This week’s Halo Bulletin delves into one of the new enemies you may have seen, the Promethean Crawlers. The bulletin goes on to talk about the Reach fileshare being back up and running. If you watch the Crawler Animation it reminds me of a dog’s demeanor (but obviously more vicious).
Meet Your Halo 4 Enemies– Part 2: Crawlers
The Prometheans are a powerful and mysterious element of the ancient Forerunner Warrior-Servants whose forebears fell from power following the Human-Forerunner War. Some of the remaining Prometheans appear to be tasked with defending the mysterious alien world we’ve recently shown you, along with its payload of terrifying secrets and emerging threats. Much like the Covenant, the Prometheans feature a variety of different unit types, each one utilizing unique tactics, technology, and abilities to create dynamic combat scenarios unlike anything you have ever encountered in Halo before.
One of those unit types is the Crawlers.
Promethean Crawlers are impressively armed Forerunner machines, capable of both close-quarters and long-range combat. They generally travel in large packs, are engineered to ferociously hunt down and eliminate any foreign threats, and represent the most extensive and abundant “native” enemy on Requiem.
Crawlers can be spawned by Watchers, who literally conjure the Crawlers’ raw forms from the material of the planet beneath their four little feet. While Watchers protect Crawlers, Knights treat them as fodder, relentlessly spawning them at a rapid-fire rate. Crawlers act like a skirmishing unit, harassing the player at the Knight’s bidding.
While they often fulfill the role of Promethean fodder, not taking a group of Crawlers seriously would be a mistake as they work together in strategic coordination to overwhelm enemies from every possible direction. As Frankie so eloquently said at E3, killing them is like popping bubble wrap… until there’s a thousand of them. Then it’s deadly bubble wrap.
Individual Crawler types include the basic unit, a more heavily armed unit, and a deadly, long-range unit. The heavily armed variant is tougher than the basic unit and is more likely to charge in and melee attack. As far as the long-range unit goes, imagine a sniper round tearing through your visor, and you’ve got the basic notion.
The initial idea for the Crawler came from a desire to add something fresh to the Halo sandbox. We hit upon the quadruped design early on, and that visual design drove their behavior. Their movement is based off familiar quadrupeds like wolves, with a little bit of insect mixed in.
To get the Crawlers’ movement style nailed down on walls as well as on the ground, we did a fair bit of prototyping (as seen in the above video). The goal was to have something that felt recognizable at first look but quickly went in unexpected directions with its motion and abilities. Crawlers are fast on the ground, often bounding in as a pack. When they move around on wall-like structures, their legs spread out and they skitter on the surface like angry glowing laser-bugs.
When you see a Crawler, there is an initial sense of familiarity. Once they scurry up a tree, open their mouths, and release bullet-filled howls that pierce your soul along with your face, though, familiarity turns to fright as you realize these are alien creatures. And deadly ones, at that…
If you’d like to hear more from two of the people that had a hand in designing the Crawlers, check out the newest Sparkast where Systems Designer Matt Findley and Lead Animator Stephen Dyck chat with your velvet-voiced host, David Ellis, about bringing the Promethean enemy class to life.
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