Video game development is a long, hard, and convoluted process, and often things are cancelled, removed or Dummied Out. Maybe something just didn't work in practice, or they didn't have time to implement it in the way they wanted. Whatever the reasons, we can only wonder What Could Have Been.
Series with their own pages:
The collector's edition of Age of Empires III came with a hardcover artbook. The last page◊ of the book shows Roman numerals extending from I to V. The "IV" is underneath a picture of Vietnam-era American soldier and the "V" is underneath what looks like an ODSTexpy.
Originally, Anachronox was going to be an utterly huge, vast RPG spanning numerous worlds and dimensions, featuring epic Japanese RPG-style combat with Western storytelling and characterisation. The concept was so vast that it was decided to split the game into two installments, with the first ending on a gargantuan cliffhanger of epic proportions. Unfortunately, despite rating high on the scale of awesome, the game did not pre-order very well and the development team was canned mere weeks before the game's release date. This angered the devs so much that one went on record encouraging people to pirate the game, while others ended up developing some unofficial patches (such as adding a taxi service to the titular planet, saving on travel time)
Over the years, there have been a major number of Anime-related games that attempted to cross over to the US, but failed.
There were plans to release games based on AKIRA and it was advertised in the 1990s release of the anime. It would have been for all systems and each one would have gone a different route (Genesis would have been multi-genre, the Super NES would have just been sidescrolling, Game Boy would have been just a Dolled-Up Installment), but THQ bought the company making it, Black Pearl, and killed it.
There were two attempts to make a Kimba the White Lion game, one for the NES and another for the Nintendo 64. Both were oddly cancelled.
There was supposed to have been a game based on Trigun for the Playstation 2 by Sega. Not much was said about it beyond a simple ad.
Tecmo created an MMORPG based on Bastard!!. It got as far as the beta stage before it got cancelled.
Toho planned to release another Ranma ˝ fighting game on the Super NES in the States, but cancelled it suddenly.
In 2005, Bandai planned to release Cowboy Bebop: Serenade of Remembrance'' to the States after releasing it in Japan. In 2006, everything was dropped about it and a Bandai rep admitted it thought it would be a waste of time. Fun Fact: the image on the Cowboy Bebop at His Computer trope page came from that game!
The sequel, Alice: Madness Returns, had a lot of content planned that was cut, either due to time or technical difficulty, all of which is revealed within The Art Of Alice: Madness Returns. For example, there was going to be a world revolving around the works of M.C. Escher, where the stage bent and shifted and Alice would walk on the walls. Another world was set on the moon.
According to Word of God, Another Century's Episode R was originally planned to include Macross 7, but the producers couldn't figure out how to make it work (since the protagonist is a pacifist who "fights" by using music to inspire his allies and drive off their Emotion Eater enemies). Eventually they scrapped that and decided to include Macross Frontier instead, which meant the game had to be delayed for a year. Likewise, Zeta Gundam's cast was going to consist of Kamille Bidan's Zeta Gundam, Quattro Bajeena's Hyaku-Shiki, and Four Murasame's Psyco Gundam, but they couldn't figure out how to make the latter into a decent playable unit, so Four was cut and replaced with Amuro Ray in his Dijeh.
A beta version of Ardy Lightfoot has Catry, the vulpine boss of the fourth level, sporting a ninja costume (and a slightly more pronounced bustline). On the flip side, her final fate in the bowels of the next level's giant worm is as a half-digested corpse (as opposed to a skeleton in the final Japanese version and just lying prone on the ground in the U.S. version).
Army Of Two was initially much more ambitious, featuring more complex co-op maneuvers such as throwing clips to your partner and flipping objects for cover, and an emotive AI partner who'd do things like pissing and listening to music in real time. However, constant delays and difficulties during development lead to EA Montréal severely scaling down these features. While the final game is not an Obvious Beta, it does show signs of a jumpy development with its short length and rushed ending.
Assassin's Creed II introduces a worthy future love interest for Ezio; a thief named Rosa that he rescues during his Venezia campaign, and would later go on to teach Ezio how to long jump up walls. Throughout the game, you witness plenty of Ship Tease between the two, and Rosa quickly becomes an Ensemble Darkhorse amongst the fanbase as the girl who Ezio should most likely end up with. Only...she disappears off the face of the Earth in future installments of the Assassin's Creed series and fans find themselves disappointed that Rosa never appears again. Tragically, the reason is because her voice actress, Lita Tresierra, died from fatal injuries brought upon by a car crash she was involved in. Ubisoft chose to retire the character rather than find a new voice actress for her. In the end, Rosa ends up simply becoming an early fling for Ezio, and nowadays, it makes you wonder what could of happened between Ezio and Rosa had Tresierra not lost her life.
Asura's Wrath already has a few examples of this. In one interview, it was stated that there originally wasn't going to be a Dodge button at all (Something that just about all action games use) because the developers felt that it wouldn't make sense, as asura is hell bent on revenge, so trying to dodge everything wouldn't help him much. A Dodge button was put in in newer builds for the sake of gameplay, however.
Another example, it's shown in earlier trailers that the game was more than likely going to be much Bloodier and Gorier than the final product to compliment how the story is similar to God of War. However, this was when Keiji Inafune was executive producer for the game before he left Capcom, and he had also tried to westernize the game this way. When a game is based on Asian Mythology to begin with.
The trailers also showed the game as a God Hand-esque beat 'em up with some QT Es for power-ups and special moves, being able to pick up things like giant stone pillars for weapons, and actual blood spurts.
Asura and Yasha's designs underwent some significant changes according to the Preorder Bonus artbook. In fact, one of Asura's older designs was actually used in the final product - as Augus!
The video game tie-in for The Avengers was originally a first-person shooter brawler in the style of Left 4 Dead. Players would take control of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk, and fight off hordes of superpowered aliens. The game ended up cancelled when the studio was closed down and the rights went over to UbiSoft.
Marky Dubois from Backyard Sports was originally going to be named Marky Ramone, a fan of his namesake band. Then they changed him into the farmboy he is today.
Baldur's Gate II had many sidequests of the PC's companions that were cut either for time, constraints, bugs or other reasons. Here's a very brief list:
Viconia: she's been infected by lycanthropy and will turn into a werewolf unless you find a cure. Also, once you reach the Underdark, she betrays you to the Drow, but later reconsiders.
Aerie: she finds a magic scroll that will turn her into a bird. She considers using it rather than live forever without her wings. You can convince her otherwise or she'll leave forever.
Haer'Dalis: he and the party gets repeatedly summoned by a unknown mage to fight monsters. Eventually, Haer'Dalis gets pissed and wants to find the summoner.
There were pie-in-the-sky ideas to have Yoshimo (who, in the final game, betrays you in Spellhold to Irenicus, or otherwise disappears from the game entirely if you don't bring him to Brynnlaw) return in some fashion in Throne of Bhaal. Lead designer David Gaider spoke in interviews about having him get resurrected via the Pocket Plane, and have to deal with the fact that he betrayed the party against his will. There's even some dialogue at the beginning of Bhaal that hints you can do this (along with a global override variable hardcoded into the game that allows you to keep him through the entirety of Amn and Bhaal, albeit as a ghost in the latter), but nothing really came of it.
Throne of Bhaal was originally supposed to act as the third full game in the series, but was later turned into an Expansion Pack. It is unknown whether the game would have sold better if it was a full game or not, but various interviews by the game's designers have indicated that there were a number of elements that were never implemented in the game, including bounty hunters following and attacking the player's party throughout the storyline, Melissan possibly turning the player's party members against them, Saemon disguising the party as monks to get into Balthazar's chambers, and more. David Gaider's Ascension mod was an attempt to put some of the unused elements back into the game, including extended epilogues that make clear that the protagonist and their love interest would have Spinoff Babies.
Baldur's Gate III: The Black Hound was originally intended to be a Divorced Installment from the "Bhaalspawn Saga", developed by Black Isle. It would have been set in Faerun, and would have revolved around the player hunting an evil cleric and witnessing visions from a "black hound" who died in their lap. The game was quietly canceled in 2003, and a planned adaptation of the plot as a module for Neverwinter Nights 2 (written by Josh Sawyer) was canned due to a lack of time to complete it.
The story of the making of Banjo-Kazooie is littered with tons of this trope, originally the game (“Project Dream” before being renamed for legal reasons) starred a human boy named Edison who fought with a wooden sword against a group of pirates led by Captain Blackeye, it was planned for the SNES originally but had to be moved to the N64 due to the fact that the SNES was in its last days, the character of Edison was changed to a rabbit when Rare felt he was too generic a character, then a dog, and finally Banjo the bear. The story for the game originally was about a giant who kidnapped Banjo's girlfriend Piccolo at a concert the two were watching; the plot to the game originally also had a part where Banjo and Kazooie first met, also Wumba was originally supposed to be the original role for Mumbo. There were also sixteen worlds planned for Banjo-Kazooie such as Fungus Forest, Mount Fire Eyes, Witchy World, and Glitter Gulch Mine but were put off or redone for other games due to time constraints, also the in ending when you defeated Gruntilda the last spell she threw at Banjo and Kazooie was originally planned to hit them and turn the two into frogs and you were supposed to play as Tooty to turn them back to normal by collecting enough Mumbo Tokens (which explains why there are more Mumbo Tokens in the game than you need).
Also Stop 'N' Swop is the most famous example out of Banjo-Kazooie despite the fact no one knows what its story was but do know that it was canned.
Stop 'N' Swop is an interesting example because it was scrapped not because of the limitations of the engine or time constraints. Instead, Stop 'N' Swop was canned because of the hardware. The original plan involved exploiting an eccentricity of the N64's memory where information was held in it for up to four minutes after a cartridge was removed. Accounts of how exactly it would work vary, but the general idea was to literally swap out a Banjo-Tooie cartridge for a Banjo-Kazooie one when prompted. Unfortunately, the year after Banjo-Kazooie was released Nintendo put out a new model of N64 that cleared its RAM too fast for cartridges to be swapped. Rare briefly considered making Tooie into a follow-through cartridge like Sonic & Knuckles, but ultimately decided to just drop the idea entirely.
And the Bottles' Revenge feature in Banjo-Tooie, which seems to be fully functional but just needs hacking to start up.
The unlockable art gallery has several conceptual versions of Bayonetta, as well as a design proposal where Bayonetta's costume would subtly change depending on which weapon she had equipped, instead implemented as perfumes you could equip that would do the subtle changes for a few weapons.
Rodin was also originally called Mephisto at one point.
There was to be a teenage version of Bayonetta in addition to her child self. This idea did not progress very far.
The Shuraba weapon had an animation in which, once the weapon was fully charged, it would reveal the pulsating heart inside. The animation was completed, but the devs forgot to add it in. It can be found within the game's files, however.
Bayonetta 2 began as an Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 game just like its predecessor, but Sega did not have enough budget to fund the game, so it was quietly cancelled. Platinum pitched the sequel to many companies, but the only one interested was Nintendo, who agreed to publish it when agreeing to publish The Wonderful 101 as well, thus the game ended up being on the Wii U instead. The fans' reactions when they heard that it would be exclusive to a "baby console" is truly a spectacle to behold.
Michel Ancel has stated before that the game that eventually ended up being released as Beyond Good & Evil is, in fact, Beyond Good and Evil 2 due to the sheer volume of things that were cut and/or changed. Protagonist Jade was originally named Sally, and was much younger-looking—her name changed due to "Sally" sounding too old lady-ish, and her looks changed because she did look too young for a serious woman in her early 20's. The game was supposed to span multiple planets in an intergalactic chase, and the duel partner mechanic (used only at the very end of the game) was supposed to see a lot more use. The sequel, trapped in Development Hell, already seems to be seeing this—after two incredibly realistic-looking trailers, interviews with Ancel suggest it's going back to something closer to its original look, and will be done by a small team as opposed to the big-budget production the first two trailers suggested.
A released original game story draft revealed a boatload of missing or altered content. The Governor of Hillys' role was originally a military man named Colonel Garis. The animal-picture-taking sidequest was originally much shorter, and only important for one part of the game. Rufus and Seven (a pair of racers found in the Akuda Bar) had plot significance. The DomZ were a sympathetic alien race, with the truly evil ones being called the Nazh. Most notably, Jade had a third gameplay partner, whose name was Toy'l, and who enabled her to use a psychic shield attack. There were also a number of things that got cut outright, such as Jade having to attend a fancy party to meet Col. Garis, Double H having in-game backstory, an airborne dungeon, and citizens attacking Jade for being a traitor.
BIONICLE: Legend Of Mata Nui would have been a 3rd person exploration/platform game for PC, based on the popular LEGO brand. Players would have had the opportunity to play as each of the six original Toa characters, meet the islanders personally, and fight their way to confront Makuta himself. And the entire thing would have been canon, standing as the most complete and most official telling of the 2001 storyline. Nearing completion, with loads of promo material having been released, the game was scrapped, and is now seen as a Holy Grail for BIONICLE. Beta copies do exist, which reveal several flaws that might have caused its cancellation. The motion controls are clunky — there is no transition between standing still and jutting forward with great speed. The fights are either boring (you can defeat bigger foes without having to near them) or annoying (as it's hard to aim at smaller enemies). The environments, while vast and pretty, barely have any challenges or minigames to offer, as the developers were notoriously inexperienced at making these. At the very end of the first level, there is an impassable glitch. And the story presentation was so cheesy, the Story Team would have de-canonized great chunks of it. These factors and the tight deadline are what probably lead to the game never getting finished. LEGO simply states it wasn't up to their standard of quality, but it's also said that the game could only run on a particular type of graphics card. Thankfully, fans got to play a truly great on-line game for compensation, which was originally intended to be a mere side-note to the PC game.
Their second attempt at a BIONICLE console game was more successful, if only in the sense that it was released — but still not exactly finished. There were plans to release it onto PlayStation, and the game would have had levels featuring the six Toa in both their original Mata and updated Nuva forms, adding up to a total of 13 levels. A lot of these had to be scrapped due to the rushed development, even though the canceled levels were still heavily advertised in promotions. The released game only had 8 levels, and Tahu's the only one playable in both of his forms.
BIONICLE 2: City of Legends, the never-finished 2004 sequel to the aforementioned game. Before the release of the linked video in late 2012, no one even knew it had been in development.
The original Bioshock underwent many, many changes from the time it was pitched to the final product. The original pitch still had the Zee Rust idea; they wanted it to take place on land, in a series of interconnected controlled environment chambers created by 1940's Germany. The laboratories would be full of mysteriously dead human bodies, being overrun by strange, insectoid life forms called Gatherers, who collected genetic material and body parts, the Protectors for the Gatherers, and predatory Aggressors. These eventually developed into, respectively, the Little Sisters, Big Daddies and Splicers when the developers decided they wanted a more "human" angle. The concept art book for Bioshock shows off some of these life-forms; particularly striking is one insectoid being half-fused into a human body using its arms and legs to walk and fire a pistol. Among other things promised was the ability to alter the controlled environment, such as raising the temperature in an area and giving yourself a plasmid that protected you from heat exhaustion. One of the insectoids nearly made it to the sequel - the concept art shows Splicers turning into things that made G-Virus mutants look cute.
The original game had Jack mutate more and more with plasmid use, and would make players decide if they wanted to become a hideous freak like the splicers to survive, or refuse.
Irrational released their original pitch for BioShock, which turns out to have been a completely different game. In the original pitch, you play as Carlos Cuello, a “deprogrammer” assigned to infiltrate a mysterious cult based on a remote island and “rescue” a wealthy heiress being held there. The game would also include a much more in-depth weapon creation system, based on the superpower creation system in Freedom Force. Some of the weapons you could make included a triple-barreled automatic shotgun, a silenced railgun, magnetic grenades, a sniper rifle that shoots acid-coated bullets, and a chain lightning taser pistol.
Even the first BioShock gameplay demo had a bunch of features that were drastically altered in the final game: ADAM was supposed to be the only currency in the game and could be looted off cash registers, there was a plasmid that allowed you to sprint in Bullet Time, what would eventually become the Fort Frolic level would have you at one point luring Sander Cohen out of hiding by playing the records of his hated rival Anna Culpepper and the weapon mods looked cobbled together out of duct tape and household items, to emphasize how Rapture was originally a weapons-free society (apropos of the last point, Levine claimed the weapons looked "dorky", hence his decision to make the weapons "still look modded but by someone who knows what they're doing").
BioShock 2 went through several huge shifts in storyline and themes during development. Originally, the Big Sister was intended as a single Big Bad or The Dragon, a former Little Sister incapable of adapting to life on the surface who had returned to Rapture to try and rebuild the city of her childhood. She kidnapped girls to do so, and Tennenbaum returned to try and clean up the mess. This entire plot was more or less scrapped in exchange for a Perspective Flip with a religious collectivist villain in contrast to the first game's atheist Objectivist Big Bad.
At one point, the sequel was to have Soviet Russia invade Rapture, with the Soviet troops replacing splicers. (It was even in some demos shown to reviewers.)
Bioshock Infinite made a habit of cutting levels during development. In fact nearly nothing seen in any of the early gameplay trailers made it into the games. In fact, many of the floating islands seen in the background of the final game are actually cut levels that have been repurposed as scenery.
Conceptually Columbia was going to be a much darker place and would have been decorated anachronistically in art deco, but this looked "too much like rapture in the clouds." The main enemies would have been vigor junkies as opposed to splicers, but this idea was again dropped. The whole game was going to look much like the level in Comstock house, fitting the mold of rapture very well indeed.
Songbird was going to be a reoccurring mini boss who hounded the player at every turn - which, in itself, was an unused concept from Bioshock 2, where a solitary Big Sister served as a reoccurring boss.
Elizabeth was going to be much more powerful - calling in thunderstrikes to stun enemies and other debuff attacks to help DeWitt slay his targets. In addition, opening tears would harm her more and more, and the player had to account this into his actions. Like the Harvest/Saving of Little Sisters, it would affect the ending and gameplay, and also was in itself a modification of an unused Bioshock concept, where Jack had to decide if he would splice himself to the point of inhumanity, or keep himself human, at the cost of safety.
The Vigors were originally going to work much differently: instead of drawing from a pool of Salts, they would work much like the guns, having limited "ammo" which would force the player into constantly changing his strategy. Instead of Gear, there were originally "Nostrums", passive bonus granting Vigors much like the Tonics from the original Bioshock with "unstable" (grants a random bonus out of three) and "stable" (grants a specific bonus but are rarer/more expensive).
Comstock originally looked more like a stern politician instead of the white bearded prophet he eventually became. Similarly, Elizabeth started out much older and conservatively-dressed (complete with prim-and-proper hair bun). She was also originally explicitly mute.
Borderlands was originally going to be a straight-laced first person shooter with a fleshed out story and realistic-looking graphics. Roland's original concept art shows him as a white, middle aged soldier with greying hair. This concept would eventually be used to create Dr. Zed. Early on in the game's production. It was also going to have randomly generated vehicles that could be collected like guns, as well as a way to hijack a vehicle from a bandit. The dungeons would also have random elements as well (a cave where a blank wall was previously, for example). However, most of this got scrapped when they decided to change the whole game's art style. Aside from changing from realistic to cel-shaded graphics, the developers realized that there are already way too many Call of Duty's and Halo: Combat Evolved's out there, so they chopped up and recreated the story to add in the elements of humor that the series has become known for.
As part of a late-game sidequest in Borderlands 2, the player would have had to inform Tiny Tina of Roland's death, which would emotionally devastate her. This is likely due to the fact that unlike the other NPCs involved with the quest, Tina lives out in the Tundra rather than at Sanctuary, meaning that players would have to trudge through an area filled with low-level enemies for simply for a bit of dialog.
This decision influenced Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragonkeep, the 4th major DLC for the game. If they'd gone with the original plan, how would this have turned out?
Brutal Legend was rushed, leaving the campaign only half as long as it was meant to be. Supposedly there was even a fourth faction, but that never saw the light of day.
Cave Story was originally a very different game, and some weird fragments of this ended up in the finished game.
Pixel originally planned for all the guns to have limited ammo until the endgame, making conservation of ammo a major part of the strategy. Then he playtested the infinite-ammo portions, decided they were simply more fun, and implemented that for the whole game.
The character Curly Brace was nowhere to be seen—instead, Curly Brace was the name of the player character. This led to a bit of ascended fanon: In the finished game, it's mentioned that the protagonist has something written on his hat, but we never find out what. Artwork from the beta game showed that his name—Curly Brace—was written on his hat, so fanon insisted that, in spite of the name change, his hat still said "Curly Brace" in the finished game. When asked about this, Pixel's response was “Sure Why Not.”
Cel Damage was going to have a sequel. The sequel would offer new character designs (such as Violet and Dominique having new hairstyles and more cleavage, Sinder being made cute, and Fowl Mouth becoming colorized), on-foot combat in addition to vehicle combat, many of the changes and improvements from Cel Damage Overdrive, and new level themes, such as islands and underwater levels. Sadly, EA pulled the plug on the game before it could even progress past the early prototype stage, just so they could make room for more sports games and Harry Potter movie tie-ins. Years after its cancellation, former Psuedo Interactive employees posted the concept art and a 15-second montage of clips from the early prototype to the internet.
The Chrono Cross artbook The Missing Piece has pages upon pages of dropped character designs, most of which much more eclectic or fantastic than the ones that made it to the final game (including some alternative designs for those that did.) Most frustrating of all: explicit mention of how Guile (Alf in the Japanese version) really was supposed to be Magus/Magil, but his backstory was cut out in favor of the 40+ characters and therefore he was reduced to a random traveling sorcerer… giving rise to a million and one Epileptic Trees as to his identity.
City of Heroes was still under active development when its shutdown was announced and the entire development team fired, with the highly-anticipated Issue 24 update in beta-testing and only a few weeks away from release (which was itself just a preamble to a story that had been building since the game opened, the "Coming Storm", which was to start in Issue 25). Data-mining the beta client revealed six half-completed powersets that were being worked on, and even revealed an entirely new (albeit unfinished) zone, Kallisti Wharf, intended for release with Issue 25. Even a long-awaited moon base map was scheduled to be added in Issue 28. Perhaps the saddest part of all was that the update in beta-testing when the game was closed was called "Resurgence".
Clayfighter 63 1/3 was planned to be ported to the PlayStation under the title of Clayfighter X-treme with all of the characters from Sculptor's Cut, the gameplay from the original 63 1/3 and one of the characters that was removed from the N64 games, a homeless parody of Robocop called, of course, Hobocop. The N64 Clayfighters themselves were a reworking of a canceled Clayfighter 3.
Eight different spells were cut out. The game was even supposed to have three selection wheels: one for weapons, another for offensive spells, and another for defensive spells.
Mindshatter: disorients (it's the spell used by the Sil Lith in Oneiros).
Powerword: scribes a rune on the air and damages anyone on sight (used by the Veragos in Oneiros).
Ward: organic mines (used by Bethany).
Firefly: makes enemies glow, allows spells to seek enemies.
Shala's Vortex: originally supposed to protect from magical damage, before it was merged with the shield spell (which was initially supposed to protect only from physical damage).
Phoenix: initially a spell, not a weapon (used by Keisinger). Dynamite was supposed to be the missing weapon.
Phase: invisibility (used by the Drinen in Eternal Autumn).
Incantation of Silence: mutes sound.
At early stages of the development, the game was supposed to be called "Strange Aeons" (a H.P. Lovecraft reference) or "Siog" (a Celtic word for "Spirit World").
A cut level would have featured an Irish village overrun by Trsanti.
The gameplay would have been much less linear, and have more freeroam.
A dropped Scrye event was supposed to show Bethany coming back after being killed by Keisinger and banishing Keisinger to Oneiros.
Some items were also dropped. The wizard eye, for example, was like a surveillance camera that could put anywhere, but was dropped along with the multiplayer mode (being pretty much useless in single player). One can still be found in the Debug Room, though.
Command & Conquer was originally conceived as a medieval fantasy RTS. However, Operation Desert Storm was all over the news at the time, Westwood eventually settled for a more contemporary modern-day setting (with a sci-fi element).
Prior to its buyout by EA, Westwood's version of Tiberian Twilight (which would have been in place of Tiberium Wars) would have continued the post-apocalyptic plot set by Tiberian Sun. Not much is known about what was intended, but it would have led into Red Alert 2 due to another Time Travel act and conclude the Tiberian series. Red Alert 3 would have been the bridge between the original Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn, showing how the brotherhood would have risen from the ashes of the Soviet Union. This would later all be nixed by EA, possibly because of the confusing plot lines involving time travel.
Command & Conquer: Renegade would have originally starred Logan Sheppard, the son of the Brigadier General you receive your orders from in the original game, with more missions geared towards stealth. In the released game, he just runs the replacement player character Nick Parker through the obstacle course. And, in another case of this, said obstacle course was supposed to have Nick constantly making fun of Logan for the above family link; in the actual game, Nick doesn't say a word to him.
There's an almost saddening amount of lines recorded for generic GDI soldiers and officers that are never actually heard in the game, as evidenced by a Unreal Tournament 2004 voicepack created out of their sound files.
The models for the pistol and assault rifle were apparently changed very late in development, as about half of the pre-rendered cutscenes feature completely different versions of them - the pistol resembles an MP7, and the M41A-alike is instead an M16 with grenade launcher.
Gideon and Mendoza had different models and appearances; Gideon actually had Mendoza's final model while Mendoza had a completely different design that never made it into production. This would have made Gideon a hell of a lot more badass (at least prior to his tiberium infusion) since he would look like a grizzled veteran instead of a tiny Napoleon-esque general.
However, younger Conker still appears in Conker's Pocket Tales, a Game Boy Color game that was made for the people waiting for Conker. Conker also still appears in Diddy Kong Racing for N64, with his childish voice (can be heard at 0:27).
Worse, in the sequel it was planned that Conker did so horribly as king (he squandered the treasury's worth of moolah for parties, beer and hookers to a point of bankruptcy) that he was thrown in the dungeon and had to escape, ball and chain in tow, back to his throne. Sadly, the sequel was cancelled by Microsoft in favor of Kinect Sports. Also, another draft of the sequel was going to have Conker killed as early as the first scene in friendly fire.
Collecting yellow gems in Crash Twinsanity unlocks 'unseen extras' which apparently feature ideas and concepts that never made it into the final product. The trope is lampshaded by Cortex once:
"We were going to visit two dimensions, but... we ran out of time."
To be specific, the following things were thrown around at various points in Twinsanity's development:
The other 2 islands from the first Crash Bandicoot game where you would explore the temples and race on a track run by the Komodo Bros.
Crash originally had a dashing flame punch attack that could be used after spinning, and it would have been able to open metal crates and crush doors and whatnot- but, the move was deemed "too powerful" for the game- quite literally, since it was stated that the punch could mess up the game physics.
Another Doc Amok level set on the sea floor of a dry ocean that would have also possibly led you to N. Gin's sunken battleship.
Coco Bandicoot as a playable character, where her levels would consist of her running around in a Matrix/Tron parody in order to hack open the way for herself and her allies.
An encounter with an Evil Coco and Good Cortex in the tenth dimension.
A fight with a blue monkey wearing a bowler hat would occur when you entered Crash's garden. The fight would consist of the monkey leaping on you and wrestling you to the ground, during which a gameplay mechanic similar to Rollerbrawl would take place where you had to pin the monkey to the ground long enough for you to escape.
You would enter Cortex and Coco's minds using the Psychetron. In the former, you would explore Cortex's mind as Crash fighting manifested freakish copies of Cortex while the music of the stage consisted of Cortex singing a song about himself and his history with Crash. In the latter, you would play as Cortex while fighting pastel horrors.
An evil version of Coco, stripperific outfit and all, was meant to appear on Twinsanity with her brother Evil Crash, but was scrapped.
Ripper Roo was originally going to speak intelligibly in Crash Team Racing, but the developers thought it would fit his personality better to simply be The Unintelligible. The unused audio can still be found on the game disc.
In 1995, a first-person sandbox PC game called Damocles was supposed to come out. Its goal would have been to explore a solar system in order to save a planet from a collision with a comet. The solar system would have been completely explorable; the players would have had the freedom to fly in space, land and move freely on any planet, enter any building, explore any room, pick up any object, blow up any building and even destroy any planet they wanted. Psygnosis canceled the game when it was practically complete.
Danganronpa started under the working title Distrust with the concept of branching paths based on the player's decisions. The choices you made actually determined which characters were actually trustworthy: putting your faith in someone could pay off handsomely... or lead to a bitter betrayal.
Your choices also affected the Main Character's general attitude and demeanor, and could result in different characters being killed. For instance, one set of choices could lead to student A being the first victim, while another would lead to student B being killed instead, with A helping you investigate.
At one point, the mascot who'd eventually develop into Monokuma was an anatomical model, in keeping with the twisted school theme.
A later form, while much closer to the finished product, had more of a Saw vibe with a greater emphasis on gore. The character designs were also somewhat less outlandish; while the seeds for the final cast were present, they had different names and lacked a lot of the wilder elements. An animatic showing these designs can be found here; however, be forewarned that this takes the form of one of the murderer's executions, which made it through to the final product. Everyone also has different names, for example, Kazuo Matsuzaki, who is a prototype name of Leon Kuwata, has the same execution as Kuwata's execution.
The Visual Fanbook includes the drafts of the executions of the students who aren't executed in the game itself. This post give this the information about these prospect executions. One of these include Ishimaru being shot to death with a sniper during his Prime Minister inauguration parade, and another one being Maizono being killed by a giant mantrap after "failing" to make a perfect score for her idol performance
During Darkstalkers initial design stage, Morrigan was supposed to be a cute and clumsy vampire girl while Felicia was supposed to be a hot, aggressive, and seductive catwoman. A few character redesigns later, Morrigan was turned into the hot succubus that everyone knows and loves, so Felicia was severely toned down to fill the "cute" character spot. Traces of this can still be seen in the first game, with Morrigan sporting a much less slutty artwork w/o her habitual seductive lips, while Felicia had much more visible lips instead of her habitual fanged halfmoon smile, and her aspect in general was much more mature and way less of her ditzy bubblehead self in later games. This can also be seen in their stage backgrounds: Morrigan's is a pastel-colored castle with fireworks going off in the background (rather unfitting of the Strongest Demon in the Underworld, but it might work for a little girl...), while Felicia's basically implied that she was a Vegas showgirl.
Lilith is roughly what Morrigan was originally meant to be. Also, she was going to be her half-angel sister.
Lilith's design also was rumored to perhaps at one point be male or a hermaphrodite before she became said half-angel sister. During her incarnation as an angel, she looked exactly like Morrigan except possibly more "pure", and she was the older sister of the two who was mercilessly teased by Morrigan. Her design as an angel was retooled into the different succubus we know and love, because at the time there were too many angelic characters in other fighting games (such as Angel in Tekken 2 and Uranus in Battle Arena Toshinden 2).
Although it is common knowledge that Arc System Works was formed of ex-Darkstalkers staffers who jumped ship from Capcom after the release of Vampire Savior, it is less known that many of Guilty Gear's characters are ripped directly from aborted ideas for Darkstalker characters: Concept arts for Victor show a character highly reminiscent of Potemkin, early plot treatments for Lord Raptor (in which he was a dead soldier with Arm Blades, and later a Zombie Pirate with a giant hook in his chest that shot tentacles at opponents) created three characters: Chipp, May, and Zato-1. Pyron at one point was going to be an extraterrestrial Mad Scientist; the concept design is literally Faust with a giant plume of flame emanating from his head.
The art book for Dead Rising 2 and some early previews show that the game would've taken place in one large, Western-themed casino with a steamboat in the side (source)◊(or perhaps that was one of the several casino/hotels, along with a different, Luxor-like Yucatan, seen in some pictures provided), that Fortune City would be an actual city with a large entertainment-like area similar to the final game's Fortune City and near a Phenotrans (then called Biotrans) facility (source)◊ , overall more ambitious and large scale concepts for the area and casinos (source)◊ (source)◊ (source)◊, and a different design for the entrance to the bar in the Yucatan.
Originally, Devil May Cry was a set of combat mechanics for Resident Evil 4, which were canned because they were too action-oriented. But then it spun off into its own series, and even that had its changes, such as Dante being armed with a submachine gun, not wearing a longcoat, fighting Griffon in place of Phantom for the first battle, and Devil Triggering into Alastor in the cutscene right before said battle. The Devil Trigger scene was moved to the end and used for the Sparda form instead.
Donkey Kong Country Returns was intended to have underwater levels, but they were cut out for being too slow and hard to control in. Also, the bonus pictures reveal, among other things, a giant eel battle on one of the lighthouses only seen in the background in the actual game, a return of Tree Top Town, and LOTS of different designs for 9-1.
Diddy Kong was originally Rare's updated version of Donkey Kong Jr. However the people at Nintendo felt he looked too different from the character so they were told to have the character be someone entirely new.
There was going to be a Gamecube sequel to Diddy Kong Racing entitled Donkey Kong Racing. It was going to include the entire Kong family instead of only Diddy, and instead of racing in karts, planes, and hovercrafts, players would race on elephants, birds, and other jungle animals. The project was canned once Rareware left Nintendo for Microsoft.
The original concept of Doom was reportedly very different, including gameplay that would be more story and puzzle based, making it more like a first person Adventure Game. Screenshots and scripts still exist of these early versions (including such inventory items as “Commander's Hand” and “Ham Sandwich”) and early beta versions released on the internet show it as a much slower and less action-packed game. Some have even argued that when ID Software rebooted the storyline of the original game in Doom 3, they were in fact just presenting a game that was closer to this original conception.
The first and third episodes were originally supposed to take place on "Tei Tenga", a tidally-locked planet/moon (the design docs are inconsistent on this), with the bases the player explored focused on mining a substance called "Fire Dust" rather than teleportation. Additionally, there were a pair of "anomalies" at each of the poles, which were to be where said Fire Dust was first found and excavated from. In the end, all that remains of this are the names - "Tei Tenga" is referred to on a few monitors, and the anomalies are now the end of episode 1 and start of episode 2.
After John Carmack designed the Doom 1 engine, ID Software wanted to use it to adapt the movie Alien. They decided against this rather quickly fearing Executive Meddling in their creative process.
Similarly, early versions of Quake were based around it being a very different hack-and-slash RPG set in Aztec temples (eventually changed to medieval European castles), starring a barbarian demigod named Quake who beats people up with his giant hammer. It was an eleventh hour decision to abandon this concept and turn it into a Doom-like run-and-gun shooter, which is why the finished game has a muddled and inconsequential plot that tries to explain why you're running around medieval castles wielding a hand-held rocket launcher.
Quake III: Arena began life as an idea for a single player game called Trinity, which was abandoned very early in the game design process in favour of a game focusing more on the deathmatch experience and online gaming.
And Wolfenstein 3D started as a much more Metal Gear-style stealth combat game, with features like switching uniforms with guards, dragging bodies to avoid discovery, and using the knife to silently attack enemies instead of alerting them with gunfire. The game's pace was slow because of all this complexity, so they dropped it to speed up the game, in doing so basically invented the frantic first person shooter gameplay style we all know and love.
The original Double Dragon was conceived as a sequel to the original Nekketsu Koha Kunio-kun (aka Renegade). It was retooled as a stand-alone game when the developers felt that they didn't want to work on a separate version of the same game for the overseas market like they did with Renegade.
The arcade version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge was originally planned as an upgrade kit for the original game that would've changed the graphics for the enemy characters and backgrounds. However, the developers wanted to add even more new features such as new moves, boss characters and more music, which wouldn't had been possible to add had the game been released as an upgrade kit, which required the game to be remade on a different hardware. This is why Double Dragon II reuses assets from the first game, since it was supposed to be an upgraded version to begin with.
In Dragon Age: Origins, it was originally intended that you were able to recruit Jowan the Blood Mage after finishing the Redcliffe chain of quests by invoking the Right of Conscription upon him, though time constraints led to this being scrapped. His fate in the game is either execution, being sent back to the Circle and into the hands of the Templars, or you let him escape early on.
Plans to amend a few cases of Gameplay and Story Segregation were scrapped: Lyrium addiction (prominent among Templar and mage characters) was supposed to be implemented as a gameplay mechanic, manifesting itself in diminishing returns of Lyrium Potions; the Darkspawn taint (said to affect all living beings who contact the Darkspawn, including your party who fight them all the time) would have forced you to make your entire party Gray Wardens by the endgame. The Joining was only implemented in Awakening and even there, it was optional.
The game was also going to include human commoner and human barbarian origins, as well.
In Dragon Age II, the qunari mage Ketojan was originally planned as a party member.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 had intended to include another character: Bulma. A "Making Of" featurette showed Bulma's then-current English voice actress shouting out various lines in the studio and, through hacking, was able to place Bulma's skin onto Videl's character. However, it's unknown if Bulma was meant to be an alternate skin for Videl with new voices or an entirely new character.
Duke Nukem Forever was initially going to be a sidescroller called "Duke 4Eva", with Dr. Proton as the main antagonist. The plot would've involved Duke trying to stop Proton from cutting the state of California off from the rest of the country, battling Protonite cyborgs and other enemies on his way to a final clash with Proton himself. The graphics engine eventually got reused for "Alien Rampage", and the name, obviously, was recycled.
Proton was also going to be the main baddie of the DNF seen in the EPIC E3 2001 trailer; that version of DNF would've had Proton trying to take over the world by using technology stolen from Area 51. Though that version of the game was scrapped, the story elements were reused in the DNF DLC "The Doctor Who Cloned Me", along with another aborted subplot about evil Duke clones.
One of the saddest DNF "What Could Have Been" cases was Bombshell, Duke's female sidekick; in most iterations of the game before its 2011 release, she was set to be an integral part of the story. When Gearbox Software got their hands on DNF, Bombshell was off-limits (3D Realms still owned her at the time—-their intent was to put her in a spin-off game after DNF's release), necessitating the use of Dylan as Duke's wingman. Notice how the paragraph above says Bombshell WAS a sad case of WCHB? Turns out Bombshell's getting her own game after all.
Going back even further than DNF, the original "Duke Nukem" game was going to be called "Metal Force", and may or may not have had Duke as part of a team working to take down Dr. Proton.
In the mid-2000s, Disney was looking to create a spinoff franchise based around the dwarfs of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (simply titled "Dwarfs'') taking a darker fantasy-epic tone (with a goal of drafting out thousands of years of Dwarf history). As a companion to a movie about how the dwarfs met and the origins of the Evil Queen and Magic Mirror, Disney hired Obsidian Entertainment to create a Darker and Edgier distant prequel set generations beforehand focusing around a young prince traveling with the ancestors of the Seven Dwarfs. Said game opened with the prince fighting a monster only to be revealed that he was put under some hallucination spell and that he actually killed his mother the queen, setting into motion a journey to redeem himself.
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall was originally going to have a lot more content, more guilds. Such as Necromancer Guild, prostitute guild, and a guild called "Order of the Lamp". The wilderness was going to have more detail, such as roads and objects. NPC's as "Rival Heroes", furnishable houses (Which could be robbed) and twice as many spells.
It should also be noted that Bethesda planned on setting The Elder Scrolls II in the province of Morrowind. When this proved unfeasible, the setting was shifted to the High Rock and Hammerfell regions. However Morrowind was eventually used for the third game.
A sequel to The Elder Scrolls Adventures Redguard entitled The Eye of Argonia was in early production. However low sales of Redguard and a desire by the developers to produce a true sequel to Daggerfall put an end to that game.
The civil war quest line in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was originally intended to be far more dynamic and extensive, with several more city sieges, the possibility of losing holds and having to recapture them, quests to recruit giants to your side, etc. Some of these features were Dummied Out rather than cut, and modders have attempted to put them back in, but fair warning, the results are buggy.
Elemental Gimmick Gear was originally in development for the Sega Saturn, but due to the decline of that system wound up on the Sega Dreamcast. This explains why the cutscenes and 3D battles have higher resolution graphics than the basic gameplay mode.
The main characters of Elite Beat Agents were originally going to be based off the Village people and were originally called the Disco Rangers. Derek also wasn't the same person until much later.
There's also some What Could Have Been in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, its Japanese predecessor. There was originally one level planned in this prototype where you have to save a puppy from an incoming train, but it was scrapped when they didn't think about how the scenario would end if youfailed. The song was later recycled into Sachiko's level.
First, the strategy to defeat the Clock Tower using paint was different; rather than simply painting his face in, it would swing open after the arms brought you to its face, revealing a record player that was playing the tune "It's a Small World" over and over; smashing it would end the music and restore the Clock Tower's sanity. This would also explain the "Stop the Music" pin.
Second, the Mad Doctor was originally wearing his black cloak from the short of the same name during the opening cinematic. However, developers realized that fans would confuse him for the original Phantom Blot, and the cloak was discarded.
The biggest instance of all is the fact that originally, the Karma Meter for the game would alter Mickey's appearance as you used Paint or Thinner more, or balanced both. This was changed as Scrapper Mickey (who looked more ratlike and with a nasty grin), who was the result of using Thinner a lot more, was too drastic-looking for fans of Mickey Mouse.
A level based on Alice's Curious Labyrinth (from Disneyland Paris) was scrapped due to the Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland, coming out at the time.
Originally, the final boss of the game was The Storm Blot. This was basically Oswald as the Shadow Blot after Oswald sided with the Blot to get revenge on Mickey Mouse. This results in a rather twisted and crazier take on the Lucky Rabbit, especially when pictures◊ show that he seems to be using other Disney characters as sources of power, including the Genie, Dopey, Clarabelle Cow, and Horace Horsecollar. Another picture◊ shows that the Storm Blot spawns Spatters, similar to the Shadow Blot. This suggests that during the game's development, the team decided to make Oswald more of a good guy than a villain, thus having the Shadow Blot take his place.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was originally planned to be a Nintendo 64 game, but promoted to the GameCube, which allowed it to go from pre-rendered backdrops to real-time ones while not sacrificing any detail. Also, a few characters who were planned to be playable were relegated to NPC roles in other characters' stories, notably the temple guard in Ellia's and the templar knight in the cutscene before Roberto's.
After Silicon Knights' buyout by Microsoft, they were going to make a sequel to Eternal Darkness for the Xbox 360 sometime after the release of Too Human 2, but the sequel was cancelled when SK went under due to a lawsuit with Epic Games and use of the Unreal Engine.
Several ideas from Van Buren would eventually be implemented in Fallout: New Vegas, though with changes to reflect the later time period. One of the most notable is Joshua Graham, the Burned Man - in Van Buren he was to be the "Hanged Man" instead, the first and statistically strongest companion available to the player, but also an extremely angry individual who was likely to piss off anyone and everyone else you came across.
A game based on The Fast and the Furious was announced in 2003 around the release of 2 Fast 2 Furious. It would have been developed by Genki (developers of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series) and published by Vivendi Games. It was due for release in November of 2003, but was cancelled. Three years later, another Fast and the Furious game was released in connection with Tokyo Drift. (Developed by Eutechnyx and published by Namco.) But it would have been interesting to see the first one. Some information.
Final Fight Streetwise was originally intended to have Sodom and Poison appear. They were abandoned later in development.
The original Final Fight was originally meant to be a sequel to the first Street Fighter game entitled Street Fighter '89, but reactions from consumers when the game was demonstrated at a trade show led to the game to be a standalone game. Supposedly, the fact that the game had really nothing to do with Street Fighter was the reason behind the change; the intended shared universe remained, however, and from Street Fighter Alpha on the series has featured Final Fight characters.
Shouzou Kaga's original plans for Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. Among them were the possibility of all the female characters surviving or being revived by the power of Forsety, the game being split into three parts (part 3 would be the children reuniting with their parents), and Yurius surviving and being returned to his original self by The Power of Love.
There were plans for a Flash game made by BottleRocket and Brash Entertainment. The game was, sadly, cancelled in 2008 when Brash went belly up. With a story written by Marv Wolfman, it would have starred the Barry Allen Flash and had him deal with his famed Rogue's Gallery. In-game footage from the alpha had very obvious nods to Sonic (beyond the running part, there were dash pads and grinding) and the Spider-Man games. It was also highly possible to play as other speedsters from the Flash Family.
Freedom Fighters. Despite a clear ending with a sequel clearly brought up, and even an announcement of a sequel, developer Io never really gained any ground.
Freedom Force originally was planned as a series where each game would be a different decade of comics history, leading up to the present. Instead they made a time-traveling second game with a few golden age heroes and one later-styled character with death powers, and then they hit it big with BioShock with no indication they'll ever go back to the IP, especially given the studio is now closing down.
Freespace had a couple of cutscenes dropped from the final product, whose storyboards can still be found in the developers' notes, including a truly epic depiction of the Lucifer's attack on Tombaugh Station, which would have included Shivans leaping out of their ships (without spacesuits) to board it. One fan actually went ahead and animated another cutscene himself, that being the devastation of Vasuda Prime. Planet-size spaceships were also mentioned as being an idea for the unmade third game.
God of War was to have a second disk featuring rejected designs for a few monsters and Kratos, as well as a level cut because they couldn't get it to work right.
It also has several sequel hook cinematics which (so far) seem to have been tossed out, including one where the plot of the second game was apparently going to focus on Kratos' brother who grew up in Hades due to having been left for dead as a baby (the standard Spartan procedure for babies deemed "weak" by the elders) and his quest for revenge.
As well as a possible modern-day version, in which the US Military discovers a Titan's corpse. However, the God of War Collection for PS3 has a trophy for watching the cinematic that talks about Kratos' brother, so perhaps they haven't forgotten about it.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta for the PSP has Kratos' Start of Darkness and his brother Deimos as a major part of the story.
Scratch that. The game had a boss fight against his brother, but it was the other one he hadn't killed by that point.
The level cut was probably a good thing, as the demo shown and the discussion had Scrappy Level written all over it.
For those that don't know, the cut level in question had Kratos riding a platform and trying to escape a sandstorm in a desert environment. Let that sink in for a second. Kratos, running away from a sandstorm.
An interview with GamePro had the director of God of War III reveal how the directors of GOW I and II (David Jaffe and Cory Balrog respectively) would have ended the franchise. The latter would have Kratos become Death while the former would have Kratos set his sights on the Norse pantheon after slaughtering the Greek one.
Another plot element cut from the first game was a puppy for Kratos to act as a literal Morality Pet, eventually turning into a massive Cerberus-like beast and forcing Kratos to Shoot the Dog. They decided it was just too cruel to put it in.
Two more elements cut from the third game: an expanded final battle where Gaia attacks in the background as you fight Zeus, and a puzzle involving Ixion, who was tied to a wheel in Hades for trying to kidnap Hera. According to Stig Asmusen, these elements were removed so the team could focus on making the rest of the game fuller and more epic.
GoldenEye 64 went through several different ideas that were scrapped prior to its release. Chief among these were its transfer from the SNES (where it was first announced for) to the Nintendo 64. Aside from a host of Dummied Out mission objectives and modes, the game was originally intended to be an on-rails shooter (in the style of Virtua Cop), and several levels (like Frigate and Silo) were designed with this style in mind - which also explains why they are so linear. Remnants of a planned "Casino" level also exist in the game code (with items like sticky cameras, playing cards and chips), suggesting that there were plans to have a casino-themed stealth level in the game.
There was also a planned HD port of the game for the Xbox 360. The only problem was that Microsoft, Activision and Nintendo couldn't work out the licensing rights for the game. The worst part, though? The port was already finished!
There was also a plan for a Xbox remake that was canned.
Also, the game originally was never intended to have its famous multiplayer mode. The developers literally added in the feature at the last minute without informing the executives at either Rare or Nintendo.
Rare originally planed to add an "All Bonds" cheat allowing for James Bond to appear as previous Bond actors Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton, but Rare was forced to remove it for a variety of reasons.
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has the Mercury Lighthouse visible on the world map but it cannot be reached. What makes this stranger is the Venus Lighthouse is also on the world map but the player can never see it unless they use a walk through walls code to reach it. It could have been possible that there would be more areas for the player to explore near the Venus Lighthouse but was quietly scrapped with little explanation.
Both Golden Sun games on the GBA were supposed to be one complete game instead of two parts, but due to cartridge space limits, the story of the game had to be told over two games.
The Lost Age has Dummied Out animations for two terrain-affecting Psynergy powers, several monsters (some that show up in the Tamer class's Summon Magic Psynergy, another that appears to be a unique boss monster), and a Link cameo.
One of the designers of Gradius V had the idea of having your ship have multiple missile, double, and laser types, which you would cycle through by selecting the respective slot multiple times.
The game was originally planned to have an arcade release, just like its mainline predecessors.
At one point, the original Grand Theft Auto Classic was conceived as a Sim-esque open sandbox world that had the player interacting with dinosaurs that walk around the streets of a city. Later on in development, the game was called "Race N' Chase", and allowed players to take the role of a good guy catching criminals.
The Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mission "Saint Mark's Bistro" was originally going to have the player chase the target through the streets of Portland Island.
A video game based off Gremlins (and not the NES game) was pitched at one point. It recreates the town havoc scene in the first movie, and you play Gizmo as you set up traps to stop the other Gremlins. It was turned down, but the guy who pitched it put some previews of what it could've been like.
Guild Wars had a whole bunch of them. A look through the artbooks reveals all sorts of crazy and/or awesome stuff (a personal favorite is a monster that's 3 monkeys riding a giant lizard). More obvious is the 4th campaign, Guild Wars: Utopia, which was scrapped in favor of making Guild Wars 2. Some of the Utopia concepts (the ones already finished, presumably) did get incorporated into Eye Of The North, particularly in the Tarnished Coast area (the warrior's Silver Eagle armor comes directly from a piece of Utopia concept art, and was basically already complete when Utopia was canceled and thrown into Eot N, which is why it's the only armor in the game only one profession has), but major ideas like Chronomancer and Summoner classes, and well as a Sidhe race, were ultimately scrapped.
The book Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar reveals a lot of ideas that were removed from either Half-Life or its sequel. Gordon Freeman went through a number of designs (despite never being seen anywhere but on the boxart), including one with a large beard and bulky olive-green HEV suit that was nicknamed "Ivan the Space Biker" by the production staff. Several major gameplay elements such as AI allies and the gunships targeting the player's rockets were created by accident.
Along with the usual array of scrapped monsters and level designs, various characters were taken out or combined into one. Alyx Vance was originally the daughter of a military leader, Captain Vance. When the area he appeared in, the Air Exchange, was cut, so too was the character and Alyx became Eli's daughter. Just a few weeks before the announcement of the game, Alyx was a generic videogame heroine, with "a two-toned bodysuit with knee-high boots" and Dr. Breen spent much of the development cycle half-transformed into a Combine alien.
Half-Life 2 is a rather obvious example of this, as the leaked beta contains much of the concepts unfinished or not, everything from the unfinished version of Eli talking about portal storms as being sentient beings to Captain Vance and the remnants of Earth's forces fighting the Combine with weapons that aren't in the final game, quite a bit of the storyline for better or worse was streamlined, merged, or cut out entirely. Originally there was supposed to be another day's worth of levels between Nova Prospekt and the rebel attack on City 17 (for references the entire finished game took place over less than three), hence why those two points were bridged by the "very slow teleport" that could simultaneously send you back to City 17 and fill some time for the rebels to get their act together.
Here's a bizarre-sounding one: Robin Williams (yes, that Robin Williams) wanted to play the Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2. Apparently Williams was quite the PC gamer. The role went to Lou Gossett, Jr. instead.
Mr. Friendly, an enemy that was set to be in the first Half-Life. It would be able to knock off Freeman's glasses and cause his vision to go blurred, which was considered an impressive effect for back then, but cut for being annoying. Also, it would kill Freeman by raping him.
From the second game was the Hydra, essentially an expy of the original's Tentacles, having entire sections of the game designed around fighting these. Like the Friendly, it was cut because, as exciting as it was to watch it brutally murder bothersome enemy NPCs, actually fighting it was a pain; most of the areas meant for fighting it were scrapped, though some of them were salvaged for the beginning of the uprising in the retail game.
In the original plot for Halo: Combat Evolved, Cortana was to go mad with power and try to use Halo to take over the galaxy. Thank God this never happened.
The changes were much bigger than that. Halo started development internally as a real time strategy game (essentially MythRecycledIN SPACE,) but by the time it was publicly announced, it had become a third-person shooter with vast and seamless open environments, a Wide Open Sandbox campaign set in a persistent world, and a far stronger emphasis on vehicle combat and Co-Op Multiplayer with dozens of players; also, it was to be a simultaneous Mac and Windows release. The RTS concept eventually became Halo Wars.
It was also stated, by Bungie, that the game was originally going to contain twenty-five missions rather than the ten that were shipped. One has to wonder why the Halo series as a whole was cut down so much.
There would have been dinosaur-like wildlife wandering the surface of Halo - you can see a few in the preview screenshots.
The flashlight was originally meant to be an accessory, only useable if the player had the Assault Rifle or Shotgun equipped. This was changed to be a helmet-mounted flashlight, though late enough in development that the light still changes direction with your weapon when reloading or smacking Covenant in the face with it.
Halo 2. was going to feature the Covenant Ship (there wasn't supposed to be a bomb aboard the Cairo, Master Chief was originally going to jump off the Cairo, obliterate all the Covenant inside the their Capital ship and a new Covenant species which would have served as a boss battle, then take control of a Wraith and destroy the core of the ship), Sentinal Wall (mentioned in the Making of Halo 2), and the final few levels at the end of the game that would have gotten the Master Chief through Truth's ship and back on Earth. The player was also supposed to be able to control the drop pods in the beginning of Delta Halo, and there was supposed to be a large battle between the Master Chief and the hundreds of recently reanimated Arbiter's in High Charity (Including several new Flood forms that were ultimately cut.) Oh, and to top it all off, Bungie confessed that Halo 2 and 3 were supposed to be one game, which makes plausible explanation as to why Halo 3 was so short. Imagine what Halo 2 could have been if Bungie hadn't messed up during development (they basically wasted half of their allotted time creating a graphics and game engine that could never have been implemented on the Xbox hardware). And the first level of the game was to have been a massive Zero G area with warthogs and several different areas which would have functioned as a way to get Master Chief off of the Cairo.
Halo 3. Guardian Level. Ripping out its eye and killing it with it. Yes, The Guardians, Really Killed By Us.
Oni had a networked multiplayer mode, publicly playable at several expos, until it was cut just before release due to its poor latency tolerance. Such a shame that games with LAN-only MP can't succeed in the internet age. Among numerous other cuts was a Puzzle Boss called the Iron Demon.
Origin Systems Inc. had secured the rights to make a Harry Potter Online in the late 90s, but the project was scrapped. Note that this predated both the movies and the last three books, meaning that it would have been very different from Pottermore.
Harvest Moon: Back To Nature was originally supposed to be a port of Harvest Moon 64 but the porters ended up changing the dialogue, several names, and a lot of the scenes. The end result are two completely different games that share the same plot and art style.
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life: Special Edition was supposed to have the option to have your daughter take after your wife but the developers didn't have the time so they just made one model based off of Mark. Likewise, the game was supposed to have a traveling circus but it wasn't implemented until DS.
Rika from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni was originally supposed to be older and taller than the teenage Mion but was later changed into being around nine years old. The series also began from a play Ryukishi wrote called Hinamizawa Bus Stop, before being adapted and expanded upon in the visual novels.
While the trailer for Hitman: Blood Money shows many of the missions that do appear in the final game, it does portray Mark Parchezzi III as if he was meant to be your nemesis for the entire game. Instead he hardly appears and isn't much of a threat even in the final mission, and his group “The Franchise” isn't mentioned until the game is nearly over as well. It's unknown if this is simply a case of Trailers Always Lie or if the game was rushed out the door, but the clumsy way the storyline between the mostly disconnected missions is told lends some credence to the later.
Homeworld 2 was originally going to be an epic plot spanning several generations, involving massive ambiguity over which side was "correct". The Vaygr were originally supposed to have sympathetic motivations involving oppression by the Hiigaran empire, and its exploiting its control over the hyperlanes.
Iji was initially planned to be more stealth-based. Currently, the only stealth elements are the spotting and patrol mechanic, and cracking enemies. Also, Iji would have found the bodies of Mia and Ron. While the creator never stated why, it was likely dropped due to proximity to Dan's potential death.
Inherit The Earth: Quest For The Orb. Word of God confirms: “Our biggest conflict was simple: the developers wanted something that was rather adult in nature. The publishers saw animals and equated it with children, and so forced us at every turn to cater to the 8-12 range, up to and including removing any death scenes to keep a Children's Rating.” And so, some of the deepest and most interesting foreshadowings never got anywhere…
When Jet Set Radio (renamed "Jet Grind Radio") was preparing for an American release back in the day, select stores gave out Sampler CDs that included songs planned for inclusion in the American version, but never were.
According to footage in this commercial for the old Xbox, in an early build of Jet Set Radio Future, Yoyo had a smaller health capacity and was able to hold more than 30 spray cans (notice how the spray can icon does not turn green).
JSRF was going to be a Dreamcast game, but due to the console nearing its end, and the game simply being too much for the DC to handle, development was moved to the Xbox. Some sources also state that it was going to get a PS2 and Gamecube release too, but those too were axed because they couldn't handle it either.
Interestingly not for Jojos Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle itself, but a case from the manga being adapted in the game. If Fugo is pitted against the other main characters of Part 5 the special conversations play out as if the dropped plot point of Fugo being a spy for the Boss had actually happened.
Killer7 was originally supposed to have an entire other section in which you played an FBI agent named Jacob while he attempted to track down the cause of Heaven Smiles, and ultimately discovered that Kun Lan was really an old man living in an insane asylum.
The original plot was supposed to have all been set up by the aforementioned FBI agent, manipulating the appearances of the Heaven Smiles and the Killer7's reactions to them in an attempt to force something called the "Last Shot Smile" into existence so he could kill it and eradicate the Heaven Smiles entirely. The supplementary Hand in killer7 material is still based on this version of the story, which is part of what makes the final game so confusing.
The protagonist was going to be a character called Syo Kirishima until the design settled on Kyo Kusanagi. Still, Syo was added as a special striker in KoF2000, and as an alternate outfit for Kyo in Maximum Impact 2.
Another Iori, a concept for a new Iori costume featuring him wearing a black leather trenchcoat and red bell bottom pants, was cut early from Ko F 2000. He was eventually made into his own MUGEN character. He's badass because he can access his Orochi mode at will.
Rugal's original concept was to copy special moves during a fight, but due to memory limitations SNK opted to give him moves from two established Fatal Fury bosses, Geese's Reppuken and Krauser's Kaiser Wave.
Artbooks for some of the series sometimes display possible alternate looks for characters, but there's also a spite sheet of possible looks for the characters that debuted in KoF99 - notable because one shows Bao could have been a girl.
Adel was supposed to be a girl originally, which is why his full name is Adelheid (“Heidi.”)
The original game was pitched as a beat'em up called Survivor.
One could write a whole page about the original plans for KOF2001. Word of God says that the game was originally meant to be an epic installment similar to 97, to wrap up the NESTS storyline. The game was said to return to the 3 vs 3 format, with a hero team consisting of K', Kula and Krizalid, who inexplicably returned. A sub boss team similar to 97's Orochi team was apparently planned, consisting of Ron, a cloned version of Krizalid, and Zero before fighting Father NESTS, the final boss. But then Eolith happened, and we got K' on his old team, Kula lumped in with Foxy and two of Eolith's creations, and Krizaild totally removed, though his voice clips remain in the game's files. Ron and the clone Krizalid became strikers for Zero, and NESTS was killed off in the cutscenes to make room for Eolith's new boss, Igniz. The validity of all this information is debated, but 2001 went on to become possibly the least popular game in the entire series, or at least the canon games. What could have been indeed…
The King of Fighters XIII has a few of these. Chang, Malin, Momoko, and Oswald intended to be in the game. Chang became part of the background in the India stage. The other three are still MIA.
Many King's Quest fans feel that Mask of Eternity was an unsatisfactory conclusion to the series, both because of its radical Genre Shift and the fact that it had little to nothing to do with the rest of the series. The end product turned out to be radically different from original designs. The main character would have been a statue that had come to life rather than a village tanner, some characters (such as the swamp witch) had much larger or entirely different roles, and the game world was a lot lighter and cheerier, matching the rest of the series more than the darker final product. And one can only imagine what could have happened if the game had stayed as a lighthearted point and click adventure like the rest of the series rather than the Darker and Edgier hack and slash RPG it ended up as.
Additionally, he stated that his original idea for a weapon that became the Keyblade didn't start as a key, but something more like a chainsaw, but that got an Executive Veto. Also, at the same time that weapon design was there, Sora was originally designed as a lion-type character◊, reminiscent of Zidane.
Some other ideas were that worlds like the Pride Lands were originally supposed to appear in the first game but they didn't have the tech to make it, some unused sprites for 358/2 Days show that a Pinocchio world had been planned, but removed for unknown reasons, and Birth By Sleep has remnants of a world based on The Jungle BookDummied Out.
Also, the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix Ultimania (Japanese guidebook), shows that Nomura originally planned for the final boss fights to be a lot different than how they turned out: Xemnas, after absorbing power from Kingdom Hearts, was to meld into a giant Transformer-esque creature◊ and, upon defeat, transform into a more distorted version.◊ This idea was nixed and instead we got the dragon-fortress/armored Xemnas and black-and-white coat Xemnas battles.
Final Fantasy characters like Rikku and Vincent were also supposed to be in the first game (the former taking Yuffie's role, and the latter taking Cloud's, explaining the alterations to Yuffie and Cloud's costumes in the first game), along with Final Fantasy summons like Bahamut. Also, Irvine was also set to appear, but was replaced by Wakka.
Older trailers of the first game showed many things that didn't get into the final release. For example, Riku having a scene at the top of Big Ben in Neverland, Kairi having a larger role at the end of Hollow Bastion, and Donald and Goofy using their classic cartoon outfits in battle, though those outfits eventually did show up in the game's epilogue.
It seems that Riku's Big Ben scene is canon, despite not being seen in the first game. Both coded and the secret ending of the Final Mix version of Birth By Sleep feature glimpses of it.
Before Sora, either Donald Duck or Mickey was going to be the main protagonist; but since there was a lot of disagreement between who it would be, they created Sora.
The "Birth by Sleep: Volume Two" secret ending of Birth by Sleep Final Mix hinted at a sequel for the PS Vita...that Nomura has now confirmed will not happen, as executive producers, for better or worse, thought there had been more than enough portable KH games, so the project was scrapped and focus was put solely on developing Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts III.
As seen here there was going to be a kingdom hearts cartoon.
Kingpin: Life of Crime was originally meant to be an innovative game about managing a criminal gang and fighting turf wars against enemy gangs, all set in 3D. Interplay, however, wanted a simple shooter, so what the gaming scene got was a fairly normal FPS with innovative visuals but boring story (at least in the later levels). Some of the chapters were obviously rushed, too, especially the train yard and the last boss fight.
Originally, Knights of the Old Republic II had an intricate and complex finale which resolved all the outstanding storylines and gave all the NPCs and their subplots decent closure. Thanks to LucasArts rushing the game out before Christmas, most of this stuff was cut and the game's ending doesn't entirely make much sense any more.
The KOTOR games in general are rife with What Could Have Been, so much that the second game in particular is basically the king of this trope; in addition to the material left out of the ending (such as the fact that "Darth Traya" could have been one of two different characters depending on certain choices), KotOR II was also supposed to include a planet of droids, where you would have found and talked with one of the Jedi Masters, and the HK-50 factory as a late-game solo mission for HK-47. The first game also had some content cut out of it, at least part of which can be restored in mods, such as an alternate ending for the Dark Side female Player Character.
KotOR II also includes a Lampshade Hanging regarding another what-could-have-been; with the right conditions met, Atton Rand breaks the fourth wall to comment that he was originally intended to be the protagonist of Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy before that character was named Jaden Korr instead.
The first KOTOR game had its cut material as well - namely the star map on the volcanic planet of Sleheyron. The planet was cut early on in the production schedule, so most of the content relating to it was removed from the game files. The character of Yuthura Ban was given a backstory with the planet in reference to the cut material.
La-Mulana originally had more types of enemies, but were scrapped because they would've made the game even harder than it already was. One of the developers, duplex, jokes in his Developer's Room that he'll put them in another Castlevania-type game.
Early promotional material for The Last Remnant indicated that both Rush and The Conqueror would be fully playable characters, with each having their own story scenario. Rush was designed to appeal to eastern RPG fans, while the Conqueror was designed with western RPG fans in mind.
There was going to be another Legacy of Kain game that finally tied up all the loose ends. Unfortunately: 1. Amy Hennig, the lead writer of the series, left Crystal Dynamics. 2. The person Hennig left in charge died before someone else could be chosen. 3. Crystal Dynamics was given the Tomb Raider series.
The first LoK sequel, Soul Reaver, was originally intended to have a different conclusion, rather than a cliffhanger. This is evident in a number of sound files on the disc of the PlayStation version of the game relating to an actual death of Kain followed by the apparent use of a giant cathedral organ to destroy all of the remaining vampires in Nosgoth. Afterward, though, he would've learnt that the Elder God was evil all along and this ending would lead into a different version of Soul Reaver 2. Also the concept of Wraith Blade being Raziel's soul was there from the start, but not to be realized in any version of Soul Reaver.
Aside from the ending, many gameplay elements in Soul Reaver had to be cut very late in development: The Human Citadel would have housed a cult of vampire-worshippers, with their priestess serving as an optional boss encounter, and many glyphs and alternate Reaver forms were Dummied Out, thought they can be accessed by cheat codes.
LEGO Island was, at first, intended to be a 6-game series, with other games exploring other islands in the Phanta Sea. Before long, all of them were scrapped. This was because LEGO fired the development team a day before the game was released. This resulted in several other things being pointed out in the game but not actually possible, most famously remodeling buildings.
LEGO Island 2 was extremely rushed and became an Obvious Beta. It was intended to be twice as long as what we actually got.
LEGO Star Wars was originally supposed to have a Wheelbike chase in Episode 3, a level for Zam Wessel, but they were cut due to not being to able properly program them. Zam finally made her LEGO Star Wars debut in The Complete Saga, but the Wheelbike chase never resurfaced, probably not to throw off the "one-vehicle level" balance.
During very early development, Juliet had freakishly big eyes and lips.◊ Thankfully, they revised the model to give her realistically-proportioned eyes and lips, and they stuck with this revised model for the final product.
At PAX 2011, one of the executives at Warner Bros. Interactive said that there was to be a feature implemented in the final product that would have different areas in each level be randomized each time the game was played. This never came to be.
The survivors' talk balloons floating above them originally read "HELP!" instead of "SOS".
According to their data files, Nick was once named "Romeo", Mariska was once named "Nicola", and Rosalind's name was once spelled with a "Z" rather than an "S".
When they went out of business, Looking Glass Studios — makers of Thief, Ultima Underworld, the original System Shock, and many other such games — was working on a game called Deep Cover, a spy-themed stealth thriller game spanning the length of the cold war.
Another sandbox PC game called Loose Cannon, developed by Sinister Games, was supposed to come out in 2002. The main character in the game would have had the freedom to explore a detailed city, take missions and drive vehicles. Sounds familiar? This game was canned too.
Lufia: the Legend Returns was originally supposed to be a Playstation game called Lufia: Ruins Chaser, until the company that was making it went bankrupt.
According to The Other Wiki, Magical Doropie was originally planned as a The Wonderful Wizard of Oz video game (this is probably why Doropie/Francesca vaguely resembles Glinda on the American box, along with the basic plot of a young woman being summoned to fight an evil witch.) There were also more plans with the spells to make them more useful, as well as plans for a sequel.
When Marvel Ultimate Alliance was being made, Activision had plans to include Link and Samus Aran as characters for the Wii version. However, when they were showing Nintendo the build with the characters on it, they made the mistake of using a Playstation 2 build. This angered Nintendo as they thought they wanted to put their characters into all versions and told them to remove them.
The Maverick Hunter X series was supposed to be Inafune's reimagining of the Mega Man X series, with updated graphics, voice-acting, animated cutscenes, and better focus on plot and characterization. Unfortunately, low sales of the first MHX game has scrapped the series.
This had a secondary effect. When the Mega Man X Collection was first announced, there were plans to add enhancements and redub the later games. However, the idea was scrapped when the developers decided to simply put those features into the Maverick Hunter X remakes. Thus players received a collection of straight ports retaining the same faults as the originals, and the proposed series was, as mentioned above, cancelled.
On that note, Mega Man X falls into this too. Keiji Inafune, the producer of the majority of the Mega Man series, originally created Zero as the main protagonist of the game; however, he eventually decided that Zero looked too different from the original Mega Man to be easily sympathized with by long-time Mega Man fans, so he turned Zero into X's somewhat cooler friend and mentor, delegating the authority of creating the true main character to someone else.
X2 was supposed to have a fourth, female member of the X-Hunters, but she was scrapped due to technical limitations, alongside a second form for one of the remaining ones. They were also supposed to be called the "Four Guardians" before the cut was made; the name was reused in the Mega Man Zero series.
After X5, Inafune intended the series to end so he could begin with the Zero series, but Capcom executives released X6 without his input just so they could continue to cash in. And that is the reason you don't mention Axl in hardcore MMX fan forums.
Also when the Zero series was being made, Inafune had to adjust his desired plot due to the continuing X series and Executive Meddling. X was supposed to be the villain of the first game (changed to a clone). It was also going to delve into Zero's origin, but that was scrapped.
Mega Man 1 was originally a licensed game based on Astro Boy. The license was pulled during the game's development, leading to a whole new franchise.
At one point, these guys◊, Baroque, and Crash, were meant to be Mega Man and Rush's rival, but they were heavily reworked into, you guessed it: Bass and Treble.
And then, there's Bond Man. Apparently the original Mega Man was intended to have 8 Robot Masters instead of 6 - 7 had been designed when technical limitations pushed the number down to 6. The cut Master was (no, not Cut Man) the glue-based Bond Man. Oddly, despite Mega Man Powered Up being a remake of the first game with two new Robot Masters, Bond Man does not appear, so we instead get to play with the pure excellence that is Oil Man.
Inafune said that he wanted Bond Man to retain his mystique and remain a cult figure forever. Making him official would ruin that. Eh.
The Mega Man games might be the most prominent example of this trope ever, actually. Because the developers took fan submissions for Robot Masters from Mega Man 2 to Mega Man 8, roughly 750,000 bosses were at one point or another under consideration for the games.
Mega Man was originally going to have the ability to crouch in the first game. This was scrapped when it was decided that the graphical limitations of the NES made it too hard to determine whether a projectile needed to be crouched under or jumped over.
1. Lan was supposed to lead a group called Right to fight against a prototype World 3 called WWPO (it was scrapped so that Lan could go solo, although he joins a group in BN 5).
2. Chaud was supposed to be rich and to treat net navis as no more than tools.
3. There was supposed to be a character named Mike Kenan, who was to be a high school age kid, that was an official netbattler (these two were merged, to create Chaud's final personality).
4. Mike was to pass his net navi Roll.EXE to Mayl/Maylu and then take Bass.EXE as a new navi (changed to her having Roll from the beginning, and to Bass being a solo net navi).
5. Mayl/Maylu was supposed to participate in the final battle against the Lifevirus (changed, but she still appears prior to that battle, along side Chaud).
Back when Mega Man Anniversary Collection was announced, there were going to be two versions - the console version we got and a handheld version for the Game Boy Advance that would bring back the five Game BoyMega Man games. However, it's said that the games' original code was lost and thus the project was scrapped.
As shown here, there was going to be a first person shooter game based on the Mega Man X series.
Might and Magic VI was originally planned to take place on the world of the novels. When the world was changed to Enroth (the world Heroes of Might and Magic I and II had taken place on), the planned third novel in the trilogy fell through as well.
One of the reasons it was specifically 3DO that bought New World Computing was that Jon van Caneghem wanted to make a Might & Magic Online, and 3DO had just published what was probably the first MMORPG. For various reasons, the project never managed to get off the ground, and it wasn't until years after 3DO went under that the fans heard about this.
To this day, Monkey Island fans still want to know what Ron Gilbert's original plan for MI3 was. The plans still haven't been revealed, although Gilbert's involvement in the brainstorming of Tales of Monkey Island still made most fans at least a little happy.
For Tales of Monkey Island, at one time there was going to be an extended backstory on Fisheyes Alabaster in Chapter 3—his life as a pirate, what happened to his eyesight, his later life afterward—according to the interview by Sean Vanaman, but Joe Pinney and the folks at Telltale Games didn't want to make it a bit gruesome, so they shortened out the backstory due to time constraints.
Before that, in Chapter 1, there was going to be a puzzle that would take place in Club 41 entirely in the dark for both the PC and Wiiware versions; but unfortunately, the latter version could only hold 40 megabytes, which the game already was (no wonder the place was called "Club 41" after the 41st megabyte).
Mother 3 initially began development as a particularly ambitious Nintendo 64DD title with a bigger world and a storyline that was to focus on ten different main characters over the course of ten years. Several familiar characters were present in the screenshots, but with noticeably different designs: Flint had a Badass Longcoat, Duster seemed to be a parody of Link, Kumatora's getup was surprisingly Stripperific, and DCMC had a female vocalist. The game was also built around the console's 64DD add-on, which would add to the game's replay value by including, among other things, an internal clock that would affect certain actions in-game. The commercial failure of the 64DD (in the N64's final days, many years and countless abandoned-for-cart games after its originally intended release) put a huge damper on the title's completion, as did the development team's inexperience with 3D games. The project was officially canned in 2000 after six years' worth of delays, but it eventually got picked up again to be retooled for the Game Boy Advance.
And even when the game was shifted to the GBA, the game's storyline and gameplay went through a ton of changes. Among several examples, Tanetane Island as seen in the final version is toned down compared to what it was in development, because Itoi found it too scary, Flint was going to kill the Mecha-Drago instead of sparing it, Porky was going to die, Dummied Out sprites imply Kumatora was going to be the final Magypsy instead of Fassad, Claus's death and cyborgification (into a Starman, unlike the final version) was going to be clearly seen...
Myst IV: Revelation was initially intended to include another set of puzzles in Haven, involving animal tracks and dietary preferences. Technical delays led to these challenges being omitted from play, although clues that were intended to help complete the puzzle can still be found in Achenar's ship and elsewhere in that Age.
In the first campaign, at Crossroad Keep there's a sidequest from Elanee to plant a garden that was cut. The PC could've also set up a gambling den, and been given control of their faction's operations on the docks in a section similar to managing Crossroad Keep. The structure that would have been your base is still in the game next to the Sunken Flagon. Quite a bit of dialog in Act 1 and early in Act 2 still references your character as being in charge of a faction there, even though you never have any authority in the final version.
Back in 2009, there was talk of a possible third expansion and another patch for the game, but everything went down the drain when Hasbro (owner of the D&D license) sued Atari (the game's publisher). By the time the dispute was settled everybody had moved on to other games.
NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams was originally going to be called Air NiGHTS, and was going to use a motion controller for the Saturn. Then the project was moved to the Dreamcast, but never got past the prototype stage. Then it was going to be for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox360, until it was switched to the Wii, without any extension on development time or budget.
A reward for saving all 99 Mudokans in Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is a bizarre cutscene called "Guardian Angel," where a robotic monstrosity with a chilling voice, a luminescent halo, and an overabundance of cutting implements taunts and corners Abe, claiming he has to "look inside if he wants to be free." Apparently, this "Guardian Angel" was supposed to be a boss until the game's producers realized children were interested in buying the game. Although the rest of the blood and nightmare fuel remains, they cut this boss for being exceptionally creepy. It still appears as a cameo; the television screen that serves as its face can faintly be seen in the background of Zulag 3.
"Guardian Angel" is really a character called "The Shrink", who was to be a sort of psychiatrist for Sam, a Mudokan Queen, and the last one at that. According to the Oddworld wiki, it was supposed to be sentient, and wanted to escape along with Abe and Sam. Also, Sam was originally due to appear in Munch's Oddysee, being held captive by the Vyykers and used as an endless Mudokon birthing machine. Her rescue was originally going to be part of the story, but both she and the rescue got cut. Lastly, Munch was going to have a Jekyll & Hyde-style Superpowered Evil Side known as Roid, caused by Munch being used as a subject in steroid testing.
Ōkami was originally going to use a standard realistic 3D style before the designers realized sumi-e would be a lot more fitting. Ammy's original realistic design can be seen in the video gallery unlocked by beating the game, as well as an alternate skin. In addition, the video and art gallery showcases an absolutely insane amount of content (locations, characters, monsters) that didn't make it into the final game. If it had, the game probably would have been twice as long. Also, the creators revealed in the artbook that they originally wanted to make the game about dinosaurs.
Oni had to abandon a lot of features and set pieces that were originally planned due to developer Bungie's acquisition by Microsoft causing development to be rushed. Such features included a boss fight with a Humungous Mecha and online multiplayer, as well as expansion of the story that would fill some of the more glaring plotholes. The modding community did eventually create a rudimentary multiplayer mod for the PC version of the game.
The Oregon Trail: All of the programmers at MECC wanted the food supply to increase slightly if the wagon train had reached the starvation stage and a settler died. Management vetoed this No Party Like a Donner Party reference.
In Pac-Man, an analysis of the famous Kill Screen determined that if the programmers had included a simple check to prevent the split screen bug the game would not have been limited to 255 levels and 3,333,360 points. In fact due to the existence of special "parking spaces" where Pac Man can avoid being tagged by ghosts a high score would not even be limited by conditions of employment, family or even human endurance. A player could keep a Pac Man session going for years or even decades, racking up ever higher scored as long as the hardware continued to operate.
PAYDAY: The Heist was originally going to be called "Stonecold". The name changed due to not fitting with the theme of the game plus possible lawsuits for being too similar to the wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The developers also came up with "Crime Wave" as the game's title before scrapping it and then using it as the music's title for the Slaughterhouse heist.
The music heard in the Green Bridge heist was originally used for the First World Bank heist. The music composer managed to come up with something more suited for the bank level and he pushed the old music onto Green Bridge.
The sequel, PAYDAY 2, had cars that would explode when shot at and the game also rewarded players for bagging a corpse and throwing it in a dumpster. The exploding cars were removed for possibly being a Game Breaker where players could lure groups of cops to cars and kill them easily. Being given money for hiding a dead body was also removed for possibly getting money too easily and avoiding penalties players would get for killing civilians.
The sequel also had several heists that were Dummied Out, one of them being a heist contracted by The Elephant where you had to sabotage votes for him and the finale would involve you wrecking stuff like you would do in Mallcrashers. All the cut heists were cut for simply not working the way the developers had envisioned them to be, but Election Day was remade and released in the game in a later update.
PAYDAY 2 was also supposed to have the entire crew (except for Wolf and Bain) be replaced with new characters with similar backgrounds to the old crew. Dallas was supposed to have a Texan accent and he gained a new look, but fan reception to the new Dallas was extremely negative, which got the developers to bring back the old voice actor from the first game.
Penny Arcade Adventures: The ESRB's listing for Episode 2 mentions something about "robots humping legs, testicles, and taxidermy". We assume this is from a beta version, because in the final product, the only thing we see the Fruit Fuckers humping is a giant structure designed to look like an orange.
Persona 4 had a lot of unused concepts, such as Kanji Tatsumi as a middle-aged man, Rise Kujikawa as a juvenile delinquent, Teddie having a female human form (though it could be an alternate crossdressing outfit, as Yosuke and the main character had their outfits included with their concept art), and Naoto would remain a boy detective. Also, weird little things like Chie and Yukiko having long and short hair, respectively.
Also, game files were found by intrepid hackers that included character portraits for Junpei, both with and without his hat. It seems he was to make a cameo, but for whatever reason, was Dummied Out.
Some Dummied Out dub dialogue seems to have implied a romantic route for Yosuke, despite no such option being available in the original. This has become a huge subject of fan art and fanfiction however.
There's also evidence that at one point in the story it the killer was going to turn out to be your uncle Dojima but this was apparently so disturbing to testers that it was changed during production. Some elements of this early version stayed around with the eventual killer Tohru Adachi, such as him being someone you trust implicitly and who's welcome in the house at any time but dialed down somewhat.
Pikmin 3 began as a Wii game, but development was moved to the Wii U once that console was nearing release.
This Mod on Bulbagarden believes there is evidence it eventually became Pokémon Colosseum.
Pocket Monsters RPG, as it was called, was a story-driven game on a home console with a darker tone, featuring a protagonist named Leo who stole Pokémon from other trainers. It isn't difficult to believe that the game was recycled as Colosseum.
Battle Revolution was once very different from its released version. For example, Red and Leaf were originally supposed to be in the game but were later changed to Lucas and Dawn.
Battle Revolution was originally more realistic and action-packed in terms of effects, as shown by the original trailer.
Early promotional art for Pokémon Red and Blue suggests that a female player character was supposed to be available in the games. Her character design was similar to Green's (Blue in Japan) from the Pokémon Adventures manga. In addition to this, coding from the beta of the game indicates that badges were at one point supposed to be items in your bag that could be used outside of battle similarly to the Cut and Flash HMs, perhaps as a replacement for them. Also present in the beta was an unnamed item referred to as the Surfboard by fans, (though whether it was intended as an obtainable item, or simply a debug tool is up for debate) which acted similarly to the Surf HM.
Professor Oak was originally going to be an opponent in Red and Blue, using the last Pokémon neither the player nor rival choose and overall having a team stronger than the champion. note Of course, there is a rumor that he was actually meant to be the Champion.
In Red and Blue/Green, you were originally going to be able to pull out your Pokédex in the middle of battle (like Ash Ketchum) to refresh your memory on a Pokémon's type or see if you've caught it yet. But due to glitches, this was removed and left out of later games.
The "glitch Pokémon" Missingno actually exists 39 times in the code for the original games, and hints from both the game's code (the 39 Missingnos are scattered among the actual playable Pokémon) and the developers indicate that the Missingnos might have actually been intended to be real Pokémon that were scrapped. There are sketches that show some Pokémon that apparently were proposed for Gen 1, then shelved and released in later gens.
An interview with the designer of Ho-oh reveals that there were originally meant to be 190 Pokémon in the original games, all of them later introduced in Gold and Silver (which would have left Gold and Silver with only 60 new ones). The same people who discovered this information also discovered that the series was meant to end after Gold and Silver.
Black and White have a few - apparently Professor Juniper was originally going to be an old man like previous ones instead of a Hot Scientist, Stunfisk was going to be another Electric/Water before becoming Ground/Electric to increase type diversity in Unova, and Jellicent was also going to be just a Water type before it was changed to Water/Ghost, again to add diversity.
Hydreigon and its evolution line were originally intended to be cybernetic dragons incorporating aspects of tanks within their bodies. The track-like markings on their bellies seem to be a remnant of this.
This Wiki goes into the details about changes between games.
Pokémon Gold and Silver had their Safari Zone moved-players have hacked a 'beta Safari Zone' in another area of the games that has grass but no wild Pokémon present.
I remember seeing a full-page magazine ad consisting of a Poké Ball with a phone jack in place of the button. It seems Pokémon Colosseum was originally going to have online content.
Portal 2, as originally conceived by Valve, would have been a prequel set in Aperture Science's labs during the 1950s. This version of the game, known internally as F-STOP, introduced a new gameplay mechanic (the details of which remain secret) and removed both portals and GLaDOS entirely. GLaDOS's role as antagonist would be filled by Aperture founder Cave Johnson, who had been turned into an AI and now led a robot army against humanity. Though Valve loved the new gameplay mechanic behind F-STOP, they found that players wanted GLaDOS and the Portal Gun to return, forcing a complete rewrite the game to make it a direct sequel to the original Portal.
The game was initially supposed to have six individual personality spheres instead of Wheatley following you around and helping the player in the early game. Valve declared that this would be too confusing, and they scrapped these characters and replaced them with Wheatley. Some of the scrapped spheres still appear in the final battle, however, like the Space Sphere, Adventure Sphere and Fact Sphere, and are a vital part of defeating Wheatley.
Multiplayer was originally envisioned to have human characters (Chell + another female) but Valve felt that it was a bit too gruesome to constantly watch a human falling into acid, crushed, etc. over and over again, so they changed the characters to robots, which would make deaths more hilarious since robots don't feel pain and are reassembled upon respawning.
Prince of Persia, in Jordan Mechner's first concept, was to have been an entirely puzzle-oriented game like Lode Runner, with a Level Editor, but Brřderbund demanded that the game have combat. It seemed at one point that there would not be enough memory on the Apple ][ for more than one set of large, fully animated character sprites; the shadow Prince was therefore planned to be the main antagonist rather than a secondary character, and his strength in the Final Boss battle would be determined by the player's performance against him in previous levels.
Prince of Persia 2 ends with an image of a mysterious witch watching the hero in a crystal ball. Word of God has that she was the one responsible for giving Jafar his powers, killing the Prince's family, and sacking the Prince's kingdom. However, the sequel it foreshadowed never came to pass. Prince of Persia 3D had a standalone story, and ever since then the series has stuck to new continuities.
Early promo cutscenes released for Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones had the Dark Prince as an entirely different person, instead of just a voice in his head and a model and gameplay change.
In Psychic Force Puzzle Taisen, there is a hidden character named Masato/Masahito Suzuki who was supposed to have been a playable character from within the first Psychic Force game, but was eventually cut out during the later development of the game. Background information reveals that Suzuki would've been a neutral fighter (like Genma and Gates) and that he was a bounty hunter who had sought out the Psychiccers through one of his bounty hunting jobs (this fact, along with the other one that he's a swordsman as well would eventually be passed over to Might from within 2012). Aside from Suzuki, there are two other unknown characters from within the bonus pictures of Psychic Force Puzzle Taisen and that they appear alongside with him, indicating the possibility that they were intended to be playable characters as well and that they would've shared a storyline with Suzuki, but like him, they and the storyline was dropped as well.
The player character of Psychonauts was originally a completely different character named D'artagan (or Dart) who sported a signature floppy hat that proved "too awesome for Doublefine to animate". He gets referenced a few times in-game (such as Coach Oleander declaring that Raz's name "starts with a D") and manages a short cameo in the game's final cutscene.
Also, the main character was created as a mentally instable ostrich. That admittedly makes sense - considering the mind of Tim Schafer - but the master himself admitted that games usually act as kind of a wish-fulfillment fantasy, and that there are likely very few people who wished to be an insane ratite.
The game was also initially going to be a horror-like platformer that would be Xbox-exclusive, as the 2002 trailer (which was included on the discs for Blinx the Time Sweeper, Voodoo Vince, and some printings of Halo: Combat Evolved) shows. The logo was also going to look like a logo for a spy movie, the camp was going to have a darker atmosphere and was going to be called "Whispering Pines" instead of "Whispering Rock", in Lungfishopolis you were going to fight Linda instead of Kochamara, and Word of God has it that the final level was going to take place inside Lili's mind (which Dr. Loboto was taking over), and was apparently going to be extremely terrifying. Halfway through development, Double Fine made the game less scary and more funny, which caused Microsoft to refuse to publish the game.
The two Nightmare bosses you face in the Milkman Conspiracy were originally part of Milla's level (thus explaining why them and the stage you fight them on are so similar to what you find in Milla's Room, instead of the level's usual Stepford Suburbia), but the developers moved them because it didn't make sense with respect to why you were in Milla's mind in the first place. Raz and a bunch of other campers were invited there for a party, so she'd have no reason to put him against the Nightmares intentionally, and losing control of them would reflect rather negatively on her abilities and mental state.
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy ended in the middle of a cutscene. A planned sequel was never announced due to a lawsuit suggesting the concept was stolen. Midway won but, by then, it was in great financial trouble, ultimately going into bankruptcy and the current liquidation. It looks like Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy 2 is never going to see the light of day.
In the Wii installment, Disco Kid's files are typed as “kidquick.” Kid Quick was a character in the original arcade version of Punch-Out!!. Whether Disco Kid is the same character as Kid Quick or replaced him is unknown. However, they share the same stats and both have somewhat similar names.
Early gameplay footage of Super Punch-Out!! suggests that Little Mac would have made a return appearance as playable character, instead of the unnamed blond boxer in the final game.
The MMORPG Ragnarok Online is as much a triumphant example as it is tragic. The game as we know it now will likely never have a great many of features that were originally planned for it, such as player-owned apartments, and is only now, late its life, beginning to see some of the things were a little more easily brought back such as the 3rd jobs. This was not due to internal reasons, but rather due to an attack on Gravity by hackers after Ragnarok Online's Korean version entered pay-to-play. The attack destroyed basically everything, including a large portion of the development materials. The infant international Ragnarok Online was wholly cannibalized in a vain effort to keep the company afloat, and Gravity was only 'saved' on being bought out by Samsung. The game was then almost lost a second time when the director Samsung forced on the developer's tried to impose his wholly different vision on the recovery, leading to several members of the original development team quitting - mercifully, an act that lead Samsung to pull their director and leave Gravity alone to restore what they could of the project into what we have today. Further information here.
The developers tried for a long time to implement a Karma system, that would have operated based on a player's actions within a global PVP system. Things like 'a wholly bad' player would be free game for others to attack without penalty. There are still glimpses of the system, though a lot have been removed. The unresponsive 'Temper.' tab (that for a while lead to an inactive chart window) under character status is the only one presently springs to mind. One reason for its failure was supposedly the local ratings board not much liking depictions of humans killing one another.
The PVP system was originally supposed to have been much, much more complex, with league tables and the like, and was supposed to have operated wholly within a specialized arena in Izlude. Instead, for a long time, a somewhat clumsy system running on empty versions of the various town maps was the nearest thing. More recently, an actual Izlude arena has been implemented, however it still lacks a great deal of the functionality it was originally intended to have.
There was, at one point, also talk of the game originally having had a rather-more involved combat system than the version anyone saw, dropped very early on for 'detracting from the game's social aspects', though that story's veracity is somewhat more questionable.
Ratchet & Clank has the Insomniac Museum bonus that shows all the various things that had been cut, such as original designs for gadgets, unused weapons, missing enemies and level ideas, and even variant physics engines.
Rayman 4 was to be another platformer like its predecessors, on the Wii. There was even a trailer advertising it as such. In it, Rayman dons various costumes as he fights his way through hoardes of vicious rabbit-like monsters. The rumour is that Nintendo gave the development team a pack for mini-game programming, and the game was changed entirely. As you may have sussed, the vicious rabbit-like monsters were Rabbids, and Rayman 4 became Rayman Raving Rabbids, a launch title for the Wii, consisting of humourous mini-games, and one of the most popular Wii games still.
The original Rayman was going to be an SNES title, and Rayman was originally going to have a neck, arms, and legs, but apparently they were too hard to render, so they removed them. The game was also going to be about a boy who is sucked into a virtual world he made, and he becomes his own creation: Rayman.
Rayman 2 was going to be a 2D platformer for the PS1 and Saturn, but when Ubisoft saw that 3D platformers like Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot were wowing everyone at E3, they reworked it into a 3D platformer, and it remains to this very day one of the greatest 3D platformers ever created. However, certain versions of the game have the first level of the original 2D game as an Easter Egg after completing the main game. The kicker? It only exists on the PS1 and Saturn versions.
Rayman Origins was going to be an episodic title for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC, about the origins of Rayman, and each episode was going to be about him growing up and maturing. The episodic idea was canned because Michael Ancel thought episodic format would ruin the exploration nature of the franchise, and it was reworked into a retail title. Then, according to information discovered by fans, it was going to be about Rayman and his friends realizing that this is a sequel to Rayman 3, instead of the prequel it was marketed as. The game was also going to have lots of dialogue too (some of the dialogue from the beta version is present in the ESRB's parental guide for the game). But the final product ended up having very little dialogue, and is unclear as to whether it takes place before Rayman 1, or after Rayman 3. Still a great game though.
Resident Evil, the second and fourth games went through a number of iterations (respectively known as Resident Evil 1.5 and 3.5 to fans and Capcom) before the developers finally settled on the final versions of each game.
RE1.5 was similar to the game that would eventually be released, with the main differences being with the characters. The female main character was Elza Walker, a college student and motorcycle enthusiast who is returning home to Raccoon City on vacation. She would be Retooled into Claire Redfield in order to have a greater connection with the first game. Robert Kendo (known here as John) and Marvin Branagh were to play much larger roles in the game, acting as supporting characters for Elza and Leon respectively. Annette Birkin was to get infected with the G-virus and turn into a monster like her husband William, Ada was to be known as Linda, Chief Irons was to be a hero rather than a villain, the zombies were to be more varied and gruesome, and the Chimera and Eliminator B.O.W.s (which would appear in future games) were to serve as enemies. The police station itself was also going to more closely resemble a real-life office building as opposed to the repurposed art museum in the finished product, complete with a firing range. A fanmade project to restore this incomplete version into a full-fledged game is currently under way, and a playable ISO of their work so far can be found online with a little snooping around.
RE3.5, meanwhile, is the name collectively given to several prototypes, all of which were scrapped for various reasons:
The first iteration of RE3.5 is the game that would later become Devil May Cry, and its development included several trips to Spain to study architecture as inspiration for the game's environments. This version was deemed too much of a departure from the Survival Horror genre, but those trips to Spain would be put to use for the final version of the game.
Following this was the "Fog Version," whose premise involved Leon infiltrating Umbrella's European headquarters, getting infected with the Progenitor Virus and fighting fog-like creatures. One of the levels was to take place on an airship.
After that version was scrapped, Capcom made the "Hooked Man Version," which was set in a seemingly haunted mansion and had Leon fighting what appeared to be paranormal enemies, such as medieval suits of armor (which would make it into the final version), living dolls, and the eponymous, ghost-like "Hooked Man," a possessed-looking man who wielded a giant hook on a chain and would stalk Leon throughout the mansion. The game was reportedly so scary that, when the trailer debuted at E3, Shinji Mikami told the audience, "Don't pee your pants." However, the game would be scrapped for being too outright supernatural for an RE game.
The final version proposed reportedly featured regular old zombies again, and was discarded for being too formulaic. Resident Evil: Dead Aim may have been based on this version of the game.
Resident Evil: Gaiden's ending showed that Leon was the parasite B.O.W., which implied that the real Leon was either missing or dead. Naturally, the game is considered non canon for various reasons and one of them being Leon appearing to be alive and well in future games.
Resident Evil 5 had several disappointing omissions evidenced by the concept art, which include Wesker becoming human for the final boss battle and getting a better send off, an Uruboros battle on top of a train, Jill being your partner for half of the game a boss battle with a horde of Ndesus and a Tyrant. A Tyrant. Which kills Excella. View them here.
Resident Evil was going to have every item box be its own storage instead of being linked with each other, which meant players that placed specific items in one box would have to go back to that particular box to get the item back. The game had no auto aim and it was going to be in the final version, but it was reverted to manual aim, most likely due to lack of time to implement it (it was restored in the director's cut version). The Gamecube remake of Resident Evil brings back the manual only aim and unlinked item boxes as a part of Real Survival mode.
During the development of Resident Evil 4, the gameplay was going to be much more action packed and have mechanics be a far cry from what Resident Evil was used to being. The developers decided eventually that the game wasn't cut out to be a Resident Evil title, but the concept was reimagined for a new franchise, Devil May Cry.
In a podcast, Insomniac Games revealed that Resistance: Fall of Man was originally envisioned a futuristic, time-travelling World War One game with loads of inspiration taken from the film version of Starship Troopers. Also, the actual game was supposed to start with Hale touring an American aircraft carrier before leaving for Britain, but the level was cut due to time constraints. There were also plans to include a grappling gun, but that weapon was cut since the team felt it was too much of a Game Breaker.
Rez, or Project K as it was known during pre-production, featured a more humanoid character running across an infinite bridge and a much different control scheme. At one point the music was planned to be composed by Aphex Twin.
Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends was supposed to have four nations instead of three, and four campaigns, to fit. The mysterious “fourth nation” that was eventually scrapped went through several iterations too: first they were the Skald, based on Finnish, Slavic, and some northern Europeans mythology. And then they were the Kragar(?), apparently a race of bestial giants who tamed great beasts. And then they were the Khan, based on ancient Mongolian mythology and history.
Rogue Warrior. Initially developed by Zombie Inc. (subtitled Black Razor) was supposed to be a tactical First-Person Shooter that featured four player co-op and randomized level layout (somewhat in the vein of Left 4 Dead 2). Then Bethesda in 2009 stated they weren't completely satisfied with the current status and handed the development to Rebellion Developments (who were also making a new Aliens Vs Predator game.) One would consider what Bethesda was smoking, considering how Rebellion's game came out.
When planning bachelorettes for Rune Factory 4 there was serious consideration to make Minerva, the Fan Favorite little sister of a previous game's marriage candidate, one of the male M Cs potential brides. Unfortunately, two otherFan Favorites had already been decided on as returning characters, and the developers worried that adding more returning characters might isolate newcomers to the series.
According to the second-to-last paragraph in this article, a feature called "Freegunning" was scrapped from the final cut of Saints Row: The Third. This combat style would have incorporated the series' firearm emphasis with Assassin's Creed-style freerunning.
With the announcement that that game's Enter the Dominatrix expansion pack was to be both delayed, and incorporated into Saints Row 4, the in-game billboards teasing the arrival of Zynyak became less of a 'future content tease' and more of a Sequel Hook.
Back in 2004, there was supposed to be a sequel to the popular PC game Sam and Max Hit The Road, titled simply Sam and Max: Freelance Police!!. However, LucasArts cancelled the game, stating that there wasn't a market for its kind of game. This would lead to the creation of Telltale Games, and the would-be game would be referenced as probably one of the ultimate Noodle Incidents.
A sequel to Sam and Max Hit the Road dates all the way back to 2001, with Sam and Max Plunge Through Space, which was planned for release on Xbox, and was going to be an action game instead of a point-and-click adventure. This game didn't get too far into development because developer company Infinite Machine (a subsidiary of LucasArts) went bankrupt after the release of New Legends.
The game actually had a much “Darker and Edgier script,” as described by the writers. In the original version, all Ferals actually ate humans, rather than just Porcus Rex. However, this, among other things, was toned down in order to get a much more accessible rating in Japan (since Japan doesn't exactly have a Avoid the Dreaded G Rating/Rated M for Money mentality). Despite the fact that the writers actually did approve of the change, they were cited as saying they thought it would have been interesting.
Secret of Mana was originally intended to be for the Super Nintendo CD add-on, which would've allowed the game to be much larger and to feature CD-quality music tracks. Notice how many of the plot threads concerning the Empire seem incomplete and rushed, and how the game's sound and music glitches at times when there's a lot going on (the result of the Super Nintendo's eight music channels being too few for the game's complex music).
In 1996, Croteam had begun designing a Doom-like shooter titled "In the Flesh", running on a proprietary engine then called "S-Cape 1", because the team didn't have the money to license the Doom engine. As per its inspiration, it would have taken place in hellish areas, and props designed to decorate the levels included sofas and tables. Around 1998, the game was re-tooled into Serious Sam: The First Encounter.
At one point, Sam's initial design was thought to be too silly for the game. However, there was near-universal backlash against a new "realistic" design he had then been given, so Sam went back to the original look. The would-be realistic version became the multiplayer model named "Hilarious Harry".
Before the announcement of Serious Sam 3: BFE, Croteam had been working on an "Unnamed Military Shooter" for a now-defunct publishing company. It would have been a more realistic shooter, possibly in the vein of Call of Duty, set somewhere in the modern Middle East. All that remains of the original game are unused idle animations for three weapons that would have appeared in the game, and a fourth being referred to in the animations for the assault rifle in BFE.
Would have originally been released for the Super NES (the final version was a Game Boy Color game). Towards the end of the game, Shantae would have received a blue version of her ordinary clothes (these were later made available to certain Half-Genie Hero donors as a Development Gag).
Shantae: Risky's Revennge was supposed to be an episodic game, but was scrapped in favor of a single game.
In several gaming magazines, it was mentioned that the story for Shenmue spanning a total of 25 — that's twenty-five — games, one for each year Ryo would have spent on his quest for revenge. Yowza. This was condensed down into 25 chapters, each game having multiple chapters (for instance, the first game was chapter 1, the second game had 3-5 or so, the 2nd chapter being in an unshown part of the games). This was still a lot more than they fit into two games…
It was also going to be a Sega Saturn game at first. Ryo has a Saturn in his house as a Shout-Out to this.
And originally, it was going to be a game set in the Virtua Fighter universe, with Akira as the main character.
Silent Hill 4 was originally just going to be a Gaiden Game and not a full sequel; the only parts of that idea to survive are the first person bits in Henry's apartment.
Hacking into the game has revealed placeholder items (the same gems from Silent Hill 1) for unlocking the sadly-absent UFO ending.
Origins changed development teams entirely not long before it was released. The original version was a Resident Evil 4 clone that drew on a great deal more material from the movie. The first previews indicated the game was going to use the Over The Shoulder camera to deal with the smaller PSP screen.
Maxis Software (creator of SimCity) has had a few. First, prior to 1998, SimCity 3000 was to be in full 3D. Then, when Electronic Arts acquired them, they put an end to developing non-Sim products (this included employee personal projects, a sports brand, and much more.) Finally, even after the acquisition, two other games, SimMars and SimsVille were scrapped.
The Japanese Xbox exclusive Shin Megami Tensei NINE was planned to lead into a Shin Megami Tensei MMORPG which was never released.
An early draft of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus featured Sly with a more Cockney accent (the comment track mocks this slightly) and Bentley with a more studied one. Sly also had a different name. Also, a slight change between the demo and the production game: in the first, the save points weren't remote beacons, but apparently a girl in a trunk who would pop out and photograph Sly (and remain inside giggling no matter how much you smacked her trunk with your cane).
In late 2009, NBA Jam co-creator Mark Turmell revealed that he was working on a Smash TV remake at the time his former employers at Midway Games went bankrupt. The project died, and Turmell was hired by EA Tiburon shortly thereafter.
For The Smurfs franchise, there was a Smurfs educational game called Smurf Play & Learn advertised by Coleco that would have been released for the ColecoVision, as well as Smurfette's Birthday and Papa Smurf's Treasure Hunt, none of which were ever worked on.
Soulcalibur V would have originally had a story mode for each character in the roster, and would have been 4 times as long and featuring confrontations with the entire cast, but ultimately ended up focusing on the story of Patroklos and his sister Pyrrha due to a limited team of developers and time constraints to release the game.
There was going to be a South Park platformer for the Game Boy Color. A "Coming Soon" section in a Nintendo Power magazine depicted a screenshot from it. The game even got an ESRB rating, but the project was canned because Nintendo knew that there were more kids with Game Boys than teens or adults, and they feared that children would be getting their hands on it. It has been said that Matt Stone and Trey Parker keep a cartridge of this game though.
Splinter Cell: Conviction changed drastically from the time it was announced (in 2007) to when it was released in 2010. In 2008, Ubisoft Montreal put the game on hold and completely overhauled it, changing almost every element as a result. Reportedly, Ubisoft did this because of fears that the gameplay was too similar to Assassin's Creed (also a Ubisoft title). The original character design for Sam Fisher had him looking like a homeless man◊, who sported a hoodie and a large amount of facial hair, and carried a small satchel on his back (in the final version, he simply wears a more casual variant of his normal attire). The “social stealth” gameplay (wherein Fisher could use items, furniture and people in the environment as tools to distract the authorities, as well as being able to hide under tables) was also removed, and replaced with a cover system that measured how long an enemy saw you for, and a ghost of your “last known position” that would distract enemies. Also, according to beta gameplay seen at the UBIDays game convention, Sam would have to outwit ordinary policemen and bystanders who wanted to take a shot at him. In the final version, he just goes up against conventional terrorist forces and Third Echelon troops.
The story changed as well. The bulk of the game was supposed to be playing Sam as a fugitive on the run as he helped Grim uncover a plot within Third Echelon. Some of this was retained in the final version, however he is no longer a fugitive and his daughter is retconned to still be alive. The beta also had “memento sequences” you would activate at certain points to get flashbacks. In the final version, these sequences are automatically played on walls as you progress through a level.
Spore originally had a much different interface, procedurally generated content for many more things, an underwater part, more complexity, more animal behaviors. Look at what everyone expected here. Maxis had two groups of people that wanted to shape Spore: those who wanted it to be scientific, and those who wanted it to be "accessible". According to Will Wright himself, the game had to be retooled, because the first group was winning, and it wasn't fun at all.
An early version had a sub atomic stage preceding the cell stage before it was cut.
The classic arcade game Spy Hunter was originally intended to have the James Bond theme as its theme music, but when the rights for it couldn't be obtained, the Peter Gunn theme was used instead.
There were also some other stuff that endured (and even got implemented) in development as far as 2006, but got cut in the released game, like vehicles (cut likely due to overpresence of anomalies) and the ability of allied NPCs to beat the game by themselves.
Spyborgs is perhaps one of the most drastic case of a game being overhauled during developement. First announced at Capcom's 2008 Captivate event, it was meant to be an humourous action-adventure game whose action would be framed by silly WarioWare-esque commercial running through the levels. However, a tepid reception led to the developers scrapping their original idea and overhauling the game in a gritty, generic hack & slash which only shared the design of the main characters.
The flagship in Star Control II was going to acquire a cloaking device eventually, but by that point the developers were running out of time and couldn't think of a way to make it “more interesting than the Ilwrath's.” Also, allying with the Orz was originally intended to be more ambiguous than favorable; bringing Orz ships into Quasispace would have had unpleasant consequences. Most interestingly of all, Groombridge was programmed as a Developer's Room and would have enabled the Captain to talk to godlike graphical representations of Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III. Hence, the significance of the Rainbow Worlds.
StarCraft II would have been considerably different if Blizzard hadn't backtracked and made a game far closer to the original than what their initial concepts had been. Going by early fan suggestions, the game could have included just about 'anything'.
The unreleased Star Fox 2. Among those who've played it, it:
...is considered to be the best looking and one of the best games ever made for the SNES.
...has game mechanics compared favorably to games made more than a decade later.
...is often put as better than the much loved Star Fox 64.
There was going to be a game called "Dinosaur Planet" for the Nintendo 64 developed by Rare. It was eventually moved to the Nintendo GameCube and, after people noticed the similarities in character designs to the Star Fox franchise, reworked into Star Fox Adventures. Many fans consider it a shame it was reworked since it was going to be a Killer App for the the 64, it had very impressive graphics for the system, and it seemed like an impressive action-adventure title. Star Fox Adventures however turned out to be quite the Base Breaker.
Erin Roberts' space combat game Starlancer was supposed to be the first title in an epic trilogy depicting a vast war lasting over a century between two factions of humans for control of the entire solar system which would end with one of the sides victorious and the other fleeing to other star systems on colonization ships, shortly before aliens would show up and vaporize the solar system. There were also going to be side-games, of which one, a tactical squad shooter, was being planned. Naturally, the first game did not sell as well as expected and the whole project was shelved.
This had an effect on his brother Chris Roberts' game Freelancer, which was in simultaneous development, and is a continuation of Starlancer. It was supposed to resolve the mystery of the aliens who destroyed Earth, as well as simultaneously being the definitive trading space simulator featuring unparalleled AI and freedom. However, studio pressure saw the project's ambitions being greatly reduced (probably for the best, as Freelancer was nearly Vapor Ware to begin with). The cancellation of the remaining Starlancer games also saw all references to the destruction of Sol being removed, although some CGI sequences depicting this did survive.
This game has been reverted numerous times... hopefully this means that the final version will be that much better when it will come out (oh yes, profit provides) but it's an Executive Meddling gambit. Certainly among other things, for better or worse the game lost terrain damage (similar tech as used in Fracture) and a dynamic, load-free space/surface battle transition.
If this video is to be believed, well, it would have also had what appears to be an original story focused on individual characters as well.
Star Trek Online had plans for a three-parter mission series for the Federation involving an Undine infiltrator in the Romulan group. The first part was made, which infuriated players with how But Thou Must it ended up being and Cryptic was angry that they couldn't finish it. However, a fan continuation spearheaded by Cryptic and using the game's Foundry system allowed for a continuation of sorts.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 was originally going to have Joe (from the original Street Fighter). However, he was dropped and replaced with Cody. In addition, Dee Jay and T. Hawk were meant to be in Street Fighter IV, evidenced by audio clips of the announcer calling their names being found in the game data. Hugo was meant to appear in the original Street Fighter III, and Shin Akuma in 3rd Strike (only regular Akuma is playable). Dee Jay wasn't meant to be a character at all; original sketches showed Fei Long, Cammy, T. Hawk, and another character who was a headswap of Fei Long. One of the designers at Capcom USA objected to this, and designed his own character, Dee Jay, and was approved. Probably explains why he always gets screwed over.
Street Fighter III wasn't supposed to have any returning characters at all, and was supposed to feature an entirely new cast. Because of this, Sean was supposed to be the only shoto. Of course, after Capcom heard the fans' responses, Ryu and Ken were added.
This (and insane levels of nerfing in the last Street Fighter III title before a ten year hiatus) not only gained Sean, the guy originally taking over for shotos, a Replacement Scrappy position for Dan but probably drastically altered plans for move set and in-universe story.
The Super Street Fighter IV artbook proves that Strider Hiryu was originally going to be an alternate outfit for Guy.
Karin, Sakura's rival, was originally supposed to debut in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter similarly to how Shadaloo Cammy first appeared in X-Men vs. Street Fighter. An early version of her sprite can be found in the game's data, which reveals that she was originally planned to be a simple head swap of Sakura.
In the case of Abel and Rufus, their original designs were very different, especially the latter.
As for Rufus, instead of being a middle-aged, obese white American male who taught himself kung-fu, he was originally a young, thin (yet muscular) black American male who combined his kung-fu skills with breakdancing, calling it "breakung-fu". He was◊ originally named"King Cobra"◊ and had a rivalry with Ken, although it most likely wouldn't have been Played for Laughs, unlike his "current" self. All in all, he was redesigned, because the developers wanted an absurd, over-the-top design that would "freak people out". What's left of Cobra in the final release of Street Fighter IV is his gi, which is Ken's 1st DLC costume.
For the initial brainstorming session for Street Fighter IV, there was an idea for a character that never made it past the idea board: Karate Klown.
Streets of Rage 3 had more features planned for the game before the final version had dummied them out. In the 2nd scene of stage 1, there was going to be a mini-boss by the name of Ash, who was a tall, Camp Gay, man that would mostly body slam you and giggle and if you beat him, he would emit a female cry instead of a male one and sits on the ground crying. This is actually present in the Japanese version, but Executive Meddling forced him to be cut outside of Japan for obvious reasons. A side scrolling motorbike level was going to be in the game as well as shown by the previews in video game magazines, but this concept was cut out.
Sunsoft had made a game called Sunman for the original NES that, sadly, never got released. Its gameplay mechanics seem to hint, though, that they had planned to make this as a Superman game, but Sunsoft couldn't keep the rights to the Man of Steel and had planned to make a game using the engine they had made with original characters.
The makers of Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 originally intended to avert one of the greatest What Could Have Beens in Anime history: Giant Robo. The proposed storyline would have had Big Fire attempting to usurp the godhead of Irui, claiming the power of Nashim Ganeden for himself. Unfortunately, Mitsuteru Yokoyama died while the game was in development, and his estate raised the licensing cost for all his works, meaning Giant Robo had to sit out of the Grand Finale of the Alpha timeline.
Furthermore, sprites for Gundam Sentinel were found within the game data when hacked; fans suspect that the story was originally planned to be the conclusion of Universal Century Gundam in Alpha, but was cut when Executive Meddling forced Banpresto to include the up-and-coming fan favorite Mobile Suit Gundam SEED in Alpha 3 instead. But digging inside Alpha 2 revealed that sprites of the Strike Gundam and Aegis Gundam were hidden inside the game. It's unknown, though, if this meant that SEED would have just made cameos of some sort, like how Star GaoGaiGar was a cameo of sorts, or if they were going to outright use Gundam SEED to a degree, a laGao Gai Gar. On a lesser note, that digging also revealed that there was a second Getter Robo theme placed in, "Gattai! Getter Robo", which wasn't used in favor of again "Getter Robo!"
Recently, a video from Nico Nico was discovered that reveals the extent of Gundam Sentinel's influence in the game, as sprites for both Task Force Alpha heroes and the New Decides units were shown. One notable addition was Amuro's Zeta Plus A1. Also found on there was leftover data from Alpha 2 with the Nightingale, the Wing Gundam Ver. Ka., and units from Crossbone Gundam and Brain Powerd
Super Robot Wars Z almost had two other Gundam series — Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ and Mobile Suit Victory Gundam. There were audio files with Amuro supporting Judau and Usso, but were Dummied Out. While it's possible for Victory Gundam to show up, the fact that the game uses the movie trilogy for Zeta Gundam pretty much leaves Judau out in the cold.
Continuing with Banpresto, the Queen's Blade Spiral Chaos game was planned originally as a multi-series crossover game Super Robot Wars-style, but using non-mecha series (besides Queen's Blade, other anime series were planned to appear) but it wasn't possible those series to be included, due to the authors and companies being reticent to allow their characters being crossed-over with other characters from other series. The sequel, Queen's Gate Spiral Chaos is the closest thing to the original idea Banpresto was able to get and still they weren't allowed to use Kasumi from the Dead or Alive series and she's replaced with Wonder Momo instead.
Some lost data found in Super Smash Bros. Brawl suggests that it was originally going to have Roy, Toon Zelda, Tetra, Dr. Mario, Mewtwo, Dixie Kong, and "Pra_Mai" (presumably Plusle and Minun) as playable characters. They are often called the Forbidden 7. Aside from Mewtwo, it's not a major loss since most of them probably would've ended up as clones or semi-clones anyways. There are also 14-18 tracks that they didn't end up using there as well, known as the Lost Music.
Interestingly, it was said that Sonic and Solid Snake weren't going to be the only characters from their franchises - Shadow and Grey Fox were supposed to join them. However, Sega and Konami vetoed this and they were Demoted to Assist Trophy
The first SSB wasn't supposed to feature Nintendo characters at all, instead having original characters. After it was changed to the characters from Nintendo, Peach, Bowser, Mewtwo, Meowth, King Dedede, and Pit were meant to be playablenote Pit specifically was replaced with Jigglypuff.. Also, Final Smashes were meant to be in from the very first game.
And in Melee, Roy and Marth weren't supposed to be in the American version, Ness was supposed to be replaced with Lucas (which didn't happen because Lucas's game, Mother 3, hadn't been released and was later canceled), and Pit and Balloon Fighter were considered for a spot as retro characters, but lost to the Ice Climbers.
As well, Hideo Kojima wanted Solid Snake to show up in Melee, but it was too far into production to implement him into the game.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary story was supposed to have more details in it and show that King Dedede knew of Tabuu's plan to turn everyone into trophies, but because that part of the story was cut due to time constraints and/or disc space limits, Dedede's actions in the story may make little sense to most people.
Certain file names in the game code of Brawl suggest that Peach was going to use Perry to fight and drift with, instead of the generic parasol used in the final game.
The trophy of Starfy's sister Starly is interestingly sorted under the "Fighter Related" category, possibly implying Starfy was considered for the roster at some point in development.
Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of the series, is a big fan of Panel de Pon and would have liked to put its main character Lip in as early as the first game in the series, but ultimately decided against it as he though no one would recognize her; had he followed through, the trope probably would have been called Lip Debuted In Smash Bros.
Anyone who donated at least $1,000 would've been eligable to appear in the "War Record" section of the ending sequence in ALLTYNEX Second, alongside the name of the protagonist, not just in the credit roll. Unfortunately, no one donated that much.
Two stretch goals would've allowed some extra rewards:
$22,000: A physical version of The Tale of ALLTYNEX Official Guidebook.
$28,000: A special physical edition of the game, featuring the games and soundtracks on one DVD and two audio CD's, as well as some postcards.
Finally, the publisher, Nyu Media, stated that if that last stretch goal was reached, they would consider porting to other operating systems and platforms. Since it wasn't met, such ports may never see the light of day.
Tales of Legendia supposedly had intentions of having Walter survive his final encounter with the party and join them later on. And there are unrecorded lines in the Japanese version that suggest that Mystic Artes/Hi Ougis were going to be put in the game.
Apparently, it was also going to be on the Gamecube as well as PS2.
Tales of the Abyss actually has quite a bit of Dummied Out content, some of which was actually restored in the North American and Undub version. Among the content cut from the initial release included unused hi-ougi cut-ins (including ones for Guy and Natalia), unused artes, the potential of Van being in the party, etc. A bug in the Japanese version would cause Rid's cut-in to show up if he uses Burning Phoenix, suggesting this was likely dummied out to make their deadline.
And even in the American version; there were a couple artes such as Natalia's "Chronos Raid" that are only accessible via cheat devices.
Team Fortress 2 went through several incarnations: Its first was a realistic military FPS/RTS hybrid subtitled Brotherhood of Arms, then in 2003, it was re-worked into a game called Invasion, which centered around a human/alien conflict, then its final incarnation became an over-the-top, cartoony game that emphasized Rule of Funny and Rule of Cool over any sort of realism, its pre-release coverage spawning numerous class-based team objective games in the meantime. And even then the character designs have been retooled somewhat. (For example, Beta!Scout is much older and more thuggish looking, Beta!Spy and Beta!Medic wore their symbols on arm bands, Beta!Demoman was just Scottish, Beta!Pyro was a bald man whose face was visible through his visor...)
The Mann vs. Machine mode was actually going to let players play as RED and BLU just like in the trailer. Playtesters reportedly found this too confusing, so the mode only allows you to play as RED, but canonly, RED and BLU are working together.
The Meet the Medic short had several ideas or scenes cut. One of the ideas was that it was going to go back to the interview format of the previous shorts, rather than the action/story-based format of Meet the Spy.
The song playing in Pyroland in Meet the Pyro was originally Tiny Tim's Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight, but Valve couldn't obtain the license to it, so they settled on Do You Believe in Magic? instead. Several fan videos have swapped out the latter for the former, however.
Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame was originally a male Indiana Jones clone, before being changed to a South American adventurer named Laura Cruz.◊ They eventually changed her name to "Croft" to be 'UK friendly' and the "u" was taken out of her name due to pronunciation issues with Americans. Lara's old Southern American look is still apparent in her CG artwork due to her having darker skin tones and a face/hair style that made her look less like a British woman. By the 3rd game and later, Lara appeared more white.
Lara was also supposed to have grenades, dual Uzis, and a rocket launcher in the first game, but most of the ideas were scrapped due to technical limitations. The developers gave Lara dual pistols instead and made the Uzis a late game pickup. Lara would eventually gain the use of a Rocket Launcher in Tomb Raider III and grenades in Tomb Raider: Legend. Legend was also supposed to have Lara be able to use a Rocket Launcher as show in the concept art, but it was scrapped.
The very first game was also supposed to have Lara look more realistic in her model and have a ponytail. However, doing so caused the game to have incredibly low frame rates, so the developers had to make Lara with less polygons and omit the ponytail. Lara's model would improve by the 2nd game and have a ponytail to boot.
Tomb Raider: Ascension, the proposed game that eventually turned into the 2013 reboot. To say it would have been different than the previous games is an understatement:
The game was fully open-world, with Lara using a horse to travel to and from areas. Her design in the early prototypes used the same character model from Tomb Raider Underworld, although it was apparently intended to be a remake/prequel.
The game heavily focused on survival-horror and featured fantasy-inspired enemies and creatures, with some being the size of giants and others being undead. As shown in prototype demonstrations, one gameplay encounter had Lara (on horseback) flee from a hulking monster that chases her through a forest by a coastline, which causes Lara to fall off her horse and eventually jump into an open ravine (pursued by other demonic creatures) in order to escape.
Lara also had a female child as a companion, who she would be able to pick up and carry on her back. As shown in concept art, the child would also protect Lara at one point from an enemy.
Lara also had several different weapons. Aside from her pickaxe (which appears in the final game), she could wield a machete (or dual-wield with a gun), and used a flamethrower to clear out enemies in a tomb.
Lara herself went through several different design iterations, including variants where she wore her signature holsters and a ripped outfit and (as the game eventually became a reboot) a different face for her eventual player model that sported a braid. In addition, there were originally plans to have her clothing get gradually more ripped and tattered throughout the game.
Rhianna Pratchett has stated in interviews that if she could have gotten away with it, Lara would have been revealed to have been in a lesbian relationship with Sam. As it stands, Lara's orientation is never explicitly stated in the game, although there is a lot of subtext in her interaction with Sam, depending on whether one chooses to interpret it as such.
Torin's Passage was to be a series of the level of Sierra adventure's "____ Quest" series. Knowing this, some of the stuff you see in the game makes a lot more sense... Anyone else think Leenah would have been the protagonist of a future game?
A Sunsoft Famicom development disk included sprites for Yacopu, the hero of Trip World, which suggests that Trip World might have been originally planned for the Famicom/NES rather than the Game Boy.
Titanfall ended up as a Microsoft exclusive as the publisher, Electronic Arts, believed that the PS 4 would have been a failure.
In Undefined Fantastic Object, Myouren Hijiri was originally conceived as the Final Boss. However, ZUN thought an old man like him would be too strange, so he was replaced by Byakuren, his sister, and Myouren was de facto killed off in Byakuren's backstory. But at least we got Unzan.
Both Byakuren and Kasen Ibaraki was considered for the role of EX Boss in Ten Desires before ZUN settled on Mamizou Futatsuiwa.
The people of Type-Moon revealed that the original protagonists of Fate/Stay Night were going to be a Meganekko girl with magical proficiency and her male servant named Saver. Eventually the girl was dropped, and Saver was given a Gender Flip and revamped as the Saber we all know and love.
Also, the original design for the main character evolved into Rin, which might explain her prominence in all 3 routes and the fact that she's the POV character for the prologue and one epilogue.
Likewise, the original design for Saver (likely an Engrish misspelling of Saber) was recycled into the design for Gilgamesh.
The Ilya route was also dropped as well. However, the backstory, mostly focusing on her father Kiritsugu's efforts during the Fourth Holy Grail War, was eventually adapted and expanded into the light novel series known as Fate/Zero. Ilya complains about it in Tiger Dojo.
Amusingly, and possibly as a Mythology Gag, the video game Fate EXTRA does have a Servant of class Saver. It's not Arthur though.
The original idea in was actually animated as a 12-minute short short called Fate Prototype.
Also by Type-Moon, the legend of Satsuki route for Tsukihime. Apparently it was planned and partly written but scrapped early in development, which is why she is seemingly set up as an heroine before having her importance to the plot greatly diminished. There was a limited edition fanbook which contained drafts of what could have been her ero scenes. The running gag is that all the spin-off games take place after her route. When the Tsukihime remake was announced, it was claimed that the route would be added, but that game has been caught on Development Hell since 2007.
Universe at War: Earth Assault was originally conceived as the first installment of the Universe At War series but no sequel materialized after SEGA decided the sales and reception wasn't good enough.
Near the time of its final release, the latest version of Unreal II: The Awakening before the version that would hit the shelves, had the weight of 8GB due to all the content, including a fully functional multiplayer, which had 5 modes, the 4 classic ones and a brand-new one called XMP. It also would have included, at least, 3 new races and 6 new weapons. The multiplayer part was dumped in favor of Unreal Tournament 2003 / Unreal Championship. And the rest of the cut-offs were in order to reduce the weight of the game. All these decisions derived in the Dork Age of the Unreal universe.
Unreal Tournament III would have had a mode called Conquest, which could be called “a RTS game inside of a FPS.” It was dumped out in favor of Warfare, a Retool of Onslaught.
Unused animations for the Enforcer in Unreal Tournament indicate it, like the Automag before it, would have to reload after a certain number of shots.
The sniper rifle from the original Unreal would have had a burst-firing Secondary Fire until it was replaced with the zoom function.
Unreal Tournament itself was going to be an Expansion Pack for Unreal called the "Bot Pack", until Epic Games CEO Mark Rein decided that it'd be a standalone game.
Viewtiful Joe 2 would have had a co-op mode where one player plays as Joe and the other as Sylvia. This was implied in the first teaser trailer, but Capcom decided to remove this early during the development process.
One of the most clear examples is the Wrath Of The Lich King expansion's scrapped aspects. It was intended that there be a Gundrak raid and a third wing of Utgarde Keep, and Crystalsong forest was intended to be the home of the Argent Crusade tournament (as opposed to containing the floating city of Dalran and nothing else) By far most painful, it was initially intended that the Azjol-Nerub kingdoms be an entire underground zone in which players would have significant interaction with Anub'arak, Arthas' third in command, and presumably deal with the sinister and desperate spider-like Nerubians who used to rule most of Northrend. Instead, there are two dungeons. Anu'barak is the boss of the lower level one. He has no effect on the game apart from that, though he comes back as a boss under the tournament. And there are a grand total of four living Nerubians in the game, and only one of them even has a name (though more were added in Cataclysm). This is particularly odd given that they introduced tons of new races in Northrend, but gave no presence to the race that people had known was there since Warcraft 3 came out in 2002.
The Burning Crusade was just as bad about this; several characters that were slated for return were left out completely, and so called “portal worlds” (completely different, presumably legion held planets that would have been accessed via portals) were excluded, though they were a bit selling point of the expansion.
Hero classes were a feature mentioned before the game was released. Six years since the initial release, they have only created one (Death Knights). Paladins were at one point going to be one, but ultimately made a normal class.
The original plan for Death Knights was that you would convert a high-leveled character into one rather than rolling a fresh toon. This was scrapped due to concerns players would turn their character into a Death Knight and then decide that they liked their original class more. They then toyed with the idea of having a quest chain in Northrend where your higher level toons would interact what would become the freed Death Knights. In the end, they compromised and let people roll a Death Knight once they hit the prerequisite level of 55, and gave them a starting zone all to themselves which explained their back story first-hand.
Cataclysm was also supposed to implement a feature called Path of the Titans, that would've acted as an alternative to the normal talent system to give even more customization to your character, and would have combined the new archaeology profession with a redesigned glyph system. However, the system wasn't found to be effective at giving the customization they wanted, and instead it was scrapped.
THQ and AKI started work on a sequel to WWF No Mercy called WWF Backlash. They were around 20% complete when the game was cancelled due to Nintendo deciding to cut support for the N64.
Xenosaga. The series was meant to be a six-game epic spanning several console generations, but due to Executive Meddling (such as firing basically everyone on the project) and the crapfest of a game (Episode II) it produced, it was not to be—despite the positive reception of Episode III, which came about after they fired almost all of the replacement staff from Episode II.
Made even more complicated when you realize that the original plan for a series of six linked games comes from the time when the developers were all still part of Square (and the rough timeline of which was released in Japan as a book called Xenogears Perfect Works, which no one else ever got, naturally), and the game Xenogears (released on the PS1) was originally intended to be part FIVE of six. After the developers left Square and formed Monolith Soft, the original intent was to start over from scratch, releasing all six games in order and doing a completely new version of the fifth game (essentially replacing Xenogears). And then things got REALLY complicated...
Ultimately, the entire plot of the first "chapter" (as outlined in Perfect Works) was reduced to little more than a prologue cut-scene in Xenosaga Episode I, while what was originally supposed to be "Chapter 2 of 6" (as per Perfect Works) kept expanding until the entire plot of all three Xenosaga games are covering what was intended to be the plot of a SINGLE game. In other words, the original plan to produce a story in six chapters, as presented in Perfect Works, with each game telling a single chapter, wound up producing four games - with only "Chapter Five" and "Chapter Two" being told (with "Chapter One" turned into a footnote and "Chapter Two" being three times longer than it was supposed to be). And we all thought George Lucas was bad at episode numbering...
A similar fate befell its spiritual predecessor, Xenogears. They dev team (the one that was ultimately axed midway through Episode II's development cycle) ran out of time and money just as they were starting the second disc. A masterpiece of a game which climaxed with fighting and killing God was hobbled, a game meant to last over 80 hours got cut to 60 or so, and most of the story of the second disc was cut to characters narrating on a rocking chair while a pre-rendered tableau of what you would have been playing at that moment appeared behind them. What's more, two whole gears (what would have been Maria and Emerelda's Omnigears) were left on the cutting room floor because of the time and money constraints.
The Darcsen ethnic group in Valkyria Chronicles were originally going to be Beastmen. One must wonder if people would have accused the game of historical revisionism (see page for details) if they had stuck with this plan.
Prophecy was supposed to have the glowy bits at the ends of the Tiamat's arms work like the shipkiller plasma cannon mounted on the Kraken, but time constraints resulted in the feature never being implemented.
In the sequel, Secret Ops, the Murphy class destroyers were supposed to have an anti-capship gun mounted in the nose, but again time constraints lead to it being cut. The barrel of the planned gun is still visible on the model, but it's not functional, leaving the destroyer with its pathetic laser turret armament as the only thing backing up the handful of fighters it could carry.
The Wonderful 101 could have starred a team of Nintendo characters/famous video game characters. In fact, there were plans for 100 Nintendo stars fighting evil as a team, kind of like Super Smash Bros meets Pikmin. It is also said that once the 100 superheroes idea was decided on, it was going to have a dark, "mature" artstyle, but Platinum felt that they've done that too many times, so they used the colorful, cute artstyle that made its way into the final version.
X-Wing Alliance: Planned ships that didn't made the final cut were the Starviper from Shadows of the Empire and a modified Strike Cruiser. Also, a multiplayer function would have allowed one player to fly the ship and a second one the turret (for freighter ships). This is also the only game of the series without an expansion pack.
The multiplayer function to allow a gunner for some ships is programmed into the game and works. The only issue is none of the ships are flagged for being flyable with a gunner. It is unknown why this feature was removed since enabling the flag for ships that can support a gunner doesn't cause any issues.
Video Game Systems and Peripherals
During the era of the Super Nintendo, Nintendo and Sony were going to partner up and develop a console together. On the day of Nintendo's meeting with stockholders, Nintendo went through the propose contract that Sony wrote up and discovered something shocking; if Nintendo agreed to Sony's contract, Sony would then have full rights to all of Nintendo's intellectual properties, which meant that Sony could create games based on Nintendo's franchises and Nintendo couldn't do anything about it. The discovery convinced Nintendo to tear up the contract and make a surprise announcement that they would be partnering with Phillips to create the CD-i console. This would cause Sony to create the Playstation later on. Who knows how things would have been if Nintendo stuck to partnering with Sony.
The SNES was also supposed to be backwards compatible with NES titles, but the feature was scrapped when they realized it would boost the price of the hardware.
The N64 Disk Drive was planned to be used outside of Japan and its function was to add additional memory and space to allow the Nintendo 64 to have slightly more power and allow more content to be made due to the expanded storage. The add-on didn't do too well in Japan, so it was never released overseas, but the expanded memory that the device used would be seen as the Expansion Pak that would be needed for games like The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and Perfect Dark.
The Gamecube in Japan had a peripheral that allowed the system to play DVDs. It was never released overseas due to Nintendo of America and Europe showing little interest and not wanting to pay a licensing fee for each DVD device add-on sold.
The Gamecube also had the broadband and modem adaptors that would allow the system to play LAN and online games. Only 7 games were made with the features in mind and Nintendo quietly shelved the add-ons to focus on the Nintendo DS and Wii having online features.
In addition to the stereoscopic capability mentioned under the Luigi's Mansion entry above, Nintendo had also considered a touchscreen peripheral and motion controllers for the GameCube at various points, according to interviews with R&D staffers.
The Wii was going to have fully developed motion controls, but Nintendo had to scale it back due to the cost being too high and it would have been passed on to the consumers. Nintendo eventually came up with the Wii Motionplus to achieve what they wanted with motion controls since the start, but who knows how the Wii would have been received by critics and developers if the full controls were present from the get go.
While developing the Dreamcast, Sega actually trialled two designs for the console. One was called "Black Belt," which was designed by Sega of America and used a Motorola CPU and a 3dfx graphics chip. The other was "Katana," designed by Sega of Japan and featuring an Hitachi CPU and a PowerVR graphics chip. In truth Sega knew from very early on that they wouldn't use the "Black Belt" design, as 3dfx's chip absolutely sucked in comparison to the PowerVR one, but they strung the company on anyway in order to get information and software that would improve their own development tools (the Saturn's development tools were pretty poor, which had been a major problem for development on that console), which ultimately led to 3dfx suing Sega and getting an out-of-court settlement — for all the good it did them, as they went bust a few months later anyway.
Sega was actually in talks with Microsoft in allowing the Xbox to play Dreamcast games. However, talks broke down when Microsoft refused to allow Internet connection for the Dreamcast games.