Throughout a game’s development, anything can change. From the tiniest mechanic changes to large plot points, some games start development and end development almost completely differently.
In an interview performed by IGN with composer Martin O’Donnell, Halo 2’s powerful cliffhanger originally was done a bit differently.
“[T]he ending was you and the Dervish chasing the Prophet of Truth through the Ark and having a grand and glorious conclusion on Earth, finishing the fight right there,” he said. He also mentioned that the original script was fully recorded before the rewrites were made.
“We just couldn’t finish the plan, it was just impossible,” he said. “So, everything got re-jiggered, and we had the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers.”
Halo 2’s cliffhanger ended up becoming an iconic moment in many gamer’s memories, giving them a few years to mull over what would happen to Master Chief and humanity until Bungie released Halo 3.