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  • Galaxy in Turmoil was a going to be a fan made Star Wars game based on the canceled Battlefront III. After receiving a cease and desist, the game was redesigned as a non-Star Wars game released on Steam.
  • The Getaway 3, by SCE London Studio, was planned for the PlayStation 3, with rumors that development was moved to PlayStation 4, before being cancelled entirely.
  • Glider PRO: In early builds of the game, the boom box played a brief sound clip of Kansas Punk Rock band The Embarrassment, apparently from their song "Sex Drive."
  • God of War:
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    • God of War: The game 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.
    • A possible modern-day version was planned, 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. The game had a boss fight against his brother, but it was the other one he hadn't killed by that point.
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    • 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. Jaffe's idea is possibly the inspiration for the semi-reboot sequel, where it features an older Kratos in a Norse setting with his young son.
    • 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:
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    • The game 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.
    • 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 planned 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.
    • Co-designer Martin Hollis revealed that Nintendo, unhappy with the game's violent content, had a lot of the blood and gore content removed from the final product (save for the infamous death sequence once the player lost all health). He also pointed out that Shigeru Miyamoto once contacted the team and suggested that the game end with Bond shaking hands with the enemies he killed at a hospital.
    • Before all this,there was originally going to be a tie-in game for Octopussy, imaginatively titled James Bond 007 As Seen In Octopussy. It consisted solely of Bond running around on a boxcar.
  • The first two 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.
  • 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.
  • Gotham By Gaslight by Fracture 1 was going to be a video game adaptation of the very first Elseworlds story of the same name, where a Victorian era Batman battled Jack The Ripper. The game was cancelled in 2010.
  • One of the designers of Gradius V had the idea borrowed from the MSX Nemesis games, 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 also originally planned to have an arcade release, just like its mainline predecessors.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • 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 either the cops or the criminals.
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City:
      • In a very strange case, tear gas was available as a weapon in the first copies of the game, just to be removed completely in later editions.
      • The game was originally intended as an Expansion Pack for GTA III, with new weapons, vehicles, and missions. The developers realized that the content they had planned was enough to create an entire separate game, and so they spun it off into Vice City.
    • 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. Due to the large amount of work that would've been needed to implement an entire district of a city for one mission, the mission was instead placed inside the Bistro, with only a few shots of the outside area during a cutscene.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV was originally supposed to have areas based on upstate New York and Long Island. This was scrapped early in development, though references to an area called "the Carraways" (presumably based on the Hamptons) still exist in the final product and in the expansion packs.
    • For Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar originally had single-player expansions in the works that would have continued the story of the game's protagonists, including a new casino heist and a Zombie Apocalypse-themed expansion similar to Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. However, the Obvious Beta state of the game's multiplayer mode, GTA Online, at launch necessitated lots of work to fix it, and furthermore, GTA Online went on to become an unexpectedly massive Cash Cow Franchise, causing Rockstar to redirect its post-launch support to adding new multiplayer content. Some of the things they were planning to add to single-player through expansions, including the casino, would be retooled into multiplayer expansions instead.
  • In late 1982, The Great Game Company (which would later become GameTek) announced plans to adapt seven game shows into video games for the Atari 2600: Family Feud, Jeopardy!, The Joker's Wild, Password Plus, The Price Is Right, Tic-Tac-Dough and Wheel of Fortune. Unfortunately, they were being developed just as The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 started and the plans were put to an abrupt end. Of the seven games, only Feud got far enough for a prototype which is presumed to be lost.
  • Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters was going to have a PSP port.
  • 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 specifically there was the fourth stand-alone campaign Guild Wars: Utopia, which was scrapped in favor of making Guild Wars 2. Some of the Utopia assets did get incorporated into the Eye Of The North expansion, particularly in the Tarnished Coast area. However major ideas like the Chronomancer and Summoner classes, as well as a Sidhe race, were ultimately scrapped.
    • Guild Wars Beyond was a series of updates meant to bridge the narrative gap to the sequel. Development on this content was cut short when the team working on it was moved to the sequel. Three additional storylines, including the founding of Ebonhawke which features in the sequel, were never implemented as a result.
  • Half-Life:
    • 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. Compare the final attack on White Forest in the original to the retail battle.
    • 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 reference, 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 right away while filling some time for the rebels to get their act together.
    • Here's a bizarre-sounding one: 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. He was one of several enemies designed but ultimately not implemented as part of a push to go for a more psychological-horror theme for the game, particularly giving the aliens psycho-sexual behaviors and tapping into the latent homophobia of a young teen (the game's intended target audience) to disturb them.
    • 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.
    • The Orange Box originally was meant to come in two forms - while the version we got included the already-released Half-Life 2 and Episode One alongside the new Episode Two, Team Fortress 2, and Portal, there were plans to release a cut-down version, "The Black Box", which only included the new stuff for a reduced price. This ended up being scrapped, though Valve did try to make up for it by introducing a system to give away extra copies of HL2 and Ep1 if you already owned them (later leading to the full ability to buy games as gifts for people over Steam, as well as the individual parts of the "Orange Box" being able to be bought piecemeal), and still honoring third-party deals to get the Black Box, such as through vouchers included with Radeon's then-new HD 2900 graphics card.
    • Marc Laidlaw, the head writer of the first two Half-Life games, eventually released a plot summary for Episode Three on his site after a decade of no progress being made on the game. It would be revealed that the Borealis had the ability to travel through time and space instantaneously, which would lead to Alyx and Judith getting into a debate over whether to destroy the ship or not. Alyx would eventually shoot Judith and pilot the Borealis towards the Combine's command center in a suicide attack, but would be teleported away by the G-Man before impact; leaving Gordon to be rescued by the Vortiguants. Breen would have also appeared again, having his consciousness copied into an Advisor body before his death.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved:
      • In the original plot, Cortana was to go mad with power and try to use Halo to take over the galaxy.
      • The original game started development internally as a real time strategy game (essentially Myth IN 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 usable if the player had the Assault Rifle or Shotgun (which are visibly shown to have flashlights on their models) equipped. This was changed to be a helmet-mounted flashlight to avoid tedium, though it was late enough in development (or not seen as important enough to require any real effort) that the light still emits from your weapon, changing direction when reloading or smacking Covenant in the face with it.
    • 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 the original Xbox simply never could have handled):
      • There were originally going to be levels aboard the Covenant Assault Carrier (there wasn't supposed to be a bomb aboard the Cairo; Master Chief was originally going to jump off the Cairo and onto the carrier, obliterate all the Covenant inside, fight 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) and a Forerunner Tank. Also, the final few levels at the end of the game were supposed to be about the Master Chief going through Truth's ship and back to Earth.
      • The player was 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 Arbiters in "High Charity" (including several new Flood forms that were ultimately cut). Also, 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 the Cairo.
      • Oh, and to top it all off, Bungie confessed that Halo 2 and 3 were supposed to be one game, which gives a plausible explanation as to why the former ends so suddenly and the latter is so short.
    • Halo 3. Guardian Level. Ripping out its eye and killing it with it. Yes, The Guardians, Really Killed By Us. The Art of Halo 3 also showed a weapon that later became the DMR from Reach, meant to replace the Battle Rifle.
    • Halo: Reach:
      • Noble Team was originally going to escape the glassing of New Alexandria by hijacking a Covenant Scarab, which the player would then personally pilot out of the city.
      • The enormous Gùtas that appear on "Nightfall" were to appear on other levels. The Covenant would use some as mounts, and there was an assassination where the player could board one and toss a grenade in its mouth (it was also originally going to be possible for the player to assassinate Hunters in a similar manner).
      • Concept art and demo videos exist for a "Warthog of the Seas", aka a speedboat with a turret.
      • Noble Team was originally going to be comprised of seven members, but was later slimmed down to six. Two ideas for Noble Seven remain as Development Gags: Thom-A293 is the deceased Spartan whom Noble Six is replacing at the start of the game, while Rosenda-A344 is mentioned in background materials as a possible substitute for Emile should Noble Team be deployed against Insurrectionists.
    • Halo 4:
      • Originally, episodes of Spartan Ops would have been accompanied by a stylized motion comic instead of the final photo-realistic CGI cutscenes.
      • The Mammoth was originally conceived as being a much more literal Base on Wheels in its original concept as the "Tortoise", which could deploy into a siege-mode with bracing pistons, a raising sniper nest, and a deployable landing pad which accommodated a Falcon.
      • Concept art reveals that Drones were at one point considered for inclusion, including a sniper variant.
    • Halo 5: Guardians: Fireteam Osiris was originally going to have Gabriel Thorne from Spartan Ops in its lineup, and he can be seen on the cover of The Art of Halo 5: Guardians. However, his actor Ethan Peck had scheduling issues, and Thorne ended up being replaced with Edward Buck from Halo 3: ODST after Nathan Fillion agreed to reprise his role. Speaking of ODSTs, concept art reveals that there were early plans to include both them and UNSC guard dogs.
    • Halo: Chronicles by WingNut Interactive would have been an episodic series of games with interactive storytelling. Peter Jackson was going to be involved, but according to him, the project collapsed when the Halo movie was cancelled.
  • 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.
  • When the licencing for Harry Potter became available, Nintendo actually tried to get it. In an attempt to get the licence, they ended up suspending (and ultimately cancelling) production on Ridge Racer 64, Bionic Commando 64 and Crystalis to do so. There were arguments on if they should either go with the British cover-style artwork or a more Japanese anime-styling. Ultimately, it proved for naught as Warner Brothers got the licence since they also included film and TV.
  • Harvest Moon:
    • 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 on Mark. Likewise, the game was supposed to have a traveling circus but it wasn't implemented until DS.
  • Heavenly Guardian would have been a sequel to the classic Taito arcade game Kiki Kai Kai, but after Taito got bought out by Square Enix, Square Enix revoked the license. Considering how the game turned out in the end, this may or may not have been a good thing.
  • Highlander:
    • Highlander: The Gathering, known as Highlander Online, was an MMORPG in development by Kalisto Entertainment around 2001-2002.
    • Highlander: The Game, developed by Widescreen Games, would have starred a new character, Owen MacLeod, but the game was cancelled in 2010 by the publisher Square Enix.
  • 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.
  • I Am Alive: The original build by Darkworks that began development in 2003 was totally re-engineered by Ubisoft Shanghai.
  • 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.
  • The Game Boy Advance game It's Mr. Pants was originally a Donkey Kong puzzle game called Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers which featured an isometric perspective. When Rare was bought out by Microsoft the game was re-tooled as the aforementioned title.
  • The Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Arcade Game started production around the same time as the film, and plans to make it a Full Motion Video laserdisc game, which would require additional footage to be shot explicitly for it, were abandoned when the producers realized just how expensive that would be.
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was going to receive a fan made remastered version titled Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis Special Edition, but the project was stopped due to a cease and desist.
  • Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings started as an untitled Indiana Jones project to be released at the same time as The Force Unleashed. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were cancelled and would have contained more features than the watered down Wii version.
  • inSane was going to be a game by Guillermo del Toro and Guy Davis. The game was cancelled in 2012 when publisher THQ went under, then rights were transferred to a new publisher that went bankrupt.
  • Jane's Combat Simulations was going to have Jane's A-10 by Origin Systems.
  • Jurassic World by Cryptic Studios North was going to be a third person action game running on Unreal Engine 4, for Steam, Xbox Live and PSN, with the Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady as a playable character.
  • Inherit the Earth: Quest For The Orb. Concept artist Lisa Jennings 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 foreshadowing never got anywhere.
  • Jet Set Radio:
    • When the original game (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, 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, and that Corn is also actually shown to hold more than 30).
    • Rumor has it that there are three characters in Future who were Dummied Out in the Japanese version, and had their files removed in the American and European releases. Their names were reportedly Wave, Numa, and Check. However, due to copies of the Japanese version being even more expensive than copies of the American version (by itself, not with Sega GT), no one has been able to confirm this. Information on this can be found here.
    • In Future, Hayashi was originally going to use a katana. The second picture on this page shows it.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle interestingly plays off a case of this from the original manga. 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.
  • A cancelled Justice League fighting game by Double Helix was planned as an Xbox 360 tie-in to George Miller's cancelled Justice League movie.
  • Kameo: Elements of Power was originally planned for the Nintendo 64, GameCube and Xbox before making it to the Xbox 360.
  • Kid Icarus:
    • An issue of Nintendo Power revealed to readers a Super Kid Icarus title coming to the SNES. Never mentioned again and no photos or footage exists.
    • Icarus, a game for the Wii made by Factor 5, the creators of the Rogue Squadron game series. The game would have followed an older Pit who could fly without aid. The game would have been more mature, with Pit's design reflecting that. Nintendo rejected it since they felt the game was too much of a departure from the series, and even former Factor 5 developers felt they were missing the point.
    • Retro Studios attempted a pitch to make a new installment. Since they had no gameplay prototype to show, it didn't go through. One of the reasons Kid Icarus: Uprising exists is because gameplay was conceived before the decision to make it a Kid Icarus title was made.
  • killer7:
    • The game was originally supposed to have an entire other section in which you played an FBI agent codenamed Jaco Checkbox 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 story was supposed to have all been a revenge plot set up by the aforementioned FBI agent after he was forced to kill his family as they turned into Heaven Smiles, utilizing a prediction machine called "Miss Jacob", whose probability of a correct prediction rose after each successful prediction and would, after 49 successful predictions, have a 1:1 chance of making a successful 50th prediction - even changing reality to accommodate it. As such, he would be manipulating the appearances of the Heaven Smiles and the Killer7's reactions to them, getting greater and greater probabilities from "Miss Jacob", in an attempt to use that guaranteed successful prediction to force a source of the Heaven Smiles, the "Last Shot Smile", into existence, so he could kill it and eradicate them entirely. The supplementary Hand in killer7 material is still based on this version of the story, which is part of what makes the actual game so confusing.
  • Killing Day was a game announced by Ubisoft for the PS3 and Xbox 360, and ended up being cancelled in 2005.
  • There were plans for making video games of Kimba the White Lion, one for the Nintendo Entertainment System and another for the Nintendo 64, but both attempts ended up as Vapor Ware.
  • The King of Fighters has a few of these:
    • 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 KoF 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. 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.
  • There are several examples in Kingdom Hearts:
    • According to Tetsuya Nomura in a Japan-only book, Axel was originally supposed to die in the Prologue of Kingdom Hearts II. However, his popularity with both fans and the staff caused him to stick around for most of the game and beyond. 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 Book Dummied 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.
    • Rikku was supposed to be in the first game, but was replaced by Yuffie after the developers thought it would be too confusing to have two characters with very similar names (Riku and Rikku). There was also a Bahamut summon planned at one point, which can be added back into the game by hacking, but selecting the option just causes the game to crash. 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. Strangely, despite being Dummied Out, the scene of Riku at Big Ben is still considered canon, being shown in later games such as Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
    • Before Sora, either Donald Duck or Mickey was going to be the protagonist; but since there was a lot of disagreement between who it would be, they created Sora.
    • Marluxia of Organization XIII was going to be female, but the writers decided to make the character male when they developed the treachery plotline along with Larxene, and realized that the idea of two women trying to take over an organization that's dominated by men only to fall flat on their faces wouldn't go over too well. The gender change definition explains his appearance.
    • Laguna Loire from Final Fantasy VIII was set to appear in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as the manager of the Mirage Arena. However, Nomura decided that if he was going to appear in Birth by Sleep, he wouldn't be included in Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy. So, it was one or the other and as we all know by now, Nomura chose the latter.
    • 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.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days:
      • A beta version of the game from 2006 had a MP gauge, suggesting that Kingdom Hearts II's magic system was considered instead of the panel-based one in the final product. There is also a bar labeled "LM", likely a Limit meter that charged up before letting the player use a Limit Break instead of having it be dependent on how much HP the character has left.
      • Luxord's Mystery Gear weapon was originally meant to be dollar bills.
      • A world based on the circus scenes from Pinocchio with a What Measure Is a Non-Human?-centered plot was planned but scrapped due to space limitations, though elements of this plot point found new life in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. There are still some Pinocchio assets hiding in the game data.
      • Megara and Hades were going to show up in Olympus Coliseum.
      • A full remake was considered to be made as part of Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 Remix, gameplay and everything, but was scrapped due to time concerns.
    • Kingdom Hearts II was planned to have a Woody and Buzz summon exclusive to the Final Mix version. It was Dummied Out, but untextured models of Woody and Buzz still remain in the game.
  • 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.
  • The game Kirby's Dream Course for the SNES was originally going to be a unique golf game called "Special Tee Shot". Halfway through development it was re-tooled into a Kirby game, but the original was completed and released in Japan on the Sattelaview addon for the Super Famicom.
    • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards originally began as a sequel to Kirby's Dream Course titled "Kirby Bowl 64". One of the game's elements had Kirby riding on a warp star through the stage. When the developers decided to expand this concept the game became the Nintendo 64 version of Kirby's Air Ride. The project would get shelved indefinitely and would then become Kirby 64.
    • Kirby's Epic Yarn was originally going to star Prince Fluff and be called "Prince Fluff's Adventure" until the development team added Kirby in the starring role midway through development because they thought the game would not sell as is.
    • Kirby: Planet Robobot was a Spiritual Successor to Kirby: Triple Deluxe. The game would've brought back the Hypernova ability, but was eventually replaced with the Robobot Armor; most likely to avoid retreading old ground.
  • Ubisoft's I Am Alive game was originally supposed to be a survival game that takes place six days after an earthquake in Chicago. The second premise trailer then changes the backstory to a Darker and Edgier mood and more believable survival environment where it strongly resembles The Road.
  • 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.
  • Landstalker would have had a PSP remake, but it was canceled in 2005.
  • The Last Guardian was intended to be a PlayStation 3 game, delayed until 2016 on the PlayStation 4.
  • 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.
  • Legacy of Kain:
    • There was going to be a sixth game, Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun, 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. And 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.
  • The Legendary Starfy series was supposed to start on the Game Boy Color. However, the Game Boy Advance was to be released the following year so they changed it to that console.
  • 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. And 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, and 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.
  • Traveler's Tails had planned a few other LEGO games. First was an attempt to make a LEGO James Bond series. However, while the various rights holders were on board with the idea, the release of Casino Royale (2006) scuttled that idea as they realized the Bond franchise was going into a darker angle. They also attempted a LEGO Tomb Raider game, but when they felt the franchise couldn't hold itself up by itself, they attempted to have her as a guest star in LEGO Indiana Jones. When Lucasarts learned of Lara and that she was a ripoff of Indiana, they furiously refused to let them do so.
  • Let It Die was originally titled Lily Bergamo, and would have centered on the female protagonist Tae Ioroi.
  • Lollipop Chainsaw has a lot:
    • 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.
  • The Lost by Irrational Games and FXLabs was going to be a third person shooter survival horror game to be released on PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and was instead released on PC in India as Agni: Queen of Darkness with redone art.
  • LucasArts Team Three studio came up with ideas for five or six Nintendo DS games, including an animal-based platformer, a photo-examining detective game, and Caveland, a downloadable shooting game.
  • 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.
  • Originally, the cast of Lunar: Eternal Blue were going to be the kids of the couples from the first game. This idea was nixed and the plot set 1000 years later; this does explain why everyone is pretty much a 50/50 mix of the previous crew.
  • Mad Max: The SNES/Genesis game Outlander, by Mindscape, was going to be based on The Road Warrior, until Mindscape lost the Mad Max license. The developer Melbourne House cancelled an N64 port and planned sequel to DethKarz, and began working on Mad Max: Asylum, a game set years after Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, but Melbourne House was denied the Mad Max license.
  • 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.
  • After Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, EA Chicago began work on a new fighting game tentatively titled Marvel or Marvel Chaos. The game would have had fully-interactive open world environments that could be damaged, with Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Captain America, Doctor Doom, Phoenix, Thor and the Juggernaut planned as playable combatants. The voice cast would have included David Faustino as Spider-Man, Gregg Henry as Wolverine and Steve Blum as Captain America. Marvel was cancelled after EA closed its Chicago division and ended its license with Marvel Entertainment.
  • Marvel 2099: One Nation Under Doom was an action platformer that would've been released on Windows PC and the PlayStation, with Spider-Man 2099, The Punisher 2099, Hulk 2099, and various members of the X-Men 2099 planned as playable characters.
  • 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.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom
    • Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter:
      • Karin Kanzuki, Sakura's Rich Bitch rival from the Sakura Ganbaru! manga, was meant to make her playable debut in the game. She would've been a head swap of Sakura with boots instead of sneakers, bicycle shorts under her skirt instead of bloomers, and different gloves. Karin eventually made it into Street Fighter Alpha 3 with a different outfit and fighting stance.
      • Iron Man and Doctor Doom were meant to appear, but had to be omitted because of rights issues.
      • Mephisto was planned to make a Cameo appearance during one of Blackheart's super moves; seemingly it would have involved grabbing the opponent and breathing fire on them.
    • An Expy of Bert from Sesame Street named Tomichin was planned to appear in Marvel Vs Capcom Clash Of The Super Heroes as a Joke Character.
    • Ruby Heart and Amingo from Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes were originally conceived as Darkstalkers characters.
    • Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
      • Black Panther, Blade and Doctor Octopus were all scheduled to appear early on, but ended up being excluded. The first two due to worries that they'd be too similar to other characters from a gameplay perspective (specifically, Taskmaster and Deadpool), and the third because it turned out that his robotic tentacles were very difficult to implement in the game's fighting system.
      • According to Frank Tieri, Miles Morales was strongly considered for the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 update, but time constraints (Miles' first official appearance was published only a few months prior to the game's release) made it impossible.
      • Other characters who were considered but ultimately discarded include Spider-Woman (whose flight and electrical attacks made her too similar to Trish), Cloak & Dagger (with Cloak playing similar to a Stand), Psylocke, Spiral, Squirrel Girl and Multiple Man.
      • Capcom reportedly considered the entire Fantastic Four, but each one had complications: Human Torch's fire effects gobbled RAM, the Thing was too similar to the Hulk, and they couldn't come up with good movesets for Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Eventually Marvel stepped in and suggested they use the Super Skrull, who has all of the FF's powers in one, neatly solving all their problems.
      • As crazy as it may sound, Deadpool almost didn't make it into the game due to a miscommunication. Marvel submitted several lists of characters for Capcom to consider; initially they thought Deadpool was on the "Do not include" list, but when Marvel found out they clarified that Deadpool is extremely popular and he should have been on the "Absolutely include" list.
    • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite:
      • Very early on, the idea of 4-on-4 battles was considered.
      • Data mining has revealed that 61 characters were initially planned, which lines up with rumors that a second season of DLC content was in the works at one time. Reportedly, the Season 2 DLC characters would've included Ms. Marvel and Star-Lord on the Marvel side, and Asura, Lady, Vergil and Gill on the Capcom side. The game's disappointing sales led to Capcom pulling the plug on any additional support.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo in the scrapped character and level art reveals that there were plans for two types of aliens and leprechauns to show up.
    • One of the alien types was a Predator type-deal. It was huge with big, black-eyes, green skin and a bunch of silver tubes all over its body and a yellow flame-like energy mace.
    • The second alien type was a little green alien in a space ship with a ray-gun.
    • Along with a level or two set in the real world. The real world levels, likely, would have been just like the rest of the game, but with Sentinels and such, or aliens, instead of police. Unfortunately, for whatever reason the aliens and such were cut from the game.
  • Meantime was going to be a Spiritual Successor to Wasteland, involving time travel, with the player travelling forwards and backwards in time, and meeting historical characters.
  • MechWarrior Living Legends had an open Beta Test for 1.5 years before the lawyers of the new, Allegedly Free Game yanked Living Legends non-commercial Mechwarrior license away note . 0.7.1 was the last release and the developer's swan song, incorporating multiple new vehicles and features along with a plethora of balancing. In a series of posts on the forums, the developers highlighted dozens of features that were in development but they didn't have the time to complete before being shut down, such as the series signature Mechlab, over a dozen new vehicles including the cherished Marauder mech and new Powered Armor classes, game modes, soundtrack, plus bloopers from alpha testing.
  • Metal Slug
    • The original version of the first Metal Slug, which was actually completed and location-tested at SNK's Osaka location, was a very different game. The history of this verion is extensively detailed in this French video, which also contains screenshots and the original background art for it:
      • The entire game was played with the Metal Slug. There was no pedestrian gameplay and Marco and Tarma did not exist at this point.
      • The original plot was that General Morden had spent years planning a coup and managed to conquer all of the world’s major cities in his opening salvo. The original player character, Phil John, was an engineer for the Regular Army who was working on the Metal Slug prototype, and took it with him to join the resistance. Player 2 was a gold Metal Slug piloted by one named Michiko Nakajima
      • The tone was more somber and lacked any humour, being more in line with the developers' work on In The Hunt.
      • The backgrounds were redrawn. For example, the entire first stage, and not just the second half, was set inside a swamp.
      • The game was much shorter: Stage 2 did not have an equivalent in the original version, and levels were shorter and simpler (for example, level 3 did not have the climbing portion or a mid-boss battle). The game was lengthened at SNK's instance, their reasoning being that since the Neo Geo was also sold as an home system, the game should be of reasonable length.
      • The iconic POWs originally were blue pallete swaps of Morden's troop. Furthermore, instead of giving items, rescued POWs would either climb to the top of the Metal Slug and fire their bazooka, or stay next to it and throw grenades.
    • The above video also reveals that rearranged themes from Metal Slug were composed for X and are still present in the ROM, that an "X" version of Metal Slug 3 was planned, and that the antagonists of Metal Slug 4 (as developed by SNK) would have been fish-people.
  • 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.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode:
    • Lukas had an entirely different design in the original trailer, wearing a striped shirt, vest, and a Nice Hat.
    • Magnus's title was "Griefer" at a certain point rather than "Rogue", the change being presumably to fit into the naming convention of The Order of The Stone, as he's still identified as a Griefer when you meet him.
  • Monkey Island:
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The game originally started out as a video game adaptation of Universal Soldier, reuniting most of the cast from the movie. However, the project hit a snag when star Jean-Claude Van Damme couldn't make it due to his busy schedule.
    • This is what Kintaro was originally going to look like. Yes, the big, bad Shokan Scourge of Outworld was originally meant to be a playable Beast Man character. The lack of money, resources, and ability to make fake fur look good in the game prevented this version from appearing.
  • 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 Stripperiffic, 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.
  • Mr. Bill's Neighborhood for the Atari 2600 would had been Mr. Bill's first video game if it was released. Yet, this game was 100% complete and ready to be released but was cancelled due to the publisher, Data Age, couldn't afford to pay the licensing fees after their license game Journey Escape's poor critical reception.
  • If MS Saga: A New Dawn had done much better than it did, other sequels would have used units from ∀ Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.
  • Cyan Worlds came up with the concept for Myst as a proposal to Sunsoft... who only wanted the console rights, anticipating selling it for the SNES CD-ROM. Cyan kept the PC rights, partnered with Brøderbund Software, and the resulting game drove not only the genre but CD-ROM hardware as a whole. Given that the SNES CD-ROM never materialized in the first place, gaming could easily have been robbed of one of its most iconic products.
    • 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.
    • Owing to being Screwed by the Network, most of the online story of Uru: Ages Beyond Myst never saw the light of day. Some ages that were intended for multiplayer had to be recycled into singleplayer content for the To D'ni and Path of the Shell expansions, and even more were recycled for use in Myst V: End of Ages. While some content was restored when the online servers were restored, the content from Myst V remained unavailable, along with ages that had been mentioned both in in-game journals and development lists like Rebek.
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