It's not uncommon for a game to start off on one console and be released on the next generation console. This usually occurs to late-cycle games but can also occur to games stuck in Development Hell. Often overlaps with Schedule Slip if unexpected delays in a game's production pushes its release to near or after the launch of the next-generation.
There are many reasons why this happens, the most obvious being in order to take advantage of improved hardware. Another common reason is because late-in-life titles don't usually sell that well. With many gamers making the leap to the newest console or handheld, porting or remaking a title for the next gen is the best bet for sales.
In a certain way, sometimes consoles themselves can have this happen, originating as add-ons or planned features for older consoles before eventually releasing as entirely new systems.
See also Cross-Generation Video Game, where a game is developed and released on multiple generations of consoles simultaneously.
- One of the last games in development for the Nintendo 64 was a Rareware title named Dinosaur Planet. It was well into development and was even late enough in development to be advertised at conventions. However, it was decided for it to be moved to the Nintendo GameCube in order to take advantage of the tech and because the N64 was at the end of its life cycle. Development was extended further when Shigeru Miyamoto noted that the game looked like it could take place in the Star Fox universe and gave the idea to the team of reworking the title into a Star Fox game, with them reluctantly agreeing due to the increased sales potential of using the Star Fox brand, replacing main male Sabre with Fox. Unfortunately, Microsoft bought Rare out during development, and the deadline imposed by that forced them to make changes to get the game out on time before they had to leave Nintendo, including the main female (Krystal) becoming a Damsel in Distress instead of a major playable character (with her design being revamped to be Hotter and Sexier), many areas being removed and the number of Spellstones and Krazoa Spirits being decreased from six and eight respectively to four and six, General Scales having his boss fight cut, and most of the story getting cut (what was left got dumbed down). The game ultimately came out as Star Fox Adventures.
- Kameo: Elements of Power has its development span across four different consoles. It was initially conceived as an Nintendo 64 title before being developed as a potential GameCube launch title. Then developer Rare was purchased by Microsoft, at which point Kameo was shifted to the Xbox and began being retooled for the more young adult-skewing demographic of the console, which ultimately pushed it to finally release on the Xbox 360.
- Hollow Knight was originally planned to launch on the Wii U and the PlayStation Vita, but those versions were eventually cancelled, with the former having a Nintendo Switch version came out in its stead.
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was originally going to be released on the GameCube like its predecessors, but development was later shifted to the Wii. A GameCube prototype exists for the game, though it requires more RAM than the retail console has, meaning that it can only run on a development kit with the necessary memory or an emulator.
- Metroid Dread was originally planned for the Nintendo DS, but series producer Yoshio Sakamoto felt its hardware was not powerful enough to convey his vision for the game, so it fell into Development Hell before finally emerging on the Nintendo Switch in 2021. Given how the E.M.M.I. perform in comparison to the SA-X, it was for the best.
- Cubivore started out as a late Nintendo 64 title but was moved to the Gamecube.
- The Last Guardian was announced at E3 2009 for the PlayStation 3 but didn't end up coming out until 7 years later on the PlayStation 4.
- Nioh was announced at E3 2005 during the press conference where the PlayStation 3 itself was revealed. The game wasn't released until 2017 (12 years later) on the PlayStation 4.
- ICO started life as a PS1 title, but got ported to PS2 midway. One artifact of that is the game running in 240p mode, needlessly upscaled to 480i (or 288p to 576i for the PAL release).
- Too Human started out as a PlayStation title, before becoming a GameCube title, then a Wii title, and finally an Xbox 360 title. The change resulted in Silicon Knights revoking their status as a Nintendo second-party developer to work with Microsoft.
- Shining Wisdom was rushed to be released on the Sega Saturn rather than the Sega Genesis due to Sega's surprise launch of that console several months early.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time started out as a 64DD title tentatively called Zelda 64. The 64DD being stuck in development hell for several years resulted in the game being changed to a regular Nintendo 64 title. This meant environment elements such as grass growing naturally and player footsteps remaining in the sand got scrapped for technical reasons. An expansion called Ura Zelda was also planned for the 64DD, and while this became vaporware, it would come to inspire the Master Quest mode in the GameCube re-release and Nintendo 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was planned as a 64DD Expansion Pack for Ocarina of Time called Zelda Gaiden. The failure of the Nintendo 64DD was the initial driving force to make the project a full-fledged sequel.
- GoldenEye (1997): Rare first conceived the game as a 2D platformer for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System; however, they later moved it to the Nintendo 64, where it became the highly influential First-Person Shooter that we know today.
- Halo: Combat Evolved went through two platform changes and one genre change before it was finally released. Steve Jobs himself introduced the game as Mac-exclusive Real-Time Strategy game during a Macworld expo keynote speech. Bungie later changed it into a shooter for both Microsoft Windows and Mac. Then, Microsoft bought Bungie, and made it an exclusive launch title for the Xbox. Funnily enough, it ended up getting ported to both PC and Mac after all, though two years later and by third parties (Gearbox Software handling the PC port and Westlake Interactive getting the Mac port).
- Eternal Darkness started off as an N64 title, but spent many years in Development Hell before finally being launched on the Nintendo GameCube after Nintendo intervened and course corrected its development.
- Resident Evil 0 had its development shifted to the GameCube, both because of the N64's low install base and to put its graphics on par with the remake of Resident Evil.
- The most infamous example was the PlayStation and the SNES CD-ROM. The PlayStation originated as an CD-based add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that was a joint effort between Nintendo and Sony. However, Nintendo abruptly called off the deal when they discovered terms in the agreement that weren't to their liking. Sony then took the idea to Sega instead out of retaliation. While Sega of America was on board, Sega of Japan vetoed it, leading Sony to release the PlayStation as a stand-alone console to great success.
- As supported by the number of Nintendo GameCube games that ended up as Wii games, there's evidencenote that the Wii itself started development as an add on for the GameCube that provided its signature feature of motion controls as well as slightly increased power. This idea was likely abandoned due to the shaky historical performance of console add-ons (at the time barely ten years had passed since the infamous Sega 32X or Atari Jaguar CD ) as well as the GameCube's limited install base making it a better strategy for Nintendo to release a whole new console. The internal hardware of the Wii also reflects this, given how it's basically an overclocked GameCube with extra memory.
- Nintendo also considered releasing a slimmed-down, portable version of the GameCube that could connect to a TV via a docking station. They never went through with this idea on that console, but they later revisited it and made it the defining feature of the Nintendo Switch.
- Nintendo looked into implementing stereoscopic 3D on a number of their systems before finally doing so with the Nintendo 3DS. These include a 3D glasses accessory for the Famicom that was only supported by a select few games, and special 3D display accessories for both the Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance that were scrapped; the former because it would have cost more than the GameCube itself, and the latter because the GBA's low resolution would have made the 3D effect unsatisfactory.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Knuckles Chaotix began development as a Sega Genesis title under the name Sonic Crackers. When Sega realized that the sun was rapidly setting on the 16-bit era, they moved the game to the Sega 32X (it was also considered for the Sega Saturn, but its increasingly stagnant development and a lack of 32X titles led to it being moved there instead), reorienting it to remove Sonic & Tails and instead give Knuckles A Day in the Limelight.
- Sonic Adventure started out life on the Sega Saturn using the "Sonic World" engine from Sonic Jam. Early in development, it was moved to the then-upcoming Sega Dreamcast.
- A Wii U version of Yooka-Laylee was planned, but cancelled when development moved towards the Nintendo Switch.
- Donkey Kong 64 was planned as a Nintendo 64DD title instead of a Nintendo 64 title. The fact that it is one of the two N64 games that required the 4MB memory Expansion Pack to work at all might stem from this.
- Banjo-Kazooie went through this along with a Mid-Development Genre Shift. The developers originally envisioned it as a pirate-themed RPG-adventure for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System before deciding to turn it into a Funny Animal 3D Collect-a-Thon Platformer for the Nintendo 64.
- According to a Super Mario Galaxy preview on G4 (circa 2006), it was initially going to be a Nintendo GameCube game (this was in turn one of the remnants of the cancelled Super Mario 128 project).
- The first The Legendary Starfy title started development in 1995 for the Game Boy. It was moved to the Game Boy Color before finally being released as a Game Boy Advance title in 2002.
- The original Rayman game started development as a Super NES game, but it was later shifted to the Atari Jaguar, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn.
- The Witness was originally planned for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but later moved to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 after the game engine grew beyond the capabilities of the 7th generation.
- Kirby Air Ride for the Nintendo GameCube started life as an early Nintendo 64 title called Kirby Bowl, a sequel to Kirby's Dream Course, then Kirby's Air Ride. This incarnation of the game ended up being cancelled, but eventually got revived as a GameCube game.
- Donkey Kong Barrel Blast was meant to be released on the GameCube, using the DK Bongos made for Donkey Konga. It then became a Wii title, using motion controls instead of the bongos.
- EarthBound 64 (Mother 3 in Japan) started out as a Super Nintendo Entertainment System game, then a 64DD game, then a standard Nintendo 64 title, but development stagnated due to a mix of Shigesato Itoi overestimating the N64's capabilities and the dev team's inexperience with 3D, which led to the game getting cancelled in 2000. Six years later, it came out as the sprite-based (and Japanese only) Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance.
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade was originally intended for the Nintendo 64, but some Troubled Production caused by the failure of the 64DD peripheral led to development being restarted from scratch and moved to the Game Boy Advance.
- Shenmue was originally made under Sega Saturn during the last years of this console, but due to limitations of the system and the upcoming arrival of the then-next console Sega Dreamcast, developers decided to move the game to that new platform. Actually there're plenty of images when the game was in development, as well some videos. Also, there's a strong rumour about a Saturn ISO with the beta on the internet and some few people that claims they have this beta, but nothing confirmed until now.
- Super Paper Mario was originally designed for the Nintendo GameCube, but it was changed over to the Wii during development. A dual-platform release was considered at one point, and the game contains Dummied Out assets intended for the GameCube version, including interface elements and lower quality versions of the graphics designed for the older console's weaker hardware.
- This trope happened on two notable occasions with the Final Fantasy series:
- Development for Final Fantasy VII originally started on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, but was postponed in favor of working on Chrono Trigger. Once that game was released, Square revisited the project on the Nintendo 64, until frustrations with Nintendo's use of cartridges on the system (rather than the more capable Compact Disc format) combined with longstanding issues with the company's licensing and censorship policies motivated the developers to shift focus to the PlayStation, on which it would ultimately release.
- Final Fantasy XV was announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII for the PlayStation 3, a spin-off of the then-still-upcoming Final Fantasy XIII. After a decade of Schedule Slip, the connection to Final Fantasy XIII was dropped, and it was it reworked into the series' next mainline installment that ultimately released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
- OMORI was supposed to come out on Nintendo 3DS in addition to PC as part of a stretch goal, but when the game's development cycle eclipsed the 3DS's lifecycle, the game was ported to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 instead.
- Atlus originally planned Persona 4 Golden as a PSP demake similar to what they did with Persona 3 Portable. However, after the PlayStation Vita was announced, they chose to make it for that system instead since it would allow them to produce a Polished Port.
- The original Shadow Hearts was originally planned for the PlayStation, like its predecessor Koudelka. Development shifted to the PlayStation 2 for the final release.
- Tomato Adventure was originally titled Gimmick Land and intended for the Game Boy Color. Developer AlphaDream moved it to the Game Boy Advance and changed its name when that console got released.
- According to Toby Fox, Nintendo approached him about the possibility of porting Undertale to the Wii U and/or Nintendo 3DS, only for the idea to be scrapped due to neither system supporting Game Maker (which Undertale was developed with). The game would eventually be ported to the Nintendo Switch, the successor system to both devices, which did support Game Maker.
- Ketsui was going to be ported to PS2 by Arika, however the port was scrapped because the PS2 doesn't have enough memory for a background-swapping process in Stage 5. Instead, the first home port of the game would be released on the 360 and PS3, handled by 5pb instead.
- A Wii U port of Stardew Valley was scrapped in order for it to instead appear on the Nintendo Switch.
- Nintendogs was conceived as a Nintendo GameCube title however it was moved to the Nintendo DS to take advantage of its touch-screen.
- Pokémon Snap started out as a Nintendo 64DD game, but like many similar projects, became a standard Nintendo 64 game after the peripheral's failure.
- According to New Pokémon Snap director Haruki Suzaki, when he was brought onto the project he discovered that there were several prior attempts to develop such a game for various (unspecified) consoles, before plans were finally settled to develop the game for the Nintendo Switch.