To put it simply, this is when a work that is part of a series or franchise is re-tooled into a standalone work, with most or all signs of its heritage completely erased. This is, for all intents and purposes, the exact opposite of a DolledUpInstallment.

Just to be clear on this, here is what this trope is '''not''' about:

* This trope is '''not''' about being a CanonDiscontinuity or an AlternateUniverse. If an author writes a novel about ''Franchise/SherlockHolmes'' in a dystopian future, and later declares that novel never happened, it's still a Sherlock Holmes novel. If he rewrites that book so that it no longer has anything to do with the Sherlock Holmes mythos, ''then'' it's this trope.
* This trope is '''not''' about having a simple title change or partial omission. If a work is called "Sherlock Holmes Without a Problem," and is later renamed to simply "Without a Problem" (or is simply called that in the first place) but still stars Sherlock Holmes, it's still a Sherlock Holmes story. If Sherlock Holmes and any recognizable characters from his universe are renamed and re-written into completely different characters, ''then'' it's this trope.
* With some exceptions, this trope is '''not''' about an idea changing into a completely different idea during the creative process. The only exception is if an idea started out as an installment of a franchise and turned into either something original, or an installment of a completely different franchise. If an author starts out writing a story about cats but it ends up being about cyborgs, it's ''not'' this trope. But if an author starts out writing a Sherlock Holmes book and winds up turning it into something original, it ''is'' this trope. If he starts out writing Sherlock Holmes and then turns it into a James Bond book, it ''is'' also this trope. Yes, this trope ''can'' overlap with DolledUpInstallment, and often does--see the examples.

If you're not sure if an example counts, read on and ask yourself if it fits in with the ones below.

Subtrope of WhatCouldHaveBeen. Compare SerialNumbersFiledOff, SpiritualAdaptation, AscendedFanfic. Sometimes overlaps with MarketBasedTitle. A SubTrope of DerivativeDifferentiation.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/EagleRiders'' was actually a mash-up of ''Gatchaman II'' and ''Gatchaman F''. Because [[Creator/SabanEntertainment Saban]] did not own the rights to either of the previous ''[[Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman Gatchaman]]'' adaptations (''Anime/BattleOfThePlanets'' and ''[[Anime/GForceGuardiansOfSpace G-Force]]'') they had to pitch their dub as an unrelated series.
* ''Anime/GearFighterDendoh'' is partially based on ''Saint of Braves Baan Gaan'', the proposed ninth installment of the ''Anime/BraveSeries'' and a sequel to both ''Anime/GaoGaiGar'' and ''Anime/{{Betterman}}''.

* ''{{ComicBook/Watchmen}}:'' Originally written by Creator/AlanMoore to make use of CharltonComics's superheroes after DC Comics aquired the rights to them, but because they wanted to incorporate said heroes into the mainstream DC Universe, the characters were [[SerialNumbersFiledOff changed into original characters in a reality of their own]], e. g. Comicbook/CaptainAtom to Doctor Manhattan, ComicBook/TheQuestion to Rorschach, ComicBook/BlueBeetle to Nite-Owl, ComicBook/PhantomLady to Silk Spectre etc.
* Also in the 1980s, ''ComicBook/KravensLastHunt:'' Based on a storyline involving WonderMan and the Grim Reaper that J. M. [=DeMatteis=] submitted to Marvel and was rejected. He then reworked it into a Franchise/{{Batman}} vs. TheJoker project that got nixed because ''ComicBook/TheKillingJoke'' was already in production. Next [=DeMatteis=] developed the "return from the grave" story into one about Batman and Hugo Strange, but that also was rejected by DC. Finally he reworked and expanded the story for Marvel into the epic we know today featuring ComicBook/SpiderMan, his wife Mary Jane, Kraven the Hunter and Vermin, which was published in 1987.
* ''ComicBook/ContestOfChampions'' was originally written and drawn as a tie-in to the 1980 [[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Summer Olympics]], following a similar tie-in that featured ComicBook/SpiderMan and Comicbook/TheIncredibleHulk at the Winter Games. Unexpectedly, Creator/JimmyCarter decided to boycott the Summer Games that year, resulting in the crossover being shelved. It was eventually revived two years later, with the plot heavily {{ReTool}}ed to omit all references to the Olympics.
* ''ComicBook/AstroCity: The Dark Age'' started life as a sequel to Kurt Busiek's ''ComicBook/{{Marvels}}'' series. It was originally to be called called ''Cops & Robbers'', and then ''Crime & Punishment''. When Marvel ended up not going ahead, Kurt retooled the story to take place in Astro City rather than the ComicBook/MarvelUniverse.
* Creator/RobLiefeld's ''ComicBook/{{Youngblood}}'' was originally a proposed ''Comicbook/TeenTitans'' spin-off, explaining Shaft's "[[{{Expy}} coincidental similarities]]" to ComicBook/GreenArrow's sidekick Arsenal. In addition to Shaft being an obvious Arsenal stand-in, Diehard was supposed to have been a S.T.A.R. Labs android, and Vogue would have been a new version of the Harlequin. Additionally, the characters Brahma, Photon, Combat, and Cougar were recycled from a rejected ''YoungAvengers'' pitch Liefeld created with Jim Valentino during the 90's.
* Liefeld's ''Fighting American'' series started off as a way for the artist to reuse some unfinished artwork and plots from his short-lived tenure on the ComicBook/HeroesReborn ''ComicBook/CaptainAmerica'' series. This resulted in the Fighting American becoming even ''more'' of an {{Expy}} of Cap, which in turn led to Marvel taking legal action against Liefeld.
* JackKirby's character ''Captain Glory'' began as an unused ComicBook/CaptainAmerica design Marvel had asked him to create in the event that the company lost ownership of the character.
* Duncan, the main protagonist of ''Comicbook/{{Firebreather}}'', was originally created as a member of Marvel's ComicBook/YoungAvengers. When that plan fell through, the character was simply {{Retool}}ed for use at Creator/ImageComics. Had he been published at Marvel, the Firebreather would have been the son of Fin Fang Foom.
* ComicBook/{{Storm}} and Nightcrawler from the Comicbook/XMen were recycled from a pitch Dave Cockrum had for some new ''Comicbook/LegionOfSuperheroes'' characters. Nightcrawler ended up being pretty much the same, but the Storm prototype had an afro and was called Trio. Silkie from ''The Futurians'' was also conceived as a member of the X-Men before rights issues got in the way.
* Many of the characters and plots from ''ComicBook/{{Hardware}}'' were originally part of a ComicBook/LukeCage series Creator/DwayneMcDuffie had unsuccessfully pitched to Marvel Comics.
* Likewise, [=McDuffie=]'s ''Deathlok'' series was originally supposed to be a licensed ''Franchise/RoboCop'' comic book.
* Creator/FrankMiller's graphic novel ''ComicBook/HolyTerror'' was originally going to be a ComicBook/{{Batman}} story in which Batman fights Islamic terrorists, but Miller decided that it would work better with an original character.
* ''Comicbook/{{DEMO}}'' was spawned from unused ideas Creator/BrianWood came up with for ''Comicbook/{{NYX}}'' back when he was going to be the writer for that book.
* Creator/AlejandroJodorowsky turned his unproduced script for ''Film/{{Dune}}'' into ''ComicBook/TheSagaOfTheMetabarons:'' elements such as the Hooker-Nuns Shabda-Oud are a clear {{Expy}} forthe Bene Gesserit, with the same kind of genetic agenda.
* Creator/NeilGaiman originally pitched ''Comicbook/{{The Sandman}}'' to Creator/GeorgeRRMartin as part of the ''Literature/{{Wildcards}}'' universe. Martin passed because of Gaiman's lack of writing credits, and the idea was eventually revived at Creator/VertigoComics.
* Similar to the Watchmen example above, ''Comicbook/{{Wanted}}'' was originally going to be a reboot of DC's Secret Society of Supervillains, but was converted into a stand-alone work when Creator/{{Mark Millar}} decided he wanted to go {{Darker and Edgier}}.

* The Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme movie ''Film/{{Cyborg}}'' was originally going to be a sequel to ''Film/MastersOfTheUniverse'' (though as TroubledProduction shows, the story is complicated).
** It also utilized props, sets and costumes from a ''SpiderMan'' movie that was almost made before Cannon lost the rights.
* ''Film/DieHard'' is a weird case: it was based on a novel titled ''Nothing Lasts Forever''. Since the predecessor novel, ''The Detective'', which was already turned into a film (starring FrankSinatra), it was written as a sequel to ''The Detective'', but when Sinatra turned it down, it was rewritten as a stand-alone film. It was also briefly considered to be used for a ''Film/{{Commando}}'' sequel. ''Film/DieHardWithAVengeance'' started life as ''Film/LethalWeapon4'', making it a Divorced Installment ''and'' a DolledUpInstallment.
* ''Film/TearsOfTheSun'' started life as ''Die Hard 4'', but became stand-alone when it was decided it was too different from the other movies. Bruce Willis said John [=McClane=] should die at the end of ''Die Hard 4''.
* ''Film/TheCollector'' started as a ''Franchise/{{Saw}}'' prequel.
* In what is probably the most bizarre case of this happening in film history, the plot of ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' was originally meant to be used as a second sequel to [[Creator/RomanPolanski Roman Polanski's]] ''Film/{{Chinatown}}''. (which kinda crosses with DolledUpInstallment, as the film is [[WhoCensoredRogerRabbit based on a book]])
* ''Film/HighSchoolMusical'' was originally written as ''Film/{{Grease}} 3'' (which explains a lot), with Sharpay being Rizzo's daughter.
* ''Film/ShockTreatment'' was the final incarnation of a horrendous script titled ''Rocky Horror Shows His Heels,'' which would have been a very direct sequel to ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow.'' In the end, the plot was changed entirely while many of the songs remained, though the final film bears no resemblance and only weak connections to ''Rocky Horror''.
* ''{{Film/Colombiana}}'' was originally written as a sequel to ''Film/TheProfessional'' that would have focused on Mathilda. Apparently, Luc Besson couldn't get NataliePortman interested and it was rewritten into a standalone film.
* ''Film/SnowDay'' was originally written as a [[Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete Pete & Pete]] movie, but Nickelodeon took so long to approve the script that by the time they gave the go-ahead to start filming, the actors who played Pete & Pete themselves (Michael Maronna and Danny Tamberelli) were too old for their roles (and as well a good part of the kids cast), resulting in the change of characters.
* ''Train'' (essentially ''Film/{{Hostel}}'', [[RecycledInSpace on a]] [[ThrillerOnTheExpress train]]) was initially going to be a remake of ''Film/TerrorTrain''.
* ''Camp Fear'' was originally slated to be a sequel to ''Film/CheerleaderCamp''.
* The HongKong movie ''[[ The Avenging Fist]]'' started out as a LiveActionAdaptation of ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}''. A lot of the source material's influence remains, though.
* ''Film/{{Chaos}}'' was going to be a remake of ''Film/TheLastHouseOnTheLeft'', though the change was so last minute that both films are still extremely similar.
* ''Ghosts of Goldfield'' was originally going to be the fourth ''Film/UrbanLegend'' film, but was released independently of the series at the last minute.
* ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl'' was originally a ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'' film, but the license never worked out. The similarities are obvious, just to start with the plot: An unlikely hero rescues his political love interest (the governor in ''MI'', the governor's daughter in ''POTC'') from an undead pirate. Many of the locations from the games were recycled as well. Examples: the Voodoo Lady and her shack accessible by coffin became the Tia Dalma and hers, and the town cobbled together from various ships was taken directly from ''[=LeChuck's=] Revenge''.
** There's actually a circular dependency here. Monkey Island was originally inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. And then it came full circle when the first POTC movie took elements from Monkey Island.
* ''Film/KullTheConqueror'' was originally going to be the third Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian movie, but Arnold Schwarzenegger was unavailable at the time. Amusingly, this is the reverse situation of the first Conan story, see under literature for that one.
* ''Film/{{Eurotrip}}'' was originally supposed to be a sequel to ''RoadTrip'' before it was realized that other than the concept, had little to do with the previous film. ''Road Trip'' would later get an InNameOnly sequel in the form of ''Road Trip: Beer Pong'' (which is more of an American college version of ''Film/{{Beerfest}}'').
* ''Film/{{Prometheus}}'' was originally planned as a prequel to the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' series until Ridley Scott decided to rewrite it as a stand-alone story (it's still set in the ''Alien'' universe, but has very little ties to the actual storyline).
** However, the ''Alien'' connection is so obvious that it's nearly impossible to not think of it as a prequel.
* ''Film/MinorityReport'' was originally written as a sequel to ''Film/TotalRecall1990'', with Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger in the leading role. Both films are based on short stories by Creator/PhilipKDick, but the original works do not share a protagonist.
* ''Film/MrSmithGoesToWashington'' was supposed to be a sequel to ''Film/MrDeedsGoesToTown'', but when Creator/GaryCooper was unavailable, Creator/FrankCapra rewrote the film as a vehicle for Creator/JamesStewart.
* UniversalHorror film ''The Climax'' was initially written as a sequel to their 1943 version of ''Film/PhantomOfTheOpera1943''.
* When VinceOffer started making another SketchComedy AnthologyFilm, he announced it as ''Underground Comedy 2010'' to be a sequel to his 1999 film '' The Underground Comedy Movie''. When it actually got released in 2013, it was titled ''InAPPropriateComedy''.
* ''Disney/TheRescuers'' was originally going to be sort of a sequel to ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians'', with Cruella [=DeVil=] as the villain, but they decided to replace Cruella with an original villain.
** Likewise, ''Disney/OliverAndCompany'' was originally going to have Penny from ''The Rescuers'', but they replaced her with Jenny.
* The 1955 film serial ''The Adventures of Captain Africa'' was intended as a sequel to the 1943 serial ''Film/{{The Phantom|1943}}'', but Columbia lost the film rights to the Phantom and had to substitute an "original" masked jungle hero.
* ''Film/DistrictNine'' was originally going to be a ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' movie, before it became apparent that the final production budget would be in excess of $250 million; Universal had paid $5 million for the option alone, and that was only after Microsoft had asked for $10 million and 15% of the gross; they settled for 10%. 20th Century Fox even came on board as a partner, but eventually the production was cancelled because Jackson and executive producer Peter Schlessel refused to cut their percentage points in the gross, reducing the profit margin for the studios even further. Peter Jackson allocated $40 million to Neill Blomkamp both as way of a good will gesture, and to salvage all the work that had already been done. Many of the props used in the film were repurposed from their original intended use.
* ''Film/VantagePoint'' was a discarded script for a ''Series/TwentyFour'' movie.
* The first ''Film/{{Final Destination|1}}'' was originally written as a spec script for an episode of ''Series/TheXFiles''.

* ''Literature/LifeTheUniverseAndEverything'' is a Divorced Installment ''and'' a DolledUpInstallment -- originally a movie script called "Series/DoctorWho and the Krikketmen", it was divorced from ''Who'' and dolled up as the second season of the ''Guide'' TV series. When that got canceled in pre-production, it finally became the third ''Guide'' novel.
* Similarly, ''Literature/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'' was originally "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS17E6Shada Shada]]", a ''Series/DoctorWho'' script by Adams that was never completed due to a BBC strike (and has since seen other adaptations). The plot also contains elements of "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS17E2CityOfDeath City of Death]]" (also by Adams), a serial that ''was'' filmed.
* At the time of his death, Adams was considering transforming ''Literature/TheSalmonOfDoubt'', which in the existing draft is a Literature/DirkGently novel, into a ''Hitchhiker's'' novel.
* The first Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian story, "Literature/ThePhoenixOnTheSword", is a rewrite of a rejected Literature/{{Kull}} story, "By This Axe I Rule". Many passages are word for word identical.
* Project Itoh's novel ''Genocidal Organ'' was based on a ''VisualNovel/{{Snatcher}}'' fan-fiction he wrote.
* The Creator/JTEdson novel ''Blonde Genius'' was originally written as a screen treatment for a ''Film/StTrinians'' movie.
* Creator/MercedesLackey's short story "Fiddler Fair" was originally written to fit the world of Ithkar for a shared-universe anthology, before being rewritten into the springboard for the ''Literature/BardicVoices'' series.
* ''Literature/FiftyShadesOfGrey'' started as an erotic ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' fanfic titled ''Master of the Universe''.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The third ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' show, ''Series/BattleFeverJ'', was originally planned to star a Japanese counterpart of Marvel's ComicBook/CaptainAmerica character named "Captain Japan", following up on the success of Toei's live-action ''[[Series/SpiderManJapan Spider-Man]]'' series.
* ''Series/TheFollowing'' was based on a discarded screenplay for ''Film/{{Scream 3}}''. Both the series and the movie franchise are produced by Kevin Williamson.
* ''Series/TheLAComplex'' was split off from the ''Franchise/{{Degrassi}}'' franchise, presumably so it could be sold to US networks outside the Viacom group.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/ProWrestlingZero1 is named for the fact it was started in 2001. The original concept of the promotion was called "Pro Wrestling Zero", as it was conceived at least a year earlier, and was intended to be an extension of Wrestling/NewJapanProWrestling dedicated to a purer strong-style product and commanded by Wrestling/ShinyaHashimoto. However, with bookers Wrestling/AntonioInoki and Riki Choshu shutting down the idea, and especially after Inoki mistreated Hashimoto's career to build Wrestling/NaoyaOgawa's, Shinya left the company and started the company as an independent promotion, capitalizing on it to rebuild his career.
* Pro Wrestling El Dorado was born under the Toryumon flag, very much like its antecessor Dragondoor, but before its debut show they declared the promotion as independent from Toryumon or any of its marks.
* Perros Del Mal Producciones was drawn up as an idea to make a Perros Del Mal angle in Wrestling/{{CMLL}} more believable to audiences by having the PowerStable run their own promotion. Disputes lead to PDM started up a year late and having nothing to do with CMLL however.[[/folder]]

* The ''Franchise/SpiderMan: Techno Wars'' and ''Franchise/XMen: Mutant Armor'' lines were actually {{ReTool}}ed Iron Man figures leftover from his short-lived [[WesternAnimation/IronMan animated series]].
* The Mutant figures from ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' were retooled prototypes from the cancelled ''{{Animorphs}}'' line.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The TurboGrafx16 platformer ''VideoGame/KeithCourageInAlphaZones'' was originally one of many games based on then-popular anime series ''Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru'' (''Spirit Hero Wataru''). The story went from being about a kid pulled into a spirit realm to battle demons, to being about an adult who is part of a military organization that fights aliens. However, the game's title screen still shows a {{Sunrise}} copyright, perhaps because only the ExcusePlot was actually altered.
* One of the most successful examples: ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' started as a sequel to ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' (it was one of the 4 initial versions of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4''). Capcom turned it into an original game after realizing it was straining credibility to have an action-packed hack-and-slash as the next entry in what was then still a SurvivalHorror franchise. ''{{VideoGame/Onimusha}}'' also started as a prototype of Resident Evil 4. Only 1 prototype was abandoned.
* The Franchise/WonderBoy games were developed by Westone and published by Creator/{{Sega}}. While Westone owned the rights to the programming of each game, Sega owned the rights to the title and character designs, and as a result Creator/HudsonSoft was forced to graphically modify and rename each game when they got the license to work on ports for non-Sega platforms. The only exception was ''VideoGame/WonderBoyIIIMonsterLair'', which remained unchanged when it was ported to the TurboGrafxCD, though "Wonder Boy" was dropped from the title in the US.
** The original ''VideoGame/WonderBoy'' itself was remade for the NES as ''VideoGame/AdventureIsland'' (with Hudson's spokesman/gaming expert Toshiyuki Takahashi serving as the model for the new protagonist Takahashi Meijin, [[DubNameChange also known as Master Higgins]]), which inspired its own series of sequels independently developed by Hudson for the NES, Super NES, Game Boy, and the [=TG16=].
** ''VideoGame/WonderBoyInMonsterLand'' was remade for the Japanese PC Engine as ''Bikkuriman World'', a licensed game based on the ''Bikkuriman'' series of trading stickers.
*** There was also a Famicom version of ''Monster Land'' by Jaleco titled ''Saiyuki World''. This version inspired its own sequel (''Saiyuki World II''), which was localized for the NES under the name of ''Whomp 'Em'' and had its ''Journey to the West'' motif replaced with a Native American one.
** ''VideoGame/WonderBoyIIITheDragonsTrap'' was remade as ''Dragon's Curse'' for the [=TurboGrafx 16=]. The PC Engine version of said game was curiously enough released under the name of ''Adventure Island'', the same name that Hudson's own ''Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima'' series is known as outside Japan.
** ''Wonder Boy in Monster World'' became ''Dynastic Hero'' on the [=TurboGrafx CD=] and had all the original characters replaced with bug people.
** Outside the ''Wonder Boy'' series, Hudson Soft also ported the Sega/Westone arcade BeatEmUp ''Riot City'' to the [[TurboGrafx16 Turbo CD]] under the name of ''Riot Zone'' (or ''Crest of Wolf'' in Japan) with different player characters, while ''Blood Gear'' (a mecha-themed action game) was originally planned as a sequel to ''Aurail''.
* ''VideoGame/DecapAttack'' was originally a tie-in to the anime ''MagicalHat'' in its Japanese version. The localization team didn't feel like paying the licensing fees for an obscure and unimported anime series, so the graphics and story were redone from scratch.
* Several games released by Bandai for the NintendoEntertainmentSystem were anime {{Licensed Game}}s in Japan that were released overseas in disguised form:
** ''Dragon Power'' was originally a ''DragonBall'' game. At the time, ''Dragon Ball'' was not well-known in the United States. (However, the game was also translated to French with the ''Dragon Ball'' license intact.) Bandai tried to change it into a more generic ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest'' game and while ''Journey to the West'' itself is not well known in America, unlike ''Dragon Ball'', it is public domain. (They didn't do a very good job at it, incidentally; Bulma, Oolong, and Yamcha, among other characters, all kept their original designs, while Puar became [[PinkGirlBlueBoy pink]] but was otherwise unchanged.)
** ''Chubby Cherub'' was originally a game based on the anime ''Obake no Q-Taro''. Few changes were made to the game aside from replacing Q-Taro with a cherub.
** ''Ninja Kid'' (not to be confused with the UPL UsefulNotes/ArcadeGame) was a similar alteration of ''Manga/GeGeGeNoKitaro: Youkai Dai Makyou''.
* ''Black Belt'', a side-scrolling [[BeatEmUp beat-'em-up]] for the UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem, is a localization of a ''[[FistOfTheNorthStar Hokuto no Ken]]'' game for the Mark III in which the graphics were altered to remove all traces of the original license. Kenshiro was renamed Riki and his blue vest and jeans outfit was replaced by a white karate gi, while all of the other characters and backgrounds were modified as well, changing the game's locations from post-apocalyptic deserts and towns to modern day temples and cities.
** The Japanese UsefulNotes/MegaDrive sequel, ''Hokuto no Ken: Shin Seikimatsu Kyūseishu Densetsu'', was released overseas as ''Last Battle: Legend of the Final Hero'', but the changes made during the localization were lazier by comparison to the first game. All the sprites were recolored and the names were changed, but the character designs remained almost identical and the seemingly nonsensical script (which consisted mainly of out-of-context dialogue transcribed verbatim from the manga) was a word-to-word translation of the original, aside for a few minor changes. Gore was also removed for the overseas release.
* Sega also made two video games based on the manga ''Kujaku-Oh'' (''Manga/PeacockKing'', also known as ''Spirit Warrior''): one for the UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem and a sequel for the UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis. The Master System original came out in America as ''Spellcaster'' and the Genesis sequel came out as ''Mystic Defender,'' in both cases having all the ''Peacock King'' elements replaced with wholly new storylines and characters.
* ''Street Combat'' for the Super NES was originally a ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' game in which you played as either male or female Ranma and battled the rest of the anime cast. The U.S. version turned Ranma into a mulleted soldier named Steven (female Ranma was Steven in street clothes, while male Ranma was Steven in PoweredArmor), and the Ranma cast with all sorts of things (Kodachi, for example, became a ''clown''). This was averted with the sequel, which was brought to the U.S. as ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf: Hard Battle''.
* ''VideoGame/ThunderForce IV'' for the UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis was released in America was ''Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar.'' Not only the spelling of this was odd, as two previous games in the series had been released internationally under the ''Thunder Force'' title, and ''Thunder Force IV'' came out under its actual title in Europe.
* One of the original concept for ''FightingForce'' was to make it a 3D sequel to the ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage'' series (and indeed, the [[ leaked Saturn prototype]] has much more overt similarities to SOR, such as Hawk looking like Axel), but Sega pulled the deal for an unknown reason and the game became its own thing.
* The WorkingTitle of ''VideoGame/FinalFight'' was ''StreetFighter '89''. According to producer Yoshiki Okamoto, he was originally commissioned to work on a sequel to the first'' Videogame/StreetFighter'', but he wanted to make a side-scrolling [[BeatEmUp beat-'em-up]] after being inspired by the success of ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon''. When it was obvious that the resulting product resembled nothing like the original ''Street Fighter'', the game was renamed ''Final Fight''. Despite this, many of the characters from ''Final Fight'' later crossed their way into the ''Street Fighter'' series and other Capcom fighting games (including a spin-off of its own titled ''Final Fight Revenge'').
* ''VideoGame/MetalBlack'' was originally envisioned as a sequel to the ''VideoGame/{{Darius}}'' series, with the plot being that the heroes return to Darius only to find it devastated by the activities of Belser. But VideoGame/{{Taito}} executives thought the plot was depressing and it was retooled into being a separate game. Its heritage can be seen in the many fish-likes enemies, and the whole beam-dueling gimmick would be picked up and expanded in ''G-Darius''. ''Metal Black'' was then re-wed to Taito's earlier ShootEmUp ''VideoGame/GunFrontier'' (even being referred to as ''Gun Frontier 2'' in the opening), despite having nothing to do with it.
* An inversion: Natsume's side-scrolling action game ''VideoGame/{{Shatterhand}}'' for the NES was first released in Japan as a LicensedGame for the Famicom based on the ''Franchise/MetalHeroes'' series ''Series/TokkyuuShireiSolbrain''. However, the ''Solbrain'' version, despite being released first, is actually the modified version, not ''Shatterhand''. Angel, a subsidiary of Bandai, agreed to cover the publishing costs for Natsume under the condition that they could modify the game to promote one of Toei's superheroes.
* ''VideoGame/RedFaction'' was originally conceived as the [[{{Vaporware}} cancelled]] ''VideoGame/{{Descent}} 4''. Some elements were carried over, such as the textures, the protagonist's name (Parker) and [[UnexpectedGameplayChange the jet fighter combat level]].
* ''VideoGame/JourneyToSilius'' started development as a game based on ''Film/TheTerminator'', but was reworked into a stand-alone title when Sunsoft's license expired.
* Creator/{{Sunsoft}} also started work on a ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' game for the NES (following their success with the ''VideoGame/{{Batman|Sunsoft}}'' games), but was later re-tooled into a CaptainErsatz called ''Sunman'' for some reason or other (they did release a ''Superman'' game for the UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis). It ultimately ended up not being released in any form.
* ''Power Punch II'' was originally developed as a sequel to ''[[PunchOut Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!]]'', with the original title ''Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch''. (A beta version of ''Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch'' has since leaked out.) And no, just in case you were wondering, there is no ''Power Punch I''.
* ''[[DesertStrike Nuclear Strike]]'' had a trailer for a new installment called ''Future Strike'', which ended up being turned into the unrelated game ''Future Cop LAPD''.
* The sequel to ''VideoGame/NeedForSpeed: Shift'' dropped the ''NFS'' from the title and was titled ''Shift 2: Unleashed'' (not to be confused with the other ''VideoGame/{{Shift}} 2''.
* The first ''VideoGame/BattleTanx'' started out as a N64 port of ''[=BattleSport=]''.
* ''VideoGame/AgentUnderFire'' was originally a PS2 version of ''VideoGame/TheWorldIsNotEnough'', before it was turned into an original Bond story.
* ''Renegade'', ''SuperDodgeBall'', ''VideoGame/RiverCityRansom'' (aka ''Street Gangs''), ''Nintendo World Cup'', and ''Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge'' were all localizations of different games in the Japanese ''[[KunioKun Kunio-kun]]'' series that were westernized (or in the case of ''Nintendo World Cup'', globalized) in order to make them more marketable overseas. The UsefulNotes/NeoGeo version of ''Super Dodge Ball'', along with the NintendoDS games localized by Aksys Games, are the only games in the series where Kunio and Riki retained their Japanese identities in the overseas versions.
** The original ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'' was planned as a sequel to the original ''Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun'' (aka ''Renegade''). The change in title, setting and characters was precisely done to appeal to the western market from the get-go without the need of making a separate overseas version.
** The Super Famicom game ''Super Mad Champ'' was originally planned as a Kunio bike-racing game. Developer Almanic was the same team that worked on ''[[KunioTachiNoBanka Kunio-tachi no Banka]]'' for Technos.
* The NES game ''Destiny of an Emperor'', along with the arcade games ''Dynasty Wars'' and ''Warriors of Fate'', were all games by {{Capcom}} based on Hiroshi Motomiya's manga series ''Tenchi o Kurau'', which was loosely based on the Chinese novel ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''. While the former two kept the characters and plot mostly intact [[PublicDomainCharacter which isn't really hard to do]], ''Warriors of Fate'' removes even that and replaces everyone's names with Mongolian names.
* ''VideoGame/BattalionWars'' is a borderline example. The WorkingTitle was ''Advance Wars: Under Fire'', but Nintendo decided to change the name due to the fact that it was a very different game from the original ''Advance Wars'' and it wouldn't have made much sense to release a game named after the GameBoyAdvance on the [[UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube GameCube]] (it's still part of the ''[[VideoGame/NintendoWars Wars]]'' series though). In Japan, the game was released as ''Totsugeki! Famicom Wars''.
* ''Lunar Knights'' for the Nintendo DS is actually the overseas version of the fourth ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}}'' game (''Boktai DS''). The first two games sold poorly outside Japan due to its solar sensing gimmick and as a result, the third game didn't get an international release and Konami took out the solar sensor in the fourth game. The localization team attempted everything to distance the fourth game from the franchise by changing the title and renaming the main characters Django and Sabata into Aaron and Lucian.
* ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' was originally meant to be a licensed game based on ''Manga/{{Astroboy}}'', but they lost the license, so Capcom tried something different.
* The NES game ''Tecmo World Cup Soccer'' is actually a ''Manga/CaptainTsubasa''-themed soccer sim with Westernized character designs, likely changed because ''Captain Tsubasa'' is not licensed in the United States.
* ''VideoGame/MortalKombat1'' was originally going to be a ''Film/{{Bloodsport}}'' video game, but ended up as an original property. This can be seen in Johnny Cage, a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed version of Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme.
* ''VideoGame/ProjectSnowblind'' was originally going to be ''VideoGame/DeusEx: Clan Wars''. It was changed to be a SpiritualSuccessor to ''Deus Ex'' when that game's own sequel ''[[VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar Invisible War]]'' sold poorly.
* A persistent rumor has it that ''Lady Stalker'' was originally going to be a ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' GaidenGame based around Alena from ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIV'', but was quickly made into an unrelated game when the license was lost partway through development. The rumor has strong supporting evidence, including: the party being near carbon-copies of the party from Alena's chapter in ''DQIV''; a series of tomato enemies that are suspiciously similar to the ''Dragon Quest'' slimes in appearance and near-identical in mechanics, right down to having a "rotten tomato" that can inflict poison equivalent to the Babble/Bubble Slime; and some items being identical between the two games, ''down to their price''.
* The PS2 shooter ''Dragon Rage'' was planned to be a ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'' spinoff.
* After the developement of ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'', 3D Realms planned to make another side-scrolling Duke Nukem titled ''Duke Nukem Forever'' (no, not [[VideoGame/DukeNukemForever that one]].). The project was cancelled and sold to another developer, which finished and released it as ''Alien Rampage''.
* The [[UsefulNotes/AtariJaguar Jaguar]] shooter ''Hover Strike'' was originally meant to be a remake of ''VideoGame/{{BattleZone|1980}}''.
* ''Beetle Adventure Racing'' for the N64 started development as a ''VideoGame/NeedForSpeed'' game, and used the same engine as the NFS games of the time.
* The UsefulNotes/{{Commodore 64}} game ''Astérix and the Magic Cauldron'' was released in the United States as ''Ardok the Barbarian'', likely because ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' was not popular enough there to be worth licensing.
* ''Tower of Doom'' for the UsefulNotes/{{Intellivision}} was to have been the third ''[[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons Advanced Dungeons & Dragons]] Cartridge'' for the system, but it was released without the license after Mattel abandoned the game and the console midway through development; most gamers couldn't tell the difference, of course. (The later Capcom UsefulNotes/ArcadeGame ''VideoGame/DungeonsAndDragons :Tower of Doom'' is completely unrelated.)
** The two earlier [=AD&D=] games had the license stripped out for {{Compilation Rerelease}}s, appearing under their {{Working Title}}s ''Adventure'' and ''Minotaur''.
* The unreleased NES game ''Time Diver Eon Man'' by Creator/{{Taito}} started development as a sequel to ''Wrath of the Black Manta''.
* The original ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'' was reportedly a {{Popeye}} game initially, but changed due to licensing issues.
* ''Secret Weapons Over Normandy'' was apparently born out of a cancelled ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonor'' spin-off called ''Fighter Command''.
* ''VideoGame/MagicalDoropie'' was originally going to be based on ''TheWizardOfOz''. To add insult to injury, it was {{macekre}}d further into ''The Krion Conquest'' for the US market.
* ''Heavenly Guardian'' for the UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 and UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} was originally announced in Japan as ''Kiki Kai World''. Apparently the ''VideoGame/KikiKaiKai'' characters were replaced with original ones because the developer somehow lost the license.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout|1}}'' was supposed to be ''VideoGame/{{Wasteland}} 2'', but Interplay lost the rights. It's almost the same story and ''very'' close to the same setting, and it went on to become much more popular than its predecessor. It wasn't until late 2014 that ''Wasteland'' got [[VideoGame/{{Wasteland2}} an actual sequel]].
* ''VideoGame/RiseOfTheTriad'' was to have been a sequel to ''VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D''; its working title was "''Wolfenstein 3D Part II: Rise of the Triad''".
* ''VideoGame/RageOfTheDragons'', a UsefulNotes/NeoGeo fighting game by Evoga and Noise Factory, was originally intended to be a sequel to the UsefulNotes/NeoGeo version of ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'', but the developers were unable to get a hold of the rights. Thus, all the characters were turned into [[CaptainErsatz ersatzes]] of the ''Double Dragon'' cast: the Lee brothers became the ''Lewis'' brothers, while Abobo became ''Abubo''.
* After VideoGame/{{Rare}} was bought out by Microsoft, ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry'' characters were removed from two of their upcoming games for the GameBoyAdvance: ''Diddy Kong Pilot'' became ''Banjo-Pilot'', and ''Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers'' became ''[[VideoGame/ItsMrPants It's Mr Pants]]''.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TheJetsons The Jetsons: Invasion of the Planet Pirates]]'' for the SNES was retooled for its Japanese release as ''Yōkai Buster: Ruka no Daibōken'', starring the mascot character of ''Marukatsu Super Famicom'' magazine.
* ''Pax Corpus'', a 1997 [=PlayStation=] action game by Cryo Interactive, was retooled from a canceled ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'' game.
* Zig zagged with ''VideoGame/SleepingDogs'': started out as an original game, was later incorporated into the ''[[TrueCrimeStreetsOfLA True Crime]]'' franchise by Activision who later cancelled it, then it was revived by Creator/SquareEnix who turned it into an original game again.
* [[ Early design documents]] have revealed the first ''[[Videogame/TheLegendOfZeldaI Legend Of Zelda]]'' was conceptualized as a ''Videogame/MarioBros'' game.
* ''VideoGame/WiiSports'' was going to be a ''[[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]]'' sports game and the Miis were just going to be placeholders. People liked the Miis though so they were kept in the final version. A ''VideoGame/MarioSportsMix'' did get made later despite.
* ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}}'' was planned to be a ''Mario'' game at one point in its development, its idea being in part born thanks to the ''Super Mario 128'' tech demo for the UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube.
* ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}'' was born as the gameplay concept, and amongst the possibilities its developers considered was to make it a ''Mario'' [[RuleOfThree spin-off game]]. They eventually settled with making it a new IP with the shapeshifting Inklings as the protagonists instead.
* Coming full circle, ''VideoGame/CaptainToadTreasureTracker'' was originally envisioned as a ''[[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]]'' puzzle title starring Link, thanks in part to one of the main elements in the game being not having the ability to jump obstacles, which at first appeared to be out of place for a ''Mario'' title.
* Obscure Mega Drive shooter ''[[ CrossFire]]'' was originally released in Japan as ''Super Airwolf'', based off the ''Series/{{Airwolf}}'' TV series. The former edited the theme song to a [[SuspiciouslySimilarSong suspiciously similar version]] and the rest of the references to the show were removed.
* ''VideoGame/{{Trapt}}'' suffers this twice over. Not only is it a game that would have been previously localized as a ''Film/{{Deception}}'' game, but by Japanese reckoning, it's the first genuine NumberedSequel, being ''Kagero 2.'' It was instead marketed and released as a standalone title, and since it was a NonLinearSequel in the first place, this removes all franchise ties.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' was apparently planned to be either ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' or ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' during its development, but it was retooled into an original title because it was [[DarkerAndEdgier too dark]] for either franchise.
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' was originally a LicensedGame based on ''Film/{{Aliens}}'', but it spawned into its own franchise due to lack of creative freedom.
* Both the little-known RPG ''VideoGame/DivineDivinity'' by Creator/LarianStudios and the somewhat better known first installment of the HackAndSlash franchise ''VideoGame/{{Sacred}}'' by Ascaron were originally supposed to be set in the ''TabletopGame/TheDarkEye'' universe (having no connection whatsoever otherwise). The Larian game had the title ''The Lady, the Mage and the Knight'', abbreviated as LMK, which, in the German title, would have stood for ''Legenden der Magierkriege'', i.e. "legends of the Mage Wars" (the Mage Wars being a period in the history of Aventuria in the TDE setting). The precursor of ''Sacred'' was called ''Armalion'' (a powerful artefact in the TDE universe). In both cases, problems with the license prevented the projects from leaving the pre-alpha stage, but the existing code and parts of the art were used as building blocks for ''Divine Divinity'' and ''Sacred'', respectively.
* The SNES racing game ''Cyber Spin'' was originally a game based on ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula'', it was brought overseas with references of the series removed, and in the American version, the setting was changed to a futuristic UsefulNotes/FormulaOne setting.
* In its '''very''' earliest stages, ''VideoGame/TheLastOfUs'' was actually a ContinuityReboot of ''VideoGame/JakAndDaxter''. Creator/NaughtyDog decided to make it a new IP instead when they realized the ideas they liked best had nothing to do with ''Jak and Daxter''.
* The TwoAndAHalfD HackAndSlash ''Final Exam'' began life as an {{interquel}} in the ''VideoGame/{{ObsCure}}'' series of SurvivalHorror games. It was retooled into a separate game after the original developer, Hydravision Entertainment, closed its doors and reformed into Mighty Rocket Studios. However, it still has many {{Shout Out}}s to the ''[=ObsCure=]'' games, to the point where fans of that series consider it all but an unofficial sequel.
* ''Family Pinball'' was originally a [[Creator/NamcoBandai Namcot]] game in Japan, but a different publisher brought it to the U.S. as ''Rock 'n' Ball''. The Namco characters were replaced with generic equivalents, and the ''VideoGame/PacMan'' table was not only genericized but slightly altered in layout.
* ''VideoGame/YoungMerlin'' developed out of a canceled SNES version of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfKyrandia Fables & Fiends]]''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bombshell}}'' was originally conceived as ''Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction'', but a legal dispute arose over use of the ''VideoGame/DukeNukem'' intellectual property. (Specifically, Creator/GearboxSoftware said that their deal with Creator/ApogeeSoftware - the one which resulted in ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever'' finally coming out - precluded Apogee from publishing any more Duke Nukem games.) As such, Duke was replaced by Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison as as the game's protagonist.
* ''VideoGame/ThemsFightinHerds'' started out as ''VideoGame/MyLittlePonyFightingIsMagic'', a ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Friendship is Magic]]'' fangame. While still early in development, ''Fighting is Magic'' got so much attention that Hasbro sent them a Cease and Desist order. Creator/LaurenFaust liked the game, however, so she helped ReTool it into an original game about several different kinds of quadrupedal animals.
* The planned third installment of the Amiga hack-n-slash series ''Switchblade'' was completely retooled into the ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog''-style platform game ''VideoGame/{{Zool}}''. Much later, after ''Zool 3'''s second cancellation, shovelware developer DataDesignInteractive picked up the pieces and assembled the infamously horrible ''VideoGame/NinjabreadMan''.
* Creator/{{Codemasters}} distributed the Spanish UsefulNotes/ZXSpectrum game ''Phantomas'' under its original title, but distanced its sequel from it by retitling it ''Vampire''. Interestingly, ''Phantomas'' and ''Phantomas 2'' began development as unrelated but similar games, but Dinamic convinced the coders of both games to use the same main character.
* Similar to the ''Them's Fighting Herds'' example, ''VideoGame/FreedomPlanet'' started as a ''[[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Sonic]]'' fangame, but later became its own thing for commercial release. In this case, it switched over before getting a C&D.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'' is more famous for the [[DolledUpInstallment opposite trope]], but ''VideoGame/DokiDokiPanic'' actually started life as a ''Mario'' game from the beginning, only to be divorced from ''Mario'' when Fuji TV wanted a LicensedGame of their ''Yume Koujou'' promotional event. The event was a bit of a flop, and Nintendo of America needed a new Mario game since [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBrosTheLostLevels the original sequel]] had been given a no-go for being a MissionPackSequel, so they reversed the process, divorcing it from ''Yume Koujou'' and dolling it back up into a ''Mario'' game.
* ''Mickey Mouse III: Yume Fuusen'' was being localized as ''Mickey Mouse: Dream Balloon'', but licensing difficulties apparently intervened because Kemco ended up editing in their own character and releasing the game in the US as ''Kid Klown in Night Mayor World''. Indeed, every Mickey Mouse game from Kemco that wasn't published overseas by Creator/{{Capcom}} or Creator/{{Nintendo}} was modified into something else outside Japan.
* There was once a sequel to the original ''VideoGame/TheGreatGianaSisters'' in development. Due to the controversy of the original game it was cancelled and retooled into ''Hard 'N' Heavy''.