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What Could Have Been / A Hat in Time

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Concept art of Hat Kid’s scrapped adult form.

A Hat in Time went through plenty of changes during it’s development cycle and has become notable for the surprisingly large amount of cut content from the game, ranging from story beats, characters, gameplay mechanics and even entire worlds.

  • The developers wanted a Wii U version to happen, but issues with licensing the Unreal engine and the Wii U's time having come to a close by the time of the game's release, and it's safe to say any chance of the game hitting that console died before it even presented itself.
  • One of the chapters revealed during the Kickstarter period of the game was "Trainwreck of Science", set to be the third chapter and focusing on the Conductor and his Owl Express, and its plot involved Hat Kid crashing the train into the moon and being forced to pay off the debt. By 2016, the plot was changed to be based around a film competition between the Conductor and DJ Grooves, and it was renamed to "Last Bird Standing" for its trailer at the end of the year. It was re-renamed to Battle of the Birds and placed as Chapter 2 (swapping places with Subcon Forest) for the final game.
  • Chapter 4 was originally planned to be a desert called "Sand n' Sails". The developers decided that the planned gameplay for the chapter wouldn't mesh with the visuals, so it was revamped into a mountainous world of Alpine Skyline. The music tracks for Sands n' Sails, however, are salvaged and used as practice tunes for the Wowl band, as well as being implemented into the B-side soundtrack.
  • Chapter 1 was originally named "Down With the Mafia", while the final game calls it Mafia Town. The original name is instead used for Act 4 of that chapter.
  • In the second beta in Subcon Forest, Queen Vanessa's Manor had a large attic section involving chasing a ghost shaped like Hat Kid who stole the key to the final room. In the final game, this entire segment is nowhere to be seen, and the game (very sloppily) warps you to the last room after getting the second key. Presumably, if they had left it in, it would have made it run a bit too close to a Marathon Level, as just getting to the manor is decently lengthy with the free roam. Another possibility is that the "Ghost" is The Snatcher, who is (sorta) allied to you, so it wouldn't make sense for him to interfere with you.
    • Word of God states that the real reason is simple: The devs were unhappy with how the puzzle turned out and wanted to redo it, but ran out of time, so they instead hastily scrapped it entirely.
  • Also in the manor, before secret levels were split up from the level itself and turned into Time Rifts, a hidden switch would move a bookcase to lead you into one. The bookcase still exists and can still be moved via the switch, but now it's just a flat out dead end.
  • Numerous characters were cut from the final game. When asked why, Word of God stated that they decided to go with a "less is more" approach, and focus on making the few characters they had distinct instead of having too many to feasibly focus on. Many of them ended up being cameos in the form of ice statues in Queen Vanessa's Manor and still remain in the game code.
    • Thor, an inventor, was going to be in Mafia Town, but was moved to Sands n' Sails. Once that act was reworked into Alpine Skyline, he was removed from the story entirely.
    • There was a character called the "Moonjumper", who was part of the beta, and the one in a power struggle between himself and Queen Vanessa for Subcon, along with the implication he's her long-dead lover. He was cut sometime during development, with his Leitmotif going to the Badge Seller, and role and backstory going to the Snatcher.
    • A character named Timmy was planned for the game, and made it pretty far in as a possible co-op partner, before eventually being dropped for a new co-op character because the crew eventually hated him, primarily due to how he was designed, with the eventual co-op character ending up being a girl called "Bow Kid". Another potential idea for a co-op character after Timmy was cut was one of the various Alpine Skyline Nomads.
    • In an earlier version of "Murder on the Owl Express", there was going to be a Shapeshifter, who would have disguised itself as other passengers and killed them, but was scrapped.
    • A character named "Oldster", an old man wearing nothing but underwear, was the original person Hat Kid chased in "She Came From Outer Space", and would have had a heart attack upon the end of the chase, forcing Hat Kid to revive him. He was scrapped in favor of the Goofy Mafia.
    • There was a character named Tim, CEO of Time, who also had a friend that was some sort of 2D octopus creature that could warp reality. Both were cut, likely to simplify the plot of the game.
    • Hat Adult, an older version of Hat Kid, was playable during the alpha build's final chapter. Her appearance in the build showed her at a bookstore teasing other chapters, though according to an interview, her role was going to be in a significant capacity similar to Link's time travel in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.In an interview with Beta64, Jonas Kaerlev explained that it was a lot of work to get Hat Adult working properly and when testing her out, playtesters told the team they missed playing as Hat Kid. The team tried to get her to work, but the team ultimately decided she didn't, so she was scrapped after the beta.
    • Mr. TV, also known as The Narrator, who would've narrated a level in Sand n' Sails that paid homage to The Twilight Zone. He was axed when Sand n' Sails became Alpine Skyline. He got as far as having a completed model (which can be found in the game files, though with no animations), and having voiceovers recorded.
  • There was going to be another playable section with Mustache Girl making her way to Subcon to take the Time Pieces before Hat Kid could get there, but meets up with the Snatcher, managing to guess all of his major traits, and then making fun of him until he decides to just kick her out of the forest. Remnants of this can still be found in the final game's code, but isn't voice acted.
  • Nyakuza Metro was considered as far back as the beginning of development, but was passed over for the (eventually changed) worlds in the base game. It was finally realized as the second DLC for the game.
  • The game initially started development as a Hack and Slash game, but was quickly changed into a 3D platformer as the creator found jumping around to be more fun than the hack and slash gameplay.
  • In the same interview with Beta64 mentioned above, Jonas stated that in early prototypes the team planned on having Acts be connected on a timeline that could diverge depending on how the player plays the game (for example, after completing Acts 1 and 2, you could get acts 3 and 4, or Acts 5 and 6 instead). It was scrapped because it had a lot of problems, mainly that it made a simple start-to-end playthrough too short.
  • In early builds and screenshots, the game showcased a cel-shaded style heavily reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. According to the game's creator, it was used to aid their low budget and experience at the time, as the style allowed them to not put as much work and detail into the models and could smooth over whatever mistakes they made. This style was tossed out after the Kickstarter, as the team realized that the budget it gave them allowed them to put more effort and work into the production than prior as well as having become more experienced by that point and felt they could do more than prior.
  • In an interview with Eurogamer from 2012 Jonas hinted at a VERY different idea for Chapter 2. While the full details of the idea aren't known, he stated in the interview that Act 1 of Chapter 2 would involve Hat Kid telling a dressmaker to make a dress for her and deliver it to another location. Said dress would then be available once Hat Kid arrives at that location.
  • The ending in which you give Mustache Girl the one Time Piece was originally very different. According to William Nicholls (the lead 3D artist of the game) in one stream, because Hat Kid wouldn't have enough time pieces to get back home, she ended up having to abandon her spaceship and walk back home instead, becoming an adult in the process and by the time she did so, an adult Mustache Girl would pop up and give back the one Time Piece to Hat Adult. Unsurprisingly though, like the concept of Hat Adult as a whole, this ending was scrapped entirely.
  • In addition to being the co-op character, Timmy was going to be part of Subcon Forest in an earlier version of Queen Vanessa's Manor, which was described as a "living haunted mansion". Jonas stated in Beta64's interview that as time went on, it made less and less sense to have Timmy be part of Subcon Forest, as well as the fact that having both Timmy and Queen Vanessa be part of the manor "made it too much", so he was removed and became just the co-op character before being removed entirely.
  • The ending originally had a scene where a Mafia Goon, the Mafia Boss, DJ Grooves, the Snatcher, and the Conductor would talk about Hat Kid while eating out in a cafe. Remnants of this can still be found in the game files.
  • In a video discussing some of the cut content of the Subcon Forest note , YouTube user Wolfcl0ck mentioned he was told by some of the developers that there was going to be an "upside-down" portion of the forest.
  • Before Hat Kid's Spaceship became the hub, each world was going to have its own hub area in the form of hourglasses that would have different settings depending on what period in time you were in.
  • Mafia Town was called The City of Calcite and Adventure in early builds.
  • Hat Kid used to look VERY different.
  • Originally, Hat Kid had a spin attack that could allow her to attack in the air; however, according to Jonas, this clashed with what they wanted to do with the enemies and how they behave around Hat Kid, so they cut it out entirely.
  • Hat Kid in general was originally gonna have a lot more combat and movement options via upgrades that can be added to her umbrella such as a pogo stick and the like; however, this idea was cut out after the Kickstarter. The hookshot became a badge, while the pogo stick was replaced with the functionally-similar Ice Hat.
  • Eric Glieser was originally the composer until he was hired elsewhere, forcing him to leave Gears for Breakfast. Subsequently, Pascal Michael Stiefel replaced him and all of Eric's work was thrown out. A playlist of Eric's completed tracks can be heard here.
  • The Toilet of Doom and The Snatcher were fought back to back at some point in development before splitting them off. This may explain why there's a Time Piece just randomly floating in the beginning of "Your Contract has Expired".
  • The early version of the track for the manhole sections in Nyakuza Metro was drastically different from the final track in both composition and tone and was rejected and replaced entirely with the more mellow theme seen in the final release due to it being considered too wacky for the sections.
  • The designs of the Mafia Goons (specifically, their heads) originally looked closer to that of concept art by Luigi Lucarelli. Just before the game's final release, they were redesigned to closer match Jenna Brown's take on the Mafia Goons.


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