There have been many questions as to what the relation is between the Combine and Xen, and there is one, but to explain it, we must go into detail with the history of some Xen creatures, as there are telltale signs that they have had relations with the Combine.
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The Vortigaunts were slaves, at the time of the Black Mesa Incident. The original name for the entity was “monster_aslave,” and the Vortigaunts had metal bands around their wrists, suggesting their servitude. As was mentioned by “The All Knowing Vortigaunt” (an Easter Egg in Half-Life 2), the Vortigaunts were slaves to the Nihilanth before and during the Black Mesa Incident. By destroying the Nihilanth, Gordon Freeman unintentionally freed the Vortigaunts. They do not have any relation to the Combine, other than the fact that they were aware of them. “The All Knowing Vortigaunt” also mentions that the Nihilanth was a “lesser master” and that there was a “greater master.” This is an important piece of information.
Like the Vortigaunts, the Nihilanth had metal bands around its wrists. This suggests that it was also a slave at some point in its existence. Also, it has stumps for legs, suggesting that they were amputated in a very similar fashion to the Stalkers in Half-Life 2. There are also what appear to be surgical scars on its torso (this is debatable), which is even further evidence that the Nihilanth had had dealings with the Combine before. Throughout Xen, the Nihilanth also says things to Gordon that could be referring to the Combine, i.e. “Their slaves… we are their slaves… we are…”
The Combine and Their Exploits
This information does not mean that the Combine were specifically on Xen. Late last year, Doug Lombardi of Valve Software released to following information:
- The Combine were NOT on Xen
- The aliens on Xen were there because they were running from the Combine, and Xen was a temporary Refuge
- The Combine are a universe-wide threat
- The dimensional rift caused by the Black Mesa incident drew the Combine’s attention, and they were able to use it to get to Earth.
The Metro Police do not appear to be modified, however there is a piece of graffiti in Half-Life 2 that shows the evolution of Man. In the last stage, there is a picture of a Metro Cop, and you can see that on its face there are mechanical parts. However, they do not seem to be drastically enhanced, and any changes that are made are most likely to keep the soldiers from deserting or something of the like.
On the other hand, the Overwatch soldiers that one sees in Nova Prospekt are extremely altered. There is a photo of an Overwatch soldier on a Nova Prospekt television screen, and the abdomen appears to be metal, and there is a tube protruding from its stomach.
More than this cannot be said about the Combine, as more is not known at this time. For more information, you can refer to this article.