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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.
A dog-sized macro virus resembling a real-world antlion, the Sacktick was to be the creation of an alien warrior race, a predecessor to the Combine,[a] which utilized weaponized alien creatures. Sackticks were to be delivered by missile-like pods in numbers, generally to weaken an enemy position before an assault. The creature's mouthparts were to be able to splay open as part of a threat display. In addition, it was to make a clicking buzzing noise while bobbing its body up and down against the surface it would be attached to. The sack (the black growth on its underside) was to be kept curled under the tick's body. Once fed, the sack was to unfurl behind the legs and be dragged behind the tick. Concept art shows the creature bearing markings said to denote its delivery vehicle and task group. These markings are similar to the abstract insignia seen on other Combine units.
The Sacktick was to seek out organic hosts, on which it would feed and use as food for the next generation of ticks. Multiple organisms of this species would leap onto and attach to a person, draining them of blood until they died. In this way, a small number of ticks dropped into an enemy stronghold could multiply and create an overwhelming number of individuals.
As heard in the playable Half-Life 2 leak sound files, Sackticks were to be launched at the Borealis, killing much of the crew in the process. The ship's surviving engineer, Odell, was to explain to Gordon that he determined the creatures were unable to withstand the freezing temperatures, so he shut off the Borealis' generator and let the vessel ice over in order to wipe out most of them.
The Sacktick's delivery method by missile-like pods is the only element to have made it into the final game, recycled as the Headcrab Shell.
Behind the scenes
As speculated by David Speyrer, the Sacktick was cut during the development of Half-Life 2 likely due to a change of direction in the game's design and the fact that the creature hadn't shown itself to be "fun enough to preserve." It is known that a model for the Sacktick existed and was used as a placeholder for crows during their development.
Concept art with Ted Backman's descriptions.
List of appearances
- At this point in the game's development, the game's antagonist force, which ultimately became the Combine, had yet to be fleshed out or even named.