Halo 2's original ending has been brought to life in this fantastic fan animation

Halo 2
(Image credit: Microsoft/Bungie)

What you need to know

  • A talented Halo fan has brought storyboards for Halo 2's original ending to life with an animated reconstruction.
  • The reconstruction features music and voice lines from the Halo games, as well as contextual notes from the video's author C3 SABERTOOTH.
  • SABERTOOTH has created other storyboard reconstructions as well, including videos that cover the rest of Halo 2's story as well as Halo: Combat Evolved's.

Around two years ago, former Bungie developer Lee Wilson publicly shared hundreds of the storyboards that he created during the development of each of the three original Halo games, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3. Though many of the story beats in these boards lined up with what made it into the final products, several of them were also cut or reworked as the developers refined the narratives and settled on directions to go in.

Some of the biggest insights provided by Wilson's storyboards were related to the ending of Halo 2. While the story concluded on a cliffhanger with the Master Chief following the Prophet of Truth to Earth in the official game, the prototyped version of the narrative ended very differently. In it, the war between the Covenant and the UNSC is wrapped up in what is essentially a cut down version of Halo 3's story, with the Arbiter (called "the Dervish" at the time) discovering that humans were the direct descendants of the Forerunners and that the Forerunners had used a genetic template to guide the evolutionary process on Earth. The Prophet of Truth had already discovered this, and in an effort to wipe out all life in the galaxy and insert himself into the template to rebuild the galaxy in his image, chose to instigate civil war within the Covenant and attempted to fire the Halo rings before ultimately being stopped.

It's a wild ending for Bungie's Halo games that's much different than what we got in Halo 2 and Halo 3, and ever since it was revealed in these storyboards, many fans have wondered what it would look and sound like fully developed. Now, thanks to the efforts of a talented Halo fan by the name of C3 SABERTOOTH, we have the closest thing we’ll get to an answer. SABERTOOTH has brought Halo 2's original ending to life by creating an animated reconstruction of Wilson's storyboards with Photoshop and After Effects, complete with dialogue, music, sound effects, and contextual notes between scenes. You can watch it below:

SABERTOOTH's animation is incredibly smooth and detailed, making it a joy to watch. I also love that existing soundtracks and dialogue were used, which made the reconstruction's presentation feel undeniably Halo-like. Unused Halo 2 Arbiter voice lines found within Halo: Reach DLC files were included, too, adding weight to his dramatic discovery of the Forerunners' origins.

Overall, it's simply awesome that someone took Wilson's storyboards and essentially turned them into a detail-rich animated short film, giving us a close look at what could have, in an alternate timeline, been Halo 2's ending. I highly recommend checking out the rest of SABERTOOTH's channel if you like what you saw, as they've created reconstructions for the rest of Halo 2's story as well as Halo: Combat Evolved's.

I also recommend playing through Halo: The Master Chief Collection if you want to experience the final versions of the games that the original storyboards were made for. It bundles all of the pre-Xbox One era Halo games into one package, making it one of the best Xbox games available and a must-have for any Halo fan.

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection

The Master Chief Collection is a collection of every Halo shooter from the pre-Xbox One era, offering incredible value at an incredible price. It also offers players several new unlockable items for those games, including new armor pieces, character accessories, and more.

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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.