Halo 2 perhaps has one of the most iconic endings in video game history, in part because of how abrupt it is. This is partially because developer Bungie never got to see through its original vision for the story's conclusion due to a tightened development timeline. Now, nearly two decades later, what looks to be the game's originally planned ending has started to surface.
Previous Bungie artist Lee Wilson has recently started uploading a number of old pieces of art from Halo 2 that seem to give us a better understanding of what the studio had planned for the game's original final chapter. In total, Wilson has uploaded a lot of art, primarily in the form of what looks to be the game's entire narrative in storyboard form. No characters have dialogue in these pieces, but you can largely see where this draft resembles (and differs) from the game's finalized story.
As for the ending in particular, it seems that there was quite a bit of content left on the cutting room floor. Some sections of the original story of Halo 2 saw the Arbiter confronting and killing the Prophet of Truth. This is something that still happened in the series, but not until Halo 3. Meanwhile, Master Chief ends up returning to Earth in this conclusion (same as he does in the follow-up entry) and helps take down the Ark. The most surprising part of this conclusion though is that it at one point featured a section where Master Chief is not wearing his armor. While the game seemingly still would have hidden his face, there was a plan to show Chief off in gear other than his iconic Spartan attire.
It's worth noting that what is being shown here in Wilson's storyboards might not have been finalized at all. Since we don't have a date tied to when this was created internally, it's hard to know what draft of the story of Halo 2 this art represents. All the same, it's a really fascinating piece of game development history that I'm glad to see coming to light.
If you'd like to get a look at the full slate of art that Wilson has uploaded, you can find all of it right here. Conversely, you can continue following all of our ongoing coverage at ComicBook.com related to all things Halo here.
What do you think about this art? And are you still saddened all of these years later that we didn't get to see Halo 2's original ending? Let me know down in the comments or message me over on Twitter at @MooreMan12 to continue the conversation.