The trailer for Halo 2’s E3 will have a playable level, someday

Master Chief lights up a plasma bomb in Halo 2.

screenshot: Bunji / Kotaku

The coolest part of Halo 2 did not reach Halo 2. If you’re a fan of the series at all, you know exactly what I’m talking about: Show “Earthcity”which was shown during Microsoft’s E3 presentation in 2003. This level did not reach the full version of Halo 2But after nearly two decades, a playable build is in the works, 343 Industries announced today In a blog post.

Just to give you an idea of ​​how awesome this is, here’s my real-time reaction upon learning the news, transcribed directly from KotakuSlack channel:

wait

In any case

number

silly

road

gemr2cmt4p4t3p2m8mp2340u9[m[0m19t

sry sry

my face fell onto my keyboard

In the cold light of today’s fidelity arms race, you might not get this impression looking at the clip’s lo-fi visuals, but it’s hard to overstate just how spine-tingling Halo 2’s E3 2003 demo was. Two years prior, Halo: Combat Evolved—and this almost goes without saying—redefined the first-person shooter. But that game was set entirely off-planet, on a ringworld called Halo. The “Earthcity” demo showed a look at a broader Halo canon—the primordial ooze for a sci-fi universe that’s spanned decades of games, spinoffs, comics, novels, a canceled film, and a TV series recently revamped.

The general scenario of “Earthcity” – a human city under attack, which you must protect – is repeated in one form or another during the second and third levels of the Halo 2. And some of the gameplay elements that the demo shows, such as the ability to use two weapons at once, are also included in the full game. But the plot details diverge. Near the end of the demonstration, Master Chief is seated on a ghost, a ground vehicle typical of the Reign, HelloThe primary hostile force. He’s ripping it off at full speed on a highway. It crashes, and then the demo transitions from real-time gameplay (remarkably impressive at the time) to cinematic pre-show. A number of Covenant Drop Beads fall from orbit, elites wielding energy swords appear and surround the Chief. He pulls a plasma bomb.

“Betcha can’t hold on to it,” says Cortana, a companion to the head of AI.

He says “You are on”.

in Combat aura evolvedIt could be said that elites who possessed energy swords were the strongest hostile unit. Facing one or two is usually difficult enough. But Seven? in close the quarters? The demo couldn’t have ended in a very steep cliffhanger. as a player you He knew How much danger is the Chief in – and you need to know what he was, and how You areHe will fight your way out of it.

Master Chief aims a battle rifle at a tent in Halo 2's E3 2003 demo.

Screenshot: 343 Industries

Though there’s no release date, 343 Industries is planning on making the stage playable in PC versions of “modern retail Halo 2.” (Halo 2 was released as a remastered version in 2014, which is also included as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.) The chance of it being playable on console is totally up in the air, in part due to the high technical hurdles for this endeavor.

“We originally didn’t have a lot of assets lying around for the map from previous analysis of leaked builds and the like,” General_101, a modder working with 343 on this project, wrote. “Just the source JMS files for the BSP and a few scenery objects. However, once the source map files turned up it was only a matter of time before we had all the data we needed.”

Beyond Halo 2’s E3 2003 demo, 343 is working with modders to add a ton of cut content to Halo: Master Chief Collection. For longtime Halo fans, there’s a ton of other fascinating stuff in the pipe, including the original elite models and a number of other renderings that never made the final cut. You can read it all here.

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