Combine Soldier (Evolution)
The Combine Soldier is a transhuman enemy fought in Half-Life 2 and its episodes. Being the successor to Half-Life's Human Grunt, it is one of the earliest enemies conceived for the game and subsequently has one of the longest revision histories.
- 1 Concepts
- 2 Version 1: 2000
- 3 Version 2: Pre-2002
- 4 Version 3: 2002
- 5 Version 4: Leak
- 6 Version 5: Early 2004
- 7 Version 6: Retail
- 8 Version 7: Episode 2 Retail
- 9 Miscellaneous
- 10 Texture Sheet Comparison
- 11 Sounds
- 12 References
There is a large amount of art of the Combine Soldier, much of it is radically different from any versions we see in-game.
Early Suit Designs
A few early concepts show different ideas for the Combine Soldier's design. For example, the "flames" soldiers reuse the head from some metrocop concept art.
Early Color Schemes
These are from a later point, when the general design of the Combine Soldier was decided on. Some of the concepts here experiment with a different head, along with coloration and smaller body details.
It's worth noting that in Half-Life 2 Survivor, the Combine medic models make some use of the alternate head designs.
Versions 1 and 2's order is speculation. If proof comes around, change 'em!
Version 1: 2000
This single screenshot of two Combine Soldiers located in the map c1a3a_port is the earliest known in-game screenshot of Combine Soldiers. This image was found in one of Lars Linden's presentations by c.marti on 18th November 2020. This version of the Soldier bares somewhat of a similar appearance to the Pre-2002 version, but having an overall browner coloration to it, as well as a unique armband that seems to have the number 5 on it. There seems to be magazine pouches on the waist of the model similar to those of the Combine Elite, hinting that this model may have derived from the Elite or vice versa.
Version 2: Pre-2002
This is no longer the earliest version of the Combine Soldier that there are screenshots of. It still features the visibly red eyes from Version 1, and has a red arm-patch also seen later on Version 3. It has a visible finger on its hand which appears to come from an early version of Counter-Strike: Source. The helmet appears white in its e3_hydra screenshot.
Version 3: 2002
The earliest version of the Combine Soldier we have the texture for. Unlike the earlier versions, this one has a navy blue helmet, and yellow eyes.
Soldier_Stripped from the Leak appears to be from this version. The pants textures from this version are identical, and the boot textures while moderately different, are still fairly similar. Oddly, the hand textures here are recycled directly from the Gasmask Citizen.
Version 4: Leak
The first (and last) early combine soldier we have the full model of. The helmet color has been changed to black, the emblem has changed to a blue-and-brown 314, and the eyes are now a darker, reddish brown.
Version 5: Early 2004
Far further along, this version of the Combine Soldier is nearly the final, but with some differences. The armor plates are the same color as the rest of the suit, and when comparing this to the final version, it has noticeably less shading.
- Stangely, it is used instead of the final texture for the Zombine and GMod player version of the Combine Soldier.
Version 6: Retail
This is the finalized version of the Combine Soldier in Half-Life 2, varying primarily in shading and plate color from Version 5. No official screenshots are known to exist of this, as the Combine Soldier changed to Version 6 fairly late in development.
Version 7: Episode 2 Retail
This is final known version of the Combine Soldier in the Half-Life series. The the only difference between version 6 and version 7 is that version 8 has a dirt overlay in the texture sheet, to fit the outland theme of Episode 2. Apart from that, much is the same, even the shading is the same.
This early Combine Shotgunner texture was used while Episode 1 was still undergoing development under the name of "Half-Life 2: Aftermath."
Texture Sheet Comparison
We have 5 revisions in total.
The voice of the Combine Soldier also went through several iterations during the game's development.
Long theorized to be the earliest set of voice lines for the Combine Soldier, these use original voice acting with a simpler, more muffled vocoder. Their pain and death sounds appear to be processed Human Grunt sounds. Interestingly, they are split into the subfolders "far" and "near", with the only difference between them being their volume. This may be an early example of Valve experimenting with direction based sound.
These are the set of sounds used for the Combine Soldier in the 2003 leak. They appear to be Human Grunt sounds ran through a vocoder similar to the one used on the old Metropolice lines.
The Human Grunt for comparison:
Within the Combine Soldier sound folder in the leak are a set of lines that appear to be voiced by John Patrick Lowrie, the voice of the Citizen in the final game. They can be identified by the prefix "cs_". These lines are the earliest example of the Combine Soldier using coded terminology, referring to "Morts" and "Scratchers" (Presumably Zombies and Antlions) among others. Although they lack any sort of processing and are unused, the line "cs_holditthere" was to be used in the E3 2002 Hydra demo, with a simple high-pass filter applied over it.
Aside from their pain and death sounds, which are from the 2003 leak's set, the retail Combine Soldier's voice acting is entirely re-recorded. Presumably voiced by Kelly Bailey, their vocoder and terminology is also different from any previous iteration (Most notably, they now name and answer directly to the Overwatch).