In the half-life series, post seven-hour war, earth or at least part of it is beset by an alien force the combine, who use a modified transhuman creature that serves as the main enemy.

How are they made? Bred? Forcibly changed in some kind of factory, or is it more of a chemical process?


4 Answers 4


Assuming you mean the human-based soldiers when you refer to "Combine soldiers" (properly known as "Overwatch soldiers") - they are originally fully human, who are then modified with bio-tech and mechanical augmentation and "programmed".

It seems that there is an induction process - firstly, humans are recruited into the Civil Protection forces. These guys have little in the way of augmentation (allowing rebels to infiltrate the forces easily enough).

Although it's not made clear in the games, there do seem to be incentives for agreeing to the augmentations required to make you an Overwatch soldier - privileges that are also taken away as punishment for bad performance. You get to see some of the processing facility where augmentation is undertaken at Nova Prospekt in the game - it would appear that this is also not always voluntary.

There's also a "stripped" model of an Overwatch soldier hidden in the game libraries - it shows some of the modification done:



The Combine soldiers are created through a mix of bioengineering and artificial implants, among other things.

  • 2
    I was under the impression that that was wrong: The combine soldiers are called so because they combine alien and human biology/tech. Because they make up the majority of the force on earth the invading force is known as The Combine, even though it's orchestrated by Overseers etc. I'm happy to be corrected though.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 13:51
  • Well, you may be right. The term 'Combine' can probably be extended to cover the soldiers of the Combine as well as the advisors.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 14:12
  • No. You miss understand my point. The term 'Combine' is (falsely) extended over the advisors who do not 'combine' anything, because of their association with their creations the combine soldier.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 14:48
  • But it's not Com-bine, as in combination, it's Com-bine, as in combine harvester. I'm getting all this information from the wiki.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 14:57
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    Rereading that, however, I believe you're right about Combine being the name of the entire empire, not just the Advisors. However, the Advisors are definitely included in the Combine. The Combine soldiers on Earth are actually The Transhuman Arm of the Combine Overwatch.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 15:08

They are most likely modified humans, as seen in one of the monitors in Nova Prospekt, their bodies are largely altered. To pureferret: the combine soldiers on Earth are all transhumans, just like the other synths; they would be used to conquer other planets if not for the rebellion. The whole combine garrison of Earth is called the Overwatch and the transhumans are Overwatch soldiers.


Combines were once human but went under intensive cybernetic and genetic surgery

  • 2
    Do you have a citation for this?
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 19:52

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