Bungie initially conceived ODST as a small side project to produce in the lull between Halo 3‘s completion and Halo:Reach. Instead of featuring recognizable characters such as the Master Chief from previous games, the developers focused on the ODSTs. Story director Joseph Staten penned a detective story utilizing film noir settings, design, and characters. Composer Martin O’Donnell abandoned his previous Halo themes to create a quieter, jazz-influenced sound. During development, the game grew in scope to that of a full-sized game. [info from Wikipedia]
When Bungie decided to make a new Halo game after 3, they tossed around alot of ideas and concepts, such as another game where you play as Master chief, or one focusing on the Arbiter. Eventually they came across the idea for a game where you play as an ODST, they went through several concepts of what it would be about, some early concepts for the ODST idea were a game where you’d play as a ODST squad that would follow alongside a Spartan. Another one was about going back to Waypoint. They reused alot of cut ideas from Halo 1,2, and 3 in ODST such as these cut Pelican models cut from Halo 3:
One of the main ODSTs Buck went through some interesting changes. Here’s a screenshot of Buck from an early build of the game:
Heres what he looks like in the final game:
The elephant garbage truck seen throughout the game called the Olifant was originally intended to be drivable by the player.
There was even a firefight subgenre called “Garbage Truckin” that was cut from the game, not much is known about it other than that it would’ve in some way featured the elephant garbage truck, It was far enough along that they had a prototype of it and even recorded some dialogue for it.
There were also cut skulls such as the developers skull. Its effect would’ve turned on developer commentary.
The silenced smg and pistol used in ODST were originally created and modeled in Halo 2, in this picture you can see the Halo 2 silenced smg:
The Engineer also went through some cuts and changes in ODST’s development
Q. Is that an Oasis quote? You know what, don’t answer that. Try this one: were there any elements of the Engineer’s design that you were really excited about that didn’t end up working for technical, fictional, or gameplay reasons?
A. When the redesign for Halo 3: ODST came along, we originally wanted the Engineer to suck its limbs and head into a cocoon shell and have it float away in distress or cower in fear. We didn’t fully achieve that look or feel, partly because we didn’t figure out a good solution for how the animations would work alongside gameplay. It does do something similar, but ultimately it’s a scaled down version.
Q. When you look back over the small catalog of concept art that ultimately makes up the Engineer’s evolution, do any of the images stick out for one reason or another?
A. Not sure if this would be appropriate to mention, but one of the concepts that actually made it to the Halo engine was Engineers with, how do you say, giant sacks below them. I think originally my intention was that since they were floating creatures, they would need some sort of counterweight to ground them. But now looking back at those designs, it’s quite obvious that I was a very young kid that had some very subliminal influences going into what I designed. I’ll let people explore that comment themselves.