked like a large mining device, to be used in Ravenholm. Also, many weapons were cut.
The E3 video “Traptown” shows that at some point in the game’s development it was also possible to shoot any gun while using the HEV suit’s zoom function and that the player could discard weapons, indicating they could only carry a specified amount of firearms at a time. Traptown was to be a section of the Ravenholm chapter. It seems to share some similarities with a section from the Ravenholm chapter from the released version of Half-Life 2, mostly the setting of the section. The trailer also showed the ability of Combine enemies to try to break down doors, which did not make it in the final release.
This is thought to be a scripted sequence for the E³ video. At the end of the video, the player shoots an explosive barrel that was behind an old car, which made the car explode and jump into a nearby zombie. This wasn’t possible in the final version, although there is a roadblock in the Highway 17 chapter of the finished game where the player does something similar to a barrel-toting truck. Also, Ravenholm (or probably only the Traptown section) featured both Combine soldiers and zombies in its beta stage, as well as Father Grigori, which, according to Raising The Bar and the leaked sound files, was to be tougher and less humorous.
Initially a small mining town called Quarrytown, which was more of a puzzle solving section of Half-Life 2, with zombies added as the town’s pests, Valve liked the idea of having a town full of zombies, so Quarrytown eventually became a big town, which was full of traps, made by Father Grigori, the town’s priest and only remaining survivor. The E3 video, Traptown, featured both Combine Soldiers and zombies, the soldiers being added probably because Valve thought that the video wouldn’t have been as interesting only with the zombies, which are slow and easy to kill.
It remains unknown if most of the cut Half-Life 2 scenes will eventually be completed and released, or if they are lost forever. A removed section of the original Half-Life was eventually released as the Half-Life: Uplink demo; a similar situation was in place with the HDR technology demo, Lost Coast, which was based on a scene that was cut from the sequel. It is possible or even likely that more removed sections of HL2 will be seen in future expansion packs, as Half-Life 2: Episode One didn’t contain any of the aforementioned content. There’s a possibility that Kraken Base might be in the further episodes of Half-Life 2 because Doctor Judith Mossman is only seen in Episode One on a monitor in the Citadel reporting from an Arctic base. This might mean that Kraken Base (possibly under a different name) is being put back into the storyline.
Episode Two includes areas of gameplay based around the “Antlion hive” areas cut from Half-Life 2, and the presence of the cut “Antlion King”, now renamed to be an ‘Antlion guardian’. Episode Two also makes references to the Borealis icebreaker that was cut from Half Life 2, a research vessel revealed to have been created by Aperture Science for some unknown purpose. It is likely that players will explore the Borealis and related arctic base in Episode Three.
Info from wikipedia: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_cut_from_Half-Life_2
Two very similar prototypes were leaked months before the game came out. Obscene amounts of Half Life 2 development data have slipped out of Valve’s grasp and can easily be found on the internet. This includes concept art, sound files, models and countless maps. Thanks to this we can see just about every change ever made to Half Life 2. To read about its original story and see pictures not featured here check out Half Life Wikia.
A mod for HL2, know as “Missing Informations” add some of the beta / unused stuff back in the game. You can download it in here. Some videos with unused models and beta stuff can be found at HL202 Youtube Channel!
Chris put together a site where anyone can download the Leak, patches, WC Mappack and more: http://hl2betapage.webs.com/
Thanks to D-vide, Nastykill, Megalol and discworld for the contributions!
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