The original Halo now has a playable campaign level that brings cut content from the FPS game‘s RTS and third-person concept days to the forefront of the experience, after a group of modders started showing off work they’ve been doing with 343 Industries to restore over two decades of lost content to Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Last week 343 Industries and a group of modders going by the name Digsite shared the start of a colossal Halo project. The two teams have been working together to restore cut Halo content from back when the iconic FPS was just an RTS and then a third-person shooter with guns, enemies, vehicles, maps, and so much more set to be reintroduced to Halo: The Master Chief Collection to play and mod with.
Not only is this an incredible bit of videogame preservation, but it also presents the six-game collection as one of the most robust, content-filled, and community-driven games available today.
It’s not just Halo Waypoint blogs and restored assets though, as the Digsite team has released an entire level in Halo: Combat Evolved, which uses loads of the assets that they’ve restored, giving you a chance to engage with lost Halo history firsthand.
Downloadable on Steam and playable in Halo MCC, I’m nothing short of blown away by the work of the Digsite team, which you can see in action in the UnboundConman video below.
Built in the sandbox space that Digsite has restored from the Halo Macworld demo in 1999, there are cutscenes, brand-new restored weapons, and even new music too. Using the Macworld map also “pushes the engine to the limit, all at once” according to the Digsite team, stretching the original Halo as far as it can go.
It’s almost like a bizarro version of the first Halo, where everything looks the same on the surface, but then there’s the iconic assault rifle with a grenade launcher and assets you’ve never seen before. I need to make it clear that this isn’t one cohesive cut level from Bungie back in the day though, but instead a smorgasbord of cut content from multiple versions of Halo all rolled into one new experience, for free.
As mentioned, the Digsite team is restoring content from across the Halo series, with the Halo 2 E3 2003 demo – the cobbled-together and still iconic video footage that showed an almost entirely different Halo 2 – also being made playable at some point soon as well.
While I repeatedly raise questions about decisions regarding Halo Infinite, like the Xbox showcase no-show and the removal of certain features, I can safely say that the way the Master Chief Collection is being treated, nine years after release, is nothing short of incredible.
I really hope 343 and Digsite keep this up and turn the restored content into properly usable extras. Both modders and players get extra toys to play with, while the state of videogame restoration improves as these decade-old bits of content become easily accessible. Videogames are the only medium that lets you play history, be that of the real world or the industry itself, and it’s a joy to see that realized in the Digsite team’s work.
If you want more, you can learn all about the Digsite team’s work restoring Halo 2 cut content on Halo Waypoint, with the Halo 1 Crash Site level available on Steam as well. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is also part of Game Pass, so you can play all this content at no extra cost if you subscribe.