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Covenant Ship was a level in Halo 2 that was going to take place after the level Cairo Station, and before the level Outskirts, on a Covenant Assault Carrier, and would have served as Commander Miranda Keyes' main introduction. This level, however, was cut due to time constraints and replaced by a cinematic that created "just as much work" for Bungie Employees.
After opening the airlock of the Cairo Station's docking bay, the player would've been blasted toward the Covenant ship and board it instead of destroying it with the bomb. This level would have involved infiltrating the Covenant ship, taking on and killing its crew. At some point the player would have faced the Drinol. Eventually, the player would steal a Wraith and end up destroying the ship by bombarding its power core with the Wraith's Plasma mortar. After this, you would free fall to the In Amber Clad, in sequence where you could look around. As mentioned by Joseph Staten, Commander Miranda Keyes and her Orbital Drop Shock Troopers would have also been on board the ship in order to help you and may have played a big role in the eventual outcome.
While developing the Halo games, Bungie, 343 Industries and Ensemble Studios have had to cut some content, such as vehicles, gameplay, and story elements, from the final products. Much of this content has been confirmed by videos and commentary in special edition DVDs, interviews with developers, and released concept art.
- The Covenant Bomb was added in order to destroy this ship without needing the level and find a reason for John-117 to open the airlock.
- Evidence of the level's existence can be found in the Halo 2 Announcement Trailer in which John is clearly seen jumping from Cairo Station without a bomb and into a Covenant Assault Carrier.