|The contents of this article have been cut.|
The subject matter of this article contains in-development information that was cut from the final version of an official and/or canonical source and appears in no other canonical source. It may also contain incomplete information since not all cut material is publicly known.
Throughout the evolution of Half-Life 2's storyline, Kraken Base is known to occupy two distinct placements in the overall plot. In both iterations, Kraken is described as an undersea Resistance research base where Elena Mossman acted as the director of the group of research scientists working there.
In one of the early incarnations of the storyline, a substantial portion of the early game would have featured the base. At this point in development, the game was planned to begin with Gordon Freeman initially standing on a bed of ice surrounded by a thick fog. The player would hear a ship bell tolling and follow it until discovering the source of the sound, the ice-locked Borealis. The player would then enter the vessel through a hole in the hull.
Eventually, after exploring the ship, the player would enter a mini submarine stored on board that would transport him to Kraken Base. There the player would meet Mossman where she ran the facility with an army of Stalkers. At some point, trouble would arise due to the treachery of one of the scientist characters. The base would be flooded, and the player would narrowly evade the disaster in an escape pod, later being rescued at the surface by the rebels. Mossman was to survive and reappear as a double agent at the end of the game with the Consul. It is possible that she was also responsible for the destruction of the base.
In another incarnation, Kraken Base would only feature prominently much further into the game, in the Arctic regions. At the beginning of the story, Gordon would briefly visit the base via the failed teleporter attempt in Kleiner's Lab, similar to the scene in the final game. Later in the storyline, Gordon was to board the Borealis which was to be under attack at the time by the Combine. The vessel's engineer, Odell, was to state that the ship was used for running supplies to an ice station and below to Kraken. When they enter a radio room, a distress call from Kraken is heard.[a] Gordon was to escape the Borealis with Odell in a mini submarine and reach the underwater base. The ensuing encounter with Mossman and eventual destruction of the base would have played out in the same manner. In this incarnation, the base was said to be located beneath the partially frozen sea in the Arctic regions northwest of City 17 near the shore of another region where the Weather Control station was to be located.
Kraken Base can be found in the WC map pack in the form of several prototype maps where it is referred to as "deep". There is also an additional folder named "deep" dated July 17, 2003, but it is empty. Visually, the base was built as a large underwater metal structure consisting of multiple levels accessible by ladders. Compartments are connected by a series of long, narrow corridors dotted with porthole windows looking outside into the sea, this part of the environment not yet having been constructed. In these prototypes, characters such as Odell and Alyx Vance are placed numerous times apparently for scale purposes. No functional gameplay has been implemented. Mossman and the teleporter equipment are not present in any version of the maps.
The earliest known version is
deep_01_011 created by John Guthrie which was last modified on January 26, 2001. It has a bay connected to the sea in which the submarine from the Borealis used by Gordon and Odell can be found. This bay connects to a tall vertical shaft which leads to a room with Odell, a citizen, and two Conscripts. There are multiple unreachable areas which were likely to be visited in other maps. These include a room with Barney Calhoun and Odell and chambers with hatches leading downwards to the sea, possibly used as airlocks for the emergency escape pods.
The second version is
proto_deep002 created by Randy Lundeen and is dated August 22, 2001. Compared to Guthrie's level, fewer areas and no ambient sounds are present. In this version, the submarine bay path was remade with a new hallway and vertical shaft, while the previous shaft was moved elsewhere. Another version of the map with texture changes can be found in
proto_deep002b. Cabinets marked as "Pyrotechnic Lockers" can be found in the base. It is possible that the player was to obtain Flare Guns from these lockers.
Kraken Base was cut from the game following major revisions to the storyline that excised the trip to the Arctic regions, including the Borealis and the Weather Control station. Elena Mossman evolved into Judith Mossman, and her teleporter sequence was shifted to Black Mesa East.
Behind the scenes
Concept art for Kraken Base created by Valve artist and level designer John Grimm reveals areas not seen in the leak. These plans outline the roles of the different sections and levels in the base. One section includes multiple research rooms where they hold humanoid specimens, possibly Stalkers, in tubes. Various life support systems to make the base self-sufficient such as carbon dioxide scrubbers, water desalinators, and oxygen tanks are located on the same level. A different section includes an infirmary, multiple communications rooms, and numerous escape pod chambers along with the pod control room. It is unknown when these images were created and thus which iteration of the storyline they were illustrated for. Grimm left Valve in April 2002.
In the sound files of the Half-Life 2 leak, full dialog for the teleportation sequence between Barney, Dr. Kleiner, and Mossman (with a placeholder voice actress) was recorded and stored in the folder
vo/kraken_teleport. According to the internal metadata, these lines were last modified in February 2002, suggesting that the location survived at least until this point in the game's development. A folder dedicated to ambient sounds meant to be used for the base is also present in
ambient/areas/kraken, some of these being used in Guthrie's prototype level.
Kraken Base is mentioned along with the Borealis in Valve's Handbook for New Employees.
List of appearances
- The audio clip,
borealis_radio, is used in the map
ai_guide1which has three copies. The earliest version is from July 25, 2002. The recording was to play in a radio room on the Borealis. It should be noted that the audio quality is low and there is no digital signature available in the file. There is also a duplicate of the sound file named
kraken_radio, found in a folder for the Hyperborea, the original name for the Borealis. This suggests the sound may be older than the map.
- WC map pack
- Half-Life 2 leak
- WC map pack (
- WC map pack (
- Marc Laidlaw Vault on ValveTime.net forums (December 20, 2012)
- Half-Life 2 Cut Content on Facepunch (April 17, 2016) (archived)
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- Valve's Handbook for New Employees on Valve's official website (2012)