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Combine Big Momma Pod

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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.

Combine BM Pod.jpg
Combine Big Momma Pod
General information


Used by


Game information


The Combine Big Momma Pod,[1] also known as the Big Momma Birthing Pod[2] or Birther, is a Combine device cut from Half-Life 2.


Used to create Headcrabs in huge quantities, this metallic structure was to carry a severed Gonarch birthing sack while it laid Headcrabs. The only known model has no animations and is not found in any maps.

It is possible that Gonarchs were to eventually appear on Earth and subsequently be used by the Combine as portable Headcrab "factories". The metallic structure seems to pierce the sack, making the Half-Life 2's Gonarch the only synth Headcrab creature of sorts, a "slave" Gonarch transformed in a beast of burden, in the vein of the Stalker.

The device was to appear at least in Ravenholm. As seen in some early maps and concept art, the pod was apparently air dropped on the town, where it broke through a warehouse roof and landed in a cave at the bottom of the mineshaft within the building. Referenced by Father Grigori as "the heart of evil" in an early quote,[3] the pod was likely to be the origin of the Headcrab infestation, mirroring the role of Headcrab Shells in the retail game. When discovered by the player, the pod was to act as an enemy-spawning obstacle, blocking the way out of the cave while constantly laying Classic and Fast Headcrabs, and requiring the use of the Digger to destroy the pod and proceed.[1]

In the early Ravenholm caves map (d1_town_02 in the playable Half-Life 2 leak) where the device was supposed to be encountered, three Advisors with a barrel in the middle are used as a placeholder for the pod. They cannot be killed with regular weapons and will harm the player if approached. The player must noclip to proceed to the next map since the Digger does not work in an unmodified Half-Life 2 leak.[1]


The cave originally containing the pod was recycled in the retail map d1_town_04, still having a large number of Headcrabs and many additional ones spawning in the cave's crevices, in some manner being a legacy of the cut Big Momma Pod.

Behind the scenes[edit]

While the placeholder for the pod reuses sounds from other aliens, several sounds for the Big Momma Pod were made, and can be found in the Half-Life 2 leak folder sound/ambient/areas/d1_town, all starting with pod.[1]