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Modders are restoring loads of lost Halo maps to the Master Chief Collection after year-long project

Impressive work from 343 Industries and modding team Digsite

John Master Chief faces a hulking, stomping alien in a screenshot from Halo: MCC's cut content mod
Image credit: Xbox Game Studios

Halo is a series where you explore ancient places and uncover secrets left behind by an alien civilisation of engineers, so it's fitting that developers 343 Industries and modding team Digsite have been doing a bit of Halo excavation of their own in real life. Over the weekend, Halo's community team posted a new blog post detailing the results of a year-long partnership with Digsite to restore lost features from Halo's cutting room floor to the Master Chief Collection - including never-before-seen maps and weapons from the archives of Halo: Combat Evolved, as well as some vehicles from the series’ earliest days as a third-person shooter and real-time strategy game.

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“From the depths of the 343 vaults and archives from Marcus Lehto, we bring long-lost artefacts of an elder era,” says the Halo Waypoint post. “Some from a time where the Halo we know and love was but a twinkle in Bungie’s eyes.” You see, the series originally began development as an RTS at ex-series-developer Bungie. The project then morphed into a third-person shooter, famously revealed with a demo during Apple’s 1999 Macworld show. And then the game evolved into the first-person shooter we know today.

The Digsite modding team are excavating and restoring weapons, enemies, maps, sounds, and vehicles from those earliest eras of Halo development, and are adding them to The Master Chief Collection in a series of updates. This includes a “swamp themed level” made by Gearbox Software, which was developed for Halo: Combat Evolved’s PC port back in 2003.

Most notably, the team have dug up that ancient “multi-biome environment” from the game’s Macworld reveal demo. “It took some work to get running in MCC,” says the Digsite team, “We’ve set it up as a sandbox to play in, explore, and repurpose for your own mods.” Halo Infinite most recently took the series into a fully open world space, but it’s fascinating to see that those bones were set up before Combat Evolved even came out.

Some other early models are just plain entertaining. One Covenant vehicle was just a generic oval UFO. Another enemy type was the self-explanatory Eye Bug (a bug with one big eye.) Those were all probably made before Halo landed on a more recognisable space-military style where the alien ships were purple, the human ships were dull, and the zombies were all bogey green.

343 promises another Digsite blog post later this week, alongside links to the Steam Workshop page where you can grab all the restored goodies.

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