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Working Title
"Confusing term for story titles that don't really work at all, and thus are changed."
Doctor Who: The Completely Useless Encyclopedia

The first step in the creative process is an idea. That part is obvious. Coming up with what to call that idea can be troublesome. And if you don't have a name for it, then talking about it is a chore.

This is why a lot of things go through a number of names between production and release. The end result may be that you hear actors talk in an interview about a movie they're doing, only to find it came out under a different name all together.

Working titles can also be used defensively, allowing the creators to refer to their project without giving much away. It can help camouflage a ground-breaking project against someone else copying the idea, or sneak an anticipated sequel under the media radar until it is ready for the world to hear about it. Also can be used to get lower production costs for big sequels as locations or prop companies overcharge on big name features.

In many other cases, the working title is the originally intended title that was changed because of last-minute Executive Meddling.

Not to be confused with the British production company affiliated with Universal.

See also Market-Based Title and Censored Title (which is what some of the working titles are if they contain curse words or are otherwise considered obscene innuendo)


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica had the temporary title of "Mahou Shoujo Apocalypse Madoka Magica" before they finally decided to get rid of the Apocalypse part.

    Comicbooks 
  • Watchmen was originally called Who Killed the Peacemaker, as it was written to star characters from Charlton Comics that DC Comics had recently acquired the rights to.
  • One of the working titles for Crisis on Infinite Earths was "History of the DC Universe", which would eventually become a two-issue limited series that tells the Post-Crisis history of The DCU.
  • Fish Police was originally called Inspector Gill of the Fish Police. The original title can be seen in the Issue 0, and in some concept art in the final issue.

    Documentaries 
  • Clash of the Dinosaurs was going to be called Dino Body.
  • Dinosaur Revolution was called Reign of the Dinosaurs for most of its production, and would have received a companion-show titled Science of Reign of the Dinosaurs. These got merged to form the show that ended up on screen. The European version reinstalled Reign of the Dinosaurs as the title.
  • Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony was just known as "The Brony Doc" until late in production.
  • 1991: The Year Punk Broke, a rockumentary / concert film following Sonic Youth and Nirvana on a European tour together, had the working title of Tooth Or Hair. This was meant as a pun on Madonna's 1991 tour documentary Truth Or Dare, which was referenced several times in the film.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Anyone around at the beginning of The Lion King Adventures would know that the original title for the series was The Lion King: Friends to the End.
  • When Kira Is Justice was first published, it was known as C0's Death Note.

    Film 
  • The Toxic Avenger was filmed under the working title The Monster Hero — which gets a number of Title Drop moments, as it was changed at the last minute.
  • Ed Wood's first major movie, Glen or Glenda?, was slated to be called I Changed My Sex, as it was designed to cash in on a sex change operation that had just made the news.
  • Everyone thought that Cloverfield was just a working title. Then the movie came out under that name.
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi had "Blue Harvest" as a working title to keep the production hidden — besides from overeager fans, they really didn't want to repeat the experience of being overcharged by location managers for The Empire Strikes Back. When Family Guy made their first Star Wars special, they called it Blue Harvest.
    • It was also originally going to be named Revenge of the Jedi, changed due to a flood of bootleg merchandise with the Revenge name on it and years later retconed to having been done because revenge isn't a Jedi thing. Revenge of the Sith gave this a Call Back.
    • Attack of the Clones had the working title Jar Jar's Big Adventure, even though he isn't there nearly as much as last time.
  • The Jackie Chan movie The Medallion was originally titled Highbinders during filming. It's easy to tell by looking at the outtakes during the closing credits, since the working title is written on the clapperboard.
  • The Happening was originally titled The Green Effect, which arguably better fits its theme.
  • Earlier titles for the Wallace & Gromit film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit included The Vegeburglars and The Great Vegetable Plot.
  • The Invention of Lying was originally going to be called This Side of the Truth. Ricky Gervais' blog would indicate that changing it was a voluntary attempt to get the point across better, but that hasn't stopped people from complaining about Executive Meddling and "dumbing down" and stupid American audiences that need everything spelled out for them.
  • The two Matrix sequels were shot back to back under the codename The Burly Man. Possibly in reference, the two major Neo vs. Smith fights in the two sequels are referred to as the "Burly Brawl" and the "Super Burly Brawl".
  • October Sky is an interesting case. The working title, "Rocket Boys" — also the name of the memoir which the movie is based on — is an anagram of October Sky.
  • Subverted with Snakes on a Plane, which was only an Exactly What It Says on the Tin working title. Samuel L. Jackson liked the name so much that it he threatened to quit if they changed it, while the public reaction to it created so much viral interest that they'd have been stupid to do so anyway.
  • Live Free or Die Hard was first announced as Die Hard 4.0, tying into the films cyber-terrorism plot. When shooting actually began, 20th Century Fox announced the title would be Live Free Or Die Hard, although the film was released everywhere but America as 4.0. Director Len Wiseman and star Bruce Willis can be heard on the DVD commentary mocking the change.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler had such titles as "The Thief Who Never Gave Up", "Once...", simply "The Thief", or the wildly different and creative "The Cobbler and the Thief". The film was released after Executive Meddling under two names, "The Princess and the Cobbler" and the punny "Arabian Knight", before being released on VHS as "The Thief and the Cobbler".
    • Not to mention the early period when it was about Mulla Nasruddin, and has names such as "Nasruddin!", "The Majestic Fool" or "The Amazing Nasruddin".
  • TRON Legacy was going to be called TR2N (or possibly T2.0N). The stylized 2 can still be seen, notably when Rinzler is looking for clues by the End of Line club.
  • The Ides Of March was originally called Farragut North, after the play it's based on. The original title still gets a Title Drop a few times.
  • Woody Allen's films usually have generic working titles during production, such as "Woody Allen Fall Project" or "Woody Allen London Project". In one case, the working title simply remained and became the film's actual title: Manhattan Murder Mystery.
  • Lampshaded with a 1960s comedy starring cast members from The Dick Van Dyke Show titled "Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title" (probably the one clever part of the movie.)
  • The Powerpuff Girls Movie originally had the working titles The Powerpuff Girls: Maiden Voyage and The Powerpuff Girls: First Flight.
  • Christopher Nolan's films have names of his children in working titles, except Batman Begins, which was titled as The Intimidation Game. Mostly, these are just titles used to disguise production.
  • The first Alien film was known as "Star Beast" in its earliest stages. When the writer went through the script he saw characters constantly referring to the Alien, and then the title came out at him, noting that is both a noun and an adjective.
  • The working titles for Steven Spielberg's movies Close Encounters of the Third Kind and ET The Extra Terrestrial were "Watch the Skies" and "A Boy's Life" respectively. Both were referenced as a Creator In-Joke in Gremlins (which Spielberg produced), as two movies reportedly showing in the town theater when Billy walks past it.
  • Brad Bird's upcoming film, previously known as 1952 is now officially titled Tomorrowland.
  • Starship Troopers (the film) was originally known as Bug Hunt, an unrelated script that was later changed into an adaptation of the novel.
  • The Call was shot under the title The Hive, which is the nickname for the building where Halle Berry's character works (managing to even get a Title Drop). The renaming occurred as soon as the film got a release date, as the film's premise is focused around a phone call that links the two leads.
  • Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's original title for their film Bedazzled was 'Raquel Welch' (who had a small role in the film) — so they could have a poster saying 'Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in Raquel Welch'.
  • The original script title for Blade Runner was Dangerous Days.
  • Epic was originally called Leafmen, which is closer to the book the film is based on.
  • The movie Once Upon a Forest was originally going to be called The Endangered, but was changed because of Executive Meddling into something Lighter and Softer.
  • Fantasia had the rather plain title The Concert Feature while in production. A contest was held to find a better title and the musical term fantasia (meaning a free-form composition using familiar themes) seemed the most appropriate. Its sequel Fantasia 2000 was originally going to be called Fantasia Continued.
  • From Pixar:
    • When it was first pitched in 1992, Andrew Stanton's film WALL•E was known as Trash Planet.
    • Brave was originally titled The Bear and the Bow
  • Muppets Most Wanted was originally announced as The Muppets ... Again!
  • When Harry Met Sally was originally called "Harry, This is Sally...".
  • It Could Happen To You, a Nicholas Cage rom-com, was originally called Cop Gives Waitress 2 Million Dollar Tip, an attempt to emulate a sensationalist tabloid headline.
  • Star Trek: Generations was originally Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Motion Picture. It was changed early on, possibly because Star Trek The Motion Picture wasn't looked back on particularly well, possibly because Kirk, Scotty and Chekov were in it as well, and possibly because that is a very awkward name for a movie.
  • The British film Walking On Sunshine was originally going to be called Holiday.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Australian drama series headLand had the working titles of Away From Home, Campus and Ten Degrees South. The first title is explained by the fact it was orginally intended as a Spin-Off from Home and Away, but with UK broadcaster Channel Five having no interest in the spin off, Channel 7 decided to make it a separate series altogether.
  • The UK version of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? had the working title of The Ultimate Superhero at one point. This is evidenced in the episode where the superheroes visit BBC Television Centre and their guest passes read "The Ultimate Superhero".
  • High School Musical was meant to be a working title, but the title was still being used in post-production and it stuck.
  • Weirdsister College had a working title of The Worst Witch: The College Years (and ended up being used in an autumn CITV promo).
  • That '70s Show had the working titles The Kids Are Alright and Teenage Wasteland, but everyone just kept referring to it as "that '70s show" and the title stuck.
  • During development, Power Rangers Operation Overdrive was originally titled Drive Force and later Relic Hunters.
  • When VR Troopers was still in development as a one-hero show, it was going to be titled Psycon. Later it was renamed Cybertron. It was probably changed after that to avoid stepping on Hasbro's toes.
  • Torchwood: Miracle Day was originally going to be named The New World, as evidenced by early promotional materials before changing to Miracle Day. However, the first episode keeps the original name and one character name-drops it in the season finale.
  • Many episodes of Doctor Who were filmed under a different name to the one they were broadcast under.
    • "The Deadly Assassin" was originally "The Dangerous Assassin", until Robert Holmes decided it didn't "sound right".
    • "The Claws of Axos" was known as "The Vampire from Space" right up until transmission, with the first episode being listed in the Radio Times under that title. And three seperate stories were originally known as "Return of the Cybermen", with at least one being changed so the Cybermen would be a surprise.
    • In his Doctor Who Magazine column for March 2011, Steven Moffat announced what some of the upcoming episodes wouldn't be called: The first episode of the new season wouldn't be "Year of the Moon" ("I really like that title, but absolutely nobody else does in the whole wide world"), the second wouldn't be "Look Behind You!", and the mid-season finale either wouldn't be "His Darkest Hour" or it wouldn't be "A Good Man Goes to War". Neil Gaiman's episode, meanwhile had a story so secret, Moffat couldn't even tell us what it wasn't called. ("Bigger on the Inside", and before that "The House of Nothing").
    • "The Face of Evil" was originally "The Day God Went Mad", apparently just to wind up the Moral Guardians.
    • "The Long Game" was "The Companion Who Couldn't", giving away how short Adam's story arc was going to be.
    • In a later column, Moffat mentions that "The Eleventh Hour" was originally "The Doctor Returns" before "some smartarse" pointed out he hadn't gone anywhere.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation had a number of these including Star Trek A New Beginning, Star Trek A New Generation, Star Trek The New Generation and Star Trek Enterprise 7 (the latter title is explained by the fact the ship was to be known as the Enterprise 7 rather than the Enterprise D).
  • Degrassi The Next Generation was originally conceived as Ready, Willing and Wired. When Stephen Stohn suggested the eventual title, apparently Linda Schuyler disliked the sense of rehashing past successes and felt the Trek reference sounded forced at first. But, since name recognition both in the U.S. and abroad is always an uphill battle for a Canadian Series, tying it in with the still-popular previous efforts made good business sense.
  • Perfect Strangers was originally called "The Greenhorn", likely in reference to how new and exciting was for Balki.
  • Soap was only supposed to be the working title but after getting the show done they couldn't think of a better title so left it.
  • Both Tattletales and its beta edition He Said, She Said had developmental titles. He Said, She Said was first planned in 1963 for NBC as It Had To Be You, but was shelved for six years and was eventually syndicated. It was redeveloped for CBS under the mame Celebrity Match Mates in 1973 and had Gene Rayburn as the host. Rayburn landed the Match Game reboot, so as the show made it to the air in February 1974 as Tattletales, Bert Convy was tapped as host.
  • What's My Line? had the working title Occupation Unknown.
  • The Price Is Right was first called The Sky's The Limit when it aired as a local show in New York City in 1955, and was given the working name Auction-Aire when NBC optioned it a year later.
  • Merv Griffin pitched Jeopardy as What's The Question? in 1964 and Wheel of Fortune as Shopper's Bazaar in 1973. Both shows were pitched to NBC.
  • The short-lived NBC series Imagine That, was originally titled What Are You Thinking? and later The Hank Azaria Show, before giving it the final title.
  • The short-lived CBS series Danny, was originally tiled American Wreck, before it was decided that the name would paint a negative picture of the mild show.
  • Better with You went through the titles Better Together, Couples, and Leapfrog.
  • Andy Richter Controls The Universe was originally titled Anything Can Happen.
  • Peep Show was originally titled POV.
  • The short-lived Fox series Life On A Stick was originally titled Related by Family.
  • The short-lived Fox series The Winner was originally titled Becoming Glen.
  • Breaking In went through the working titles Security and Titan Team.
  • The short-lived NBC series The Paul Reiser Show was originally titled Next.
  • The short-lived CBS series Welcome To The Captain was originally titled The Captain.
  • The short-lived Fox series Unhitched was originally titled The Rules for Starting Over.
  • Kickin' It had the working title Wasabi Warriors; perhaps it was changed to clarify that it's a martial-arts rather than Cooking Duel show.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles was called NCIS: Legend when being developed.

    Music 
  • The working title of The Beatles' song "Yesterday," when Paul McCartney first came up with the music, was "Scrambled Eggs," because it fit the rhythm. According to McCartney, the tune came to him in a dream, and for weeks he thought it must be an old song that he had heard somewhere, so he sang it to everyone he knew to see if it was familiar, using the lyrics "Scrambled eggs, oh my baby how I love your legs." Obviously those were never intended to be the song's final lyrics.
    • McCartney, as a joke, applied full lyrics to "Scrambled Eggs" and performed it with Jimmy Fallon on Fallon's NBC late night show.
    • "With a Little Help From My Friends" had the working title of "Bad Finger Boogie", because while it was being recorded John Lennon had injured one of his fingers. Power Pop group Badfinger, who were the first non-Beatles project signed to Apple Records, ended up taking their name from this.
    • George Harrison apparently had trouble coming up with song titles, at least during the Revolver sessions. "Love You To" had the working title of "Granny Smith." When asked what he was going to call another song, George replied "I don't know," so John exasperatedly suggested "Granny Smith Part Friggin' Two!" An engineer went with "Laxton's Superb," after another apple cultivar, before it was humorously decided to just call it "I Don't Know," and finally, "I Want To Tell You."
  • Starflyer 59: Jason Martin was initially going to call the band Starflyer 2000; his brother Ronnie even gave a shout out to "Jason Martin and Andrew Larsen and their brilliant new group, Star Flyer 2000!" in the liner notes of his Rainbow Rider album. Jason mentioned in some interviews that he was working on a new album called The Sad Lives of the Hollywood Lovers; it ended up getting released as The Fashion Focus. "Major Awards" from the album Old was initially called "The Sheriff". "The Brightest of the Head" from the album Dial M was originally a demo titled "God Forbid" on the Ghosts of the Future vinyl series; Jason says he changed it because he feared it might be sacrilegious.
  • Spoon's "The Ghost Of You Lingers" had the working title of "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga", a title that was supposed to sound like its staccato piano part. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga ended up becoming the name of the album it was on instead.
  • Faith No More's "Ricochet" had the working title of "Nirvana", and sometimes appeared on their setlists under that name even after it was released under another title. This inspired its share of Wild Mass Guessing among fans at the time — it doesn't help that the song includes the lines "And I'd rather be shot in my face/than hear what you're going to say". However the band maintain that the working title was chosen because it happened to be written on the day of Kurt Cobain's death (and thus slightly before he was actually reported dead), not because the lyrics actually had anything to do with him.
  • The Megadeth song "Set The World Afire" was originally called "Megadeath," and was written by Dave Mustaine shortly after he left Metallica. Mustaine took this word and removed the A to name his band "Megadeth", and changed the song's title to "Burnt Offerings" for the shows it was played at in 1984 and 1985. It was later renamed to "Set The World Afire" when he rediscovered it for So Far, So Good, So What?
    • The working title of "Into The Lungs Of Hell" was "Quicksand", and it too appeared in 1984 and 1985, though he did announce it under the former title at least once. Bootlegs often list them as different songs because Quicksand is not as musically developed.
      • Other working titles (sometimes with different lyrics): "Blood And Honor" became "Wake Up Dead", "Conjure Me" became "The Conjuring", "Black Friday" became "Good Mourning...Black Friday", "Next Victim" became "My Last Words", "Evil That's Within" became "Sin" and Bullprick became "FFF".
  • Richard Strauss originally intended to title his Alpine Symphony after Nietzsche's Der Antichrist.
  • Beck's "Broken Train" was originally going to be called "Out Of Kontrol" before a last-minute title change — basically shifting the Title Drop from the pre-chorus to the chorus itself. The reason for this was to avoid having Similarly Named WorksThe Chemical Brothers' "Out Of Control" was released as a single a month earlier. Some promo copies of Midnite Vultures still had the song listed as "Out Of Kontrol".
  • Stephen Malkmus intended to call his solo debut Swedish Reggae, as a humorous Non-Indicative Title (since it's a rock album by an American performer) — it came out as a Self-Titled Album instead, supposedly out of concern that the title would be taken at face value and it would be filed under the reggae section at record stores.
    • The working title of Pavement's Terror Twilight was Farewell Horizontal. Bob Nastanovich hated the working title and came up with Terror Twilight as an alternative, later saying "there was no way I was going to be on the Farewell Horizontal tour for the next year."
  • The Pink Floyd song Echoes started life as a set of experimental pieces, collectively known as Nothing, Parts 1-24, worked on separately by the band members. The pieces were assembled into The Son of Nothing which was developed further by the band as a whole. It was taken on stage as The Return of the Son of Nothing before being released on the album Meddle under its final name.note 
    • Proposed titles for A Momentary Lapse Of Reason included Signs of Life, Of Promises Broken, and Delusions of Maturity. Signs Of Life was supposedly rejected as a title because it would be too easy for Caustic Critics to make quips about the band showing "no signs of life".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Project 161 was the working title for The Age Of The Fall.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Averted in the case of Generic Universal RolePlaying System, which was never intended to be released under that name, and was always supposed to get an evocative, marketable title at some point... but it never happened. The working title, GURPS, became the title it was released as.
  • Every expert set (the technical term for the one-year blocks, such as Mirrodin block, Ravnica block, Time Spiral block et al) of Magic: The Gathering gets a codename, usually something that makes sense in threes (since blocks usually have three sets) such as Friends, Romans, Countrymen, with the actual names turning up once flavour has been fully assembled. Occasionally they come up with clever things to do with this; Lorwyn was announced with the codenames Peanut, Butter, Jelly, but Lorwyn's unique schtick was that every fifty years it would flip between "sunlight happyland" and "Deep One merfolk freakyland", with a large and small set for each version - so the block wasn't "Peanut, Butter, Jelly" but "Peanut, Butter" and "Jelly, Doughnut".

    Theatre 
  • Tell Me More!, a largely forgettable Gershwin musical of 1925, was originally titled My Fair Lady. Apparently the producer didn't think it was commercial enough.
  • Speaking of My Fair Lady, its working title was Lady Liza, but the song of that name was cut.
  • The musical Something For The Boys began production as Jenny Get Your Gun. It's no coincidence that the same star and same writers next joined forces on Annie Get Your Gun.
  • Oklahoma! began production under the title of its source play, Green Grow the Lilacs, but started its out-of-town tryouts as Away We Go.
  • Ayn Rand originally titled her first play Penthouse Story, but producers changed it first to Woman on Trial and then finally to Night of January 16th.
  • When Aaron Copland received a commission to compose music for a Martha Graham ballet, his composition bore the heading Ballet for Martha. The Literary Allusion Title Appalachian Spring was apparently decided on by her shortly before the premiere.
  • Stephen Sondheim's Road Show went through three of these during the long time it spent in Development Hell: Wise Guys (which had unintended Mafia associations), Gold! (after a song that was already in the show; Sondheim had wanted the show to be retitled Get Rich Quick!) and Bounce (with a new title song, which became "What A Waste" in the show's final revision).
  • Annie Warbucks, the sequel to Annie, was originally Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge. The title change was partly because Miss Hannigan was written out of the show, but also necessitating changing the lyrics to one of the songs: "Above the Law" originally had the punny refrain "You can be Annie, too!"
  • Follies was originally to have been titled The Girls Upstairs.
  • On A Clear Day You Can See Forever began production under the Epunymous Title I Picked a Daisy.
  • Musicals produced in the 1920s and 1930s by Alex A. Aarons and/or Vinton Freedley very often changed titles during production:
    • Lady, Be Good! was originally Black-Eyed Susan.
    • Oh, Kay! was Mayfair, then Miss Mayfair, then Cheerio!.
    • Funny Face was Smarty.
    • Heads Up! was originally Me for You. The title changed when the book was completely replaced.
    • Anything Goes was Hard to Get, then Bon Voyage.
    • Red, Hot and Blue! was But Millions! and Wait for Baby at various stages.
  • Death of a Salesman was originally conceived as The Inside of His Head.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE was Boneheads of Voodoo Island. This was the "defensive" variant, as LEGO is very protective of its intellectual property. While the franchise did have heavy Polynesian themes at first, the BIONICLE canon does not contain a setting called Voodoo Island, (or voodoo of any description) and none of the characters have ever been referred to as "Boneheads". The title was, for a short period of time, shortened to just "Doo Heads".
    • Another, but earlier, working name that crossed the minds of the creators was "B4", as in "before". The "B" part was carried over into the finalized BIONICLE logo.

    Video Games 
  • Halo: Combat Evolved had many proposed names, including stuff like Covenant and even Red Shift. In the end, an anonymous Bungie employee (nobody knows who did it, even today) wrote on the whiteboard for names "Halo". It worked, and the rest is history.
    • The two titles it went under before being named were Monkey Nuts and, when Bungie co-founder Jason Jones wanted to tell his mother about the new game they were working on, they changed it to Blam!
  • No More Heroes was originally to be called Heroes (no relation to the TV show, though that might be why it changed).
  • Twisted Metal was originally High Octane, as seen in the original FMV endings.
  • The first Fatal Fury game had the working title of Real Bout, which had several title drops thorough the backgrounds of the game's stages. It was eventually used as the actual title for a later sub-series of Fatal Fury games.
  • Final Fight was original titled Street Fighter '89, but was changed after play testers criticized the game of being a Dolled-Up Installment. Ironically enough, members of the Final Fight cast would later migrate into the Street Fighter series.
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was originally intended as a side-story to the series and was known under a variety of working titles such as "Biohazard Gaiden" (not to be confused with the later Game Boy Color game of the same name), "Biohazard 1.9/2.1" and "Biohazard: Last Escape". The "3" was added to the last title, as Capcom wanted to release a final numbered Resident Evil game before moving on to the next-generation platforms.
  • Metal Gear:
    • The original plan for Metal Gear was titled "Intruder". In the MSX2 version, pausing the game and typing "intruder" and then resuming play will increase the ammo capacity of every weapon to 999, providing something of a Title Drop.
    • Metal Gear Solid was originally titled Metal Gear 3 (back when the game was being made for the 3DO) until Kojima figured that not many people played the original MSX2 games.
    • During the early development of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the game was actually titled MGS III (skipping a number).
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was originally known as "Metal Gear Solid 5". Unlike the previous PSP game in the series, Portable Ops, Peace Walker was directed by Hideo Kojima, who considers PW to be just as important as the numbered console entries.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was first announced at E3 2009 under the title Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was being developed under the codename of Project Ogre, a reference to the shrapnel impale on Big Boss' forehead (which makes it look like an oni's horn).
  • Fire Emblem Fuuin no Tsurugi (The Sword of Seal), the first Game Boy Advance game in the '"Fire Emblem series, was originally titled Fire Emblem: Ankoku no Miko'' ("The Maiden of Darkness").
  • The first Alone In The Dark 1992 game went through many working titles, such as "Nightmare in Derceto" (from the name of the mansion), "Doom in Derceto" and simply "In the Dark".
  • Battalion Wars, a Nintendo GameCube installment of Nintendo's Wars series, was initially titled Advance Wars: Under Fire, keeping the Advance Wars moniker the series was introduced to internationally. Ironically the Japanese version was titled Totsugeki!! Famicom Wars, which used the original Famicom Wars moniker.
  • Konami initially planned to release Contra Spirits in America as Contra IV, since they originally intended to market Contra Force (a localization of an unrelated game titled Arc Hound) as the third game in the series. However, Contra Force got delayed and Konami decided to bump down the title of Contra IV to Contra III.
  • Almost all of Nintendo's gaming platforms had codenames during development that were different from the names Nintendo actually used on the market. The model numbers of most of the hardware that Nintendo has released more often than not reflect the original codename of the platform (i.e. every Game Boy-related hardware has a model number that begins with the letters "DMG").
    • The Famicom (Japanese version of the NES) was originally going to be called the "Home Video Computer", which is reflected by the hardware code used by Nintendo (HVC). Likewise, the Super Famicom uses "SHVC."
    • The "DMG" in the Game Boy's model number stands for "Dot Matrix Game". The Game Boy Pocket's model begins with "MGB", which stands for "Mini Game Boy".
    • The Virtual Boy was originally called the "Virtual Utopia Experience" (VUE).
    • The Nintendo 64 was originally called "Project Reality" and then changed to the "Nintendo Ultra 64" (NUS) for a while before it got its final name.
    • The codename for the Game Cube was the "Dolphin" (DOL).
    • The codename for the Nintendo DS was "Nitro" (NTR).
    • The codename for the Wii was the "Revolution" (RVL).
    • The codename for the Wii U was "Zii" (Zii also being the name used on The Simpsons for Product Placement), then later "Project Cafe". Oddly enough, the console's product codes use "WUP".
  • Most of Sega's consoles developed during the 1990s had planet-based codenames:
    • Mercury: Game Gear
    • Venus: Sega Nomad
    • Mars: Sega 32X
    • Jupiter: A Saturn-like system with games on cartridges instead of CDs (development abandoned)
    • Saturn: Originally announced as a code name, but this one stuck.
    • Neptune: Genesis/32X integrated hybrid (unreleased, though memorialized in Neptunia)
    • Pluto: Sega Saturn with integrated modem (only a few prototypes produced)
  • Two competing architectures were developed by Sega to become the basis of the Dreamcast. One was called Katana and the other was called Dural. Sega decided to use the Dural design, but 3Dfx, the company that made that design's GPU, leaked its specs so they chose the Katana to be the Dreamcast instead.
  • The Xbox hardware:
    • The original Xbox was the Direct X Box.
    • Xbox 360 was Xenon while the Kinect was codenamed Project Natal.
    • Xbox One was called Durango, and the Xbox One Kinect was Petra.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog was originally called Mr. Needlemouse (a literal translation of the Japanese for "hedgehog"); as a Development Gag, Sonic the Hedgehog 4's Working Title was "Project Needlemouse".
    • The name "Sonic Generations" was originally thought to be the Working Title for a new Sonic game, but this was averted and confirmed as the game's official title. Oddly enough, the game did have a working title, being marginally leaked as "Sonic Anniversary".
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver were originally known as Pocket Monsters 2: Gold and Silver.
  • Fallout had a weird situation. After Fallout 2, the team created a project for a prequel and codenamed it "Van Buren." Then Black Isle went bust and Van Buren never saw the light of day. After Bethesda bought it up, they made Fallout 3, which reused nothing from the Van Buren project...and then Bethesda farmed out their next project, Fallout: New Vegas, to Obsidian, the successor studio to Black Isle, who reused a lot of elements from the discarded Van Buren project for New Vegas and elevated Van Buren to Broad Strokes canon. However, all the remaining old material is still called Van Buren.
  • Major Havoc went by two working titles, Tollian's Web and Alpha One.
  • Multiwinia was originally meant to be a working title with users suggesting the title of this game. However, the original stuck.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance would have been called Mortal Kombat: Vengeance, according to its Concept Art Gallery.
  • Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star were all announced as Super Mario, Mario Kart, Kirby Wii, and Paper Mario.
  • Xenogears was originally to be called -Project Noah- after Krelian's plan to restore Merkava, walk with god and revive Deus, but it was changed for unknown reasons mid-development to the name of Weltall's ultimate form. Presumably, Square didn't want the already stretched controversial religious theming to extend to the title.
  • Chrono Cross was called "Project Kid" at one point while in development. Like Xenogears, this was actually a thing in the game.
  • Ikaruga was known in development as Project RS2.
  • The original title for Puzzle Bobble may have been intended to be Bubble Buster, which is at least what appears on a Dummied Out title screen.
  • The American release of Magical Doropie was to have been titled Francesca's Wand; it became The Krion Conquest instead.
  • The obscure Nintendo game Short Order was originally titled Jump Burger.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask began development under the title Zelda Gaiden.
  • The proposal for what eventually became Wing Commander was named "Squadron".note 
  • Rescue on Fractalus! was developed and almost released as Behind Jaggi Lines.
  • Head Over Heels was titled Foot and Mouth for most of the time it was in development.
  • Prince of Persia (2008) was originally going to carry the subtitle Prodigy.
  • Dragon Rage was originally going to be called Dragon Wars of Might and Magic.
  • Just Dance 2014 was originally called Just Dance 5.
  • Gojira-kun for the MSX was originally titled Godzilland.
  • City of Titans was originally announced under the working title Plan Z: The Phoenix Project. This didn't prevent at least two other projects on Kickstarter from using very similar names, so the final title was apparently decided on earlier than planned.
  • Subverted with New Super Mario Bros., where the working title was kept.
  • Subverted again with Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, the upcoming fourth Smash Bros. game. When the game was announced at E3 2013, everyone assumed that the name was a working title, but now that the game is nearing completion and release, it still carries the name of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
  • Downland for the Color Computer was developed under the title Cavern Climber. It was changed to avoid confusion with the already-released game Canyon Climber.
  • The Wii U Xenoblade game, called Xenoblade Chronicles X, initially had the project name of X.
  • The Wonderful 101 was named "Project P-100" during its early stages.
  • Tales of Phantasia was originally intended to have the less English-sounding title Tale Phantasia.
  • Deadly Premonition was first announced in 2007 under the title Rainy Woods.
  • Cel Damage began development under the title of Cartoon Mayhem.
  • Pillars of Eternity was announced on Kickstarter as Project Eternity.
  • Planning documents for Gunstar Heroes use the titles Blade Gunner and Lunatic Gunstar.

    Webcomics 
  • The Monster and The Girl was originally named this as a working title, the author considered other names and but decided in the end to use the working title.

    Western Animation 
  • Ōban Star-Racers originally had the title of Molly: Star Racer. Production fluxed back and forth between the two titles.
  • In an episode of Justice League, a few heroes get sent into an alternate universe. There there they meet the counterparts to the League in that universe, the Justice Guild, who are based off of some of the 1950s DC heroes. Originally the "Justice Guild" was going to be the Justice Society of America, but it was changed at the last minute because DC had just gotten the JSA popular again and the Society/Guild acted realistic for the 1950s with all the Values Dissonance that includes. It was for the better in the end, since Green Lantern mentions they also were the heroes in the comics of his childhood, which would have made little sense.
  • Code Lyoko was originally Garage Kids, with a darker theme and lacking Aelita. The digital world was called "Xanadu" instead of "Lyoko". Also, Yumi could use telekinesis in the real world. It was later revamped, with a clearer boundary between the digital world and the real world.
  • The sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender was originally going to be Avatar: The Legend of Korra, taking the basis of the British name for the original series. However, legal issues about the term 'Avatar' meant that it was changed to The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra. After fan complaints about its bulk and lack of in-universe sense (she is no longer "the last airbender") it became simply The Legend of Korra, maintaining the "Avatar" prefix overseas.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969) originally had the working titles Who's Scared? and Mysteries Five. After CBS rejected the original presentation art as too scary, the network's head of daytime and children's programming, Fred Silverman, heard Frank Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night" while flying back to New York and the "scooby dooby doo" tag at the end of the song caught his attention. He called Joe Barbera and told him to give the show a comedy slant, make the dog the star and call him Scooby-Doo. He was originally a sheepdog called Too Much but was changed to a Great Dane as one of the artists at Hanna-Barbera raised Great Danes as a hobby.
  • In that same season, Hanna-Barbera was developing a show with the title "Stop That Pigeon," which featured a jelly-bellied Red Baronesque figure and a dachshund with pilot's goggles. It evolved into Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, recruiting the villains from Wacky Races. To this day, some viewers still call the show Stop That Pigeon, as the theme song still used that phrase very prominently in its lyrics.
  • Help! It's The Hair Bear Bunch! (1971) had the working name "The Yo-Yo Bears."
  • Family Guy episode have had a few episode titles that had them:
    • "Anchorwoman: The Legend of Lois Griffin", which became "FOX-y Lady"
    • "An American Dog in Paris", which became "We Love You, Conrad"note 
    • "Peter Griffin is a Big Fat Idiot", which became "Excellence in Broadcasting"
    • "Famiry Guy", which became "Tiegs for Two"
    • "Powerball Fever", which became "Lottery Fever"
    • "All in the Nielsen Family", which became "Ratings Guy"
    • "Jesus Christ!", which became "Jesus, Mary & Joseph!"
  • Early Beast Machines concepts bore the title Beast Hunters. Hasbro later decided to recycle this as the subtitle for Transformers Prime's third season and the concurrently sold toy-line.
  • The Simpsons episode "You Kent Always Say What You Want" was originally titled "The Kent State Massacre", but was changed after the Virginia Tech shootings.
    • "Homer's Phobia" was originally titled "Bart Goes to Camp", but was changed because the pun was thought to be too oblique.
    • "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" was originally titled "Fat Man and Little Boy", which was later used for an unrelated episode in season 16.
  • The Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" was originally titled "We Got Everybody But Scotty".
    • "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz" was originally titled "Emperor Benguin".
    • "Zapp Dingbat" was originally titled "Blue Munda".
    • "Game of Tones" was originally titled "Breaking Through to the Mother Side".
    • According to Matt Groening, initial titles chosen for Futurama included "Doomsville" and "Aloha, Mars!".
  • A few Sponge Bob Square Pants episodes:
    • "Shell of a Man" was "Molting" and then "Shell Game"
    • "Neptune's Party", which became "The Clash of Triton"
    • "Plankton Got Served", which became "One Coarse Meal"
  • The Donald Duck cartoon "Der Fuehrer's Face" was originally titled "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land", but was changed when the song became a runaway hit.
  • The South Park episode "Raising the Bar" was titled "Rascal Tipping" during production.
  • Barbie The Pearl Princess was originally called "Barbie in The Pearl Princess" and "Barbie: Pearl of The Sea".
  • The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie was originally called "Here Comes Mumfie", which was changed because there was already a puppet show with the same name.


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