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What Could Have Been / Meta Runner

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What Tari was originally meant to look like.
Meta Runner was Luke and Kevin's biggest project to date at the time, costing tons of money to make and development of the first season alone being described as "organized chaos". So, it's quite understandable that more than a few changes were made, from different initial designs to different opening scenes.
  • From the "Making of Tari" video:
    • As shown by the page image, Tari was originally going to be a full robot instead of the cyborg she eventually became. The robot design was later reused for Tariís Hidden Heroes appearance in Season 2.
    • Theo's original design was more human-like, resembling the title character of Steven Universe, before he evolved into his final chibi-esque design.
    • Belle's design was slightly different, originally having a bit of an overbite. She was also written to resent Tari for her abilities despite her naivete, which was removed from her overall characterization. Notably, this subplot would be reworked into Season 2 with Evelyn.
  • According to a Reddit AMA, TASCorp has a mascot named Bo, who was originally going to have a much bigger presence in season 1, but most of her appearances were cut, being relegated to brief appearances on billboards. She ended up having a bigger presence going forward, as not only did she narrate and appear in the teaser trailer for season 2, she was also made into the official mascot for Glitch and also appeared in several videos, revealing Bo is an AI who makes promo videos for various clients across the multiverse with the help of her computer assistant, Dorothy. Don't ask what the difference between an AI and a computer assistant is.
  • Several details in the Season 1 deleted scenes video:
    • An alternate version of the first episode was made, before Glitch threw it out and started from scratch. While mostly similar in plot to the final product, the most notable differences include Dr. Sheridan and his Opening Monologue being absent, Tari waking up in a junkyard instead of a lab, and a cut scene involving Tari looking at powdered food in the TASCorp store.
    • The powdered food concept, based on real-life food replacement Soylent, was pushed at first but later dropped.
    • The original graphics and lighting, which Kevin wanted to have a similar style to the ones in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, were noticeably different compared to the final product, most notably in the first trailer and the poster.
    • On top of the design differences, Belle would have been much more submissive around Lucks than in the final version.
    • The original version of the second episode was briefly shown in the video, and it too had some differences from the final product. The scene of Tari and Theo talking while navigating the obstacle course originally had no obstacle course and just had them walking and talking. (To quote Kevin: "She goes into this platforming game, there's no platforming!") Also, Theo originally had to locate a "lemon cannon" to progress through the level (which leads to a scene where Tari is knocked back by an in-game text box.), but this concept was cut due to a lack of resources to get it into the final product in time. A longer verison of that episode's fight scene also would have seen Theo using said lemon cannon in battle.
    • One of Lucks' original concepts pitched him as a Steampunk-themed man who was against video games and technology because he was bullied for not playing them as a child, but this was dropped when Kevin and Luke realized it wouldn't make sense for a man who hates technology to run a tech-centered company.
    • Another TASCorp Meta Runner named Ray Faraday was one of the original character concepts that was cut. Masa still uses his name as an alias to get into the Tempest tournament.
    • An early draft for the first episode, made before Belle was even conceptualized, had Tari just walking into the store and starting to play a video game before immediately warping inside, before being kidnapped by Lucks himself while she was still inside the game, taking her straight to TASCorp and experimenting on her.
    • Another early draft had Lucks personally introducing a whole group of his Meta Runners to the speedrunning arena, but the crew realized it would take a long time to come up with a whole group of them and whittled it down to just Belle.
    • A scene involving Theo and Tari trying to persuade a robot receptionist to let them in to the streaming pod cafe was dropped due to being too dialouge-heavy.
    • Battle Blaze was originally gonna be a fighting game based off of Dragon King, the game concept that eventually became Super Smash Bros., but was changed into a Counter-Strike-esque first person shooter when the fighting game concept proved too ambitious for the technology they had.
    • Tempest was originally a basic Battle Royale Game similar to Player Unknowns Battlegrounds, as the show was being written when the battle royale genre was a hot new concept in the gaming industry. But as more battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends entered the market, the original shooter concept felt stale and was dropped. One concept for a "platforming battle royale", where players use the guns to propell themselves into the air, was tossed around, but was ulitmlety scarpped because the crew thought it would be too boring to watch instead of play. They eventually settled on the concept of using magic spells. Tempest also underwent a name change, orignally being called Warlock Warfare. A billboard with the original concept art for Warlock Warfare can be spotted in the pilot.
    • MD-5 was originally a lot more violent, and an early draft for the last episode of season 1 would have had them go into the TASCorp offices and partake in a bloody shootout with TASCorp agents. This was dropped when co-writer Jasmine Yang pointed out that this would make MD-5 hard to take seriously as heroes.
    • The act of decommissioning (removing a Meta Runner's arm) would have been demonstrated by having Lucks tear off a Meta Runner's arm with his bare hands, but this was cut as the crew felt that would have been too vile even by Lucks' standards.
  • According to The Final AMA, Season 2 was originally going to feature more game characters being brought into the real world by Tari, including a wolf character from an FPS game. This was scrapped in favor of focusing on the relationships and stories of the existing characters.