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  • Danganronpa:
    • The wikia of the franchise has a gallery of the beta designs for all characters, some being screamingly different. Teruteru was originally supposed to be either a bulking enormous guy or a fashionable Pretty Boy (with hair similar to Mondo), for example. Two of Komaru's beta designs would later be used as the basis for Maki Harukawa's and Kanon Nakajima. Some of the differences are surprising. Noteworthy in relation to the designs: Fuyuhiko and Nidai actually switched designs. The former was supposed to be the Big Guy and while the latter would have the appearance of a baby-faced boy.
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    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • The first game started under the working title Distrust with the concept of branching paths based on the player's decisions. The choices you made actually determined which characters were actually trustworthy: putting your faith in someone could pay off handsomely... or lead to a bitter betrayal. Your choices also affected the Main Character's general attitude and demeanor, and could result in different characters being killed. For instance, one set of choices could lead to student A being the first victim, while another would lead to student B being killed instead, with A helping you investigate.
      • At one point, the mascot who'd eventually develop into Monokuma was an anatomical model, in keeping with the twisted school theme.
      • A later form, while much closer to the finished product, had more of a Saw vibe with a greater emphasis on gore. The character designs were also somewhat less outlandish; while the seeds for the final cast were present, they had different names and lacked a lot of the wilder elements. An animatic showing these designs can be found here; however, be forewarned that this takes the form of one of the murderer's executions, which made it through to the final product. Everyone also has different names, for example, Kazuo Matsuzaki, who is a prototype name of Leon Kuwata, has the same execution as Kuwata's execution.
      • The Visual Fanbook includes the drafts of the executions of the students who aren't executed in the game itself, like Ishimaru being shot to death by a sniper during his Prime Minister inauguration parade, and Maizono being killed by a giant mantrap after "failing" to make a perfect score for her idol performance. This post gives information about these prospect executions.
      • One murder was cut so late into the game that the files for various evidence for the trial are still in the game, including the timeline of the crime and the end of trial manga slides: the murder of Junko Enoshima. Whether or not this was already intended to actually be Mukuro Ikusaba or if this predates Junko as the Mastermind is unknown, but it's also not the first time Junko dies in beta materials as she is also the suspected killer shown in Distrust materials. It's also not known why this was cut, but it's possible that either they cut it to make her the Mastermind while using Mukuro to prevent anyone who followed the development from realizing the twist, or they cut it because the cause of death went full Worf on Mukuro. That or they just decided Junko killing her sister fit the game better.
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    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
      • Initially, Hiyoko was a survivor instead of Fuyuhiko. Basically, Fuyuhiko would be the one to get his throat slit by Mikan instead of Hiyoko. This was changed because killing off Fuyuhiko immediately would have cheapened the impact of Peko's death.
      • Akane was originally going to be The Rival to Hajime instead of Nagito and she was also going to be the Ultimate Thief.
      • Beta Mikan went through two other designs, the second of which is notable for being the only female Danganronpa character to be wearing pants. Backless pants held on with straps creating a walking panty shot, but still pants. Her talent was already in place by this design, so it was likely just meant to emphasize her Extreme Doormat nature and past of being sexually abused by a lot of people, including Junko.
      • Chiaki went through several designs. Like many of the original drafts, the first was quite generic but looked oddly like Chihiro. The second had a straighter haircut. The third wore a short skirt-overalls thing with a normal button up under it (with the overall straps pushed out by her chest) and had thigh high pantyhose and more confident body language.
      • Gundham had long hair, which the Dark Devas lived in. Souda's hair color and jumpsuit swapped colors. Mahiru had a corset vest thing which emphasized her chest. Sonia's hair bow evolved from a hair clip to a flower hair clip to the bow and had a dress instead of skirt. Nagito originally had thinner, straight hair and his hoodie evolved from a parka. Peko had black hair with no braids and a bow.
      • Hajime went through at least six beta designs. Almost all of them were debating about his hairstyle and if/what kind of jacket he would wear, with no jacket winning for his final design. One however had straight blonde hair, headphones and glasses. Only half of them had ahoges.
      • Ibuki's first face used the same style as Teruteru's face, had a medallion on a chain and a somewhat different outfit which had her ear piercings connected to her face piercings by a chain. Her second look made her top more generic, gave her a normal face and had twintails with buns. Her third design let her hair down. Her fourth design wore a gas mask and had a top similar to the first design and only one pantyhose, and had what looked like dogtags or a razor blade instead of a medallion. She wore heavy eyeliner under the mask. Her fourth had had tamer long hair and wore glasses with far less of her punk look. None of the beta designs had hair cones.
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    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Originally, the Dating Sim mode unlocked after beating the main game would’ve given the option to play as either Shuichi or Kaede with a full set of Free Time Events and Love Hotel scenes for the latter before being cut due to time constraints.
      • Angie originally had puffy twin afros and no pants or skirt, just a jacket and bikini. Her second outfit was actually much more concealing. The hair of this outfit was put on the general design of the first one and given a skirt. The coat was also simplified, and she originally had a gigantic paint brush.
      • Gonta's hair was originally wilder but shorter and he originally lacked a suit jacket. His second outfit was ripped up from his bulk and was a tanktop and pants.
      • Himiko had a bear hoodie with ears and paws very similar to actual Monokuma hoodies for sale, but with a space theme as well as a "magic" staff. After this was tossed out, her hat was originally a beanie.
      • Three versions of Kaede were made. Dark hair, dark hair with tophat (with a hole for her ahoge), blonde hair. Blonde hair was used. Hat design had a front braid.
      • Kaito started with his hair down and a leather jacket with normal shoes. Then his hair was frizzed up to fro levels. Then his shirt was removed and he gained a jacket and pants with wild designs. This outfit changed color when he got his final hair. The direction of the spike changed when he got a shirt again only to go back.
      • Kiibo was originally far more low tech looking (like a 1950s comic book robot) with Teruteru's face style and a scarf. Also an afro. The second design skewed closer to the final one, but the body looked more akin to Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4.
      • Kirumi had longer hair and a stereotypical German Barmaid outfit. This was made shorter and curled upwards with a more traditional maid uniform. Then the hair was lengthened but braided and she wore a more over the top maid outfit with a giant bow on the chest as well as thigh high high heels.
      • Kokichi's first outfit was a skeleton hoodie and he had tamer, light hair. This became a coat and his scarf at the same time he got his final hair. This coat evolved into the straightjacket design. At one point he had what look like flannel design pants.
      • Before he had a mask, Korekiyo had an eyepatch. Tsumugi went through several hairstyles, mostly changing the bangs. One design also wore pantyhose and the outfit became more detailed.
      • Maki was actually the one that had the Tenko's hair clover thing, but smaller, and had shorter hair with a straight cut. Then she got a winter coat with shorts, thigh high boots and a long side ponytail. Then a kimono-gi fusion, fingerless gloves, pantyhose and sandals... with a ponytail that spiked curvy and upwards. After that a normal ponytail and a school uniform, which changed several times until the final version and twintails.
      • Tenko's first design was basically her final design, but with Maki's final hair. Then she had Akane's hair, a gi and pants but no shoes, as well as wearing cat ears. The next design was the first design but with the cat ears headband. The cat ears were removed and replaced with the final hair ornament, taken from Maki's first design.
      • Miu's first design had curly long hair and smaller breasts and didn't have the chest straps but still had the leg ones. The second one was overalls, a backwards baseball cap, shorter hair, didn't have any of the BDSM gear but did have numerous tattoos, including a heart on her chest. The next design was her final design but with wilder hair.
      • Rantaro's first design was more generic with a high-collar coat. The coat got longer and changed material, he got his necklace, and he had black and white streaked hair, smaller more angular eyes and a looser shirt. His next hair was pretty much his final hair and his eyes went back to the previous look but now wearing eyeliner. They tried more relaxed hair and baggier pants. The baggier pants stuck, the hair went back to normal, he lost the coat and stripes were added to the shirt.
      • Ryoma's first design was pure nightmare fuel and had no neck (making his head look rather phallic, but with a goatee and hair) and a ball and chain on his ankle. Then he lost height, got his face design and a hat, but otherwise had the same outfit. The hat became bigger, he became fatter and had a knife. He lost weight, got his usual disposition and a hoodie with his usual hat minus the horns. He got the horns, they played with the size and he got his leather jacket. They tried putting the jacket on the fat model and swapped the horns to ears only to throw this out again. His pants got the stripes of his previous shirt prior to the jacket.
      • Shuichi's hair was wilder, his coat was a vest and his ahoge was curly, and his hat was either a trilby or an old train ticket taker hat.
    • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls:
      • One antagonist was cut, although she's not featured amongst art regarding the Warriors of Hope so whether she was aligned with them is unclear, as she is older than them. Her name was Reiko Kamitsuki and she had a dental theme, a gas/sickness mask combo, a striped outfit with a leather skirt, leather boots and a pin that was either intended to be Kurokuma or Junko's black side hair ornament. She also had a gun that shot dentures, which was given to Kotoko after she was cut. Her mask also had a set of dentures that could be fired out.
      • The original design for Yamada's sister was aged down and turned into Kotoko Utsugi. Nagisa was black and had an afro. Jataro didn't have a mask. Monaca had long hair. Haiji used to wear a fedora and at one point had massive gloves and a parka was well as no broken arm and would engage in combat, the gloves making him stronger (enough to punch down a human being's head and split it in half according to the concept art), this being when he was originally intended in the role Toko would take. Taichi Fujisaki was originally going to be Chihiro's mom, not his dad. After her design was finalized, Monaca originally had blue hair which was likely changed by being a spoiler for who her brother is. Komaru went through several haircuts (including one which would later be reused as Maki's in V3) and at one point wore a jacket. The hacking gun had a more obviously pistol-style grip. One of Komaru's cut jacket concepts was worn like a cape. Her first design however was the one repurposed for Kanon. Haiji also had another design which was radically different, being clean cut and carrying a sword. His hair would go wild for his combat mode. One final design for this era of the game's design had his cast-covered arm turn into a giant spike (looking to be a robotic arm, as the hand folded backwards for this) in the combat mode.
      • Before Toko was a part of the game, the other main character was going to be Haiji Towa, with the same mechanic that Toko uses.
      • Before Monaca's plan was to turn Komaru into the Successor to Junko Enoshima, the Successor was her own character outright. The Successor had two beta designs. One was basically a child version of the original with floral print leg sleeve tattoos and wilder hair, as well as thicker eyeliner. The other was black, with her hair being twin afros but otherwise identical to the original in age, hair color and outfit, other than the hair bears on a headband instead of tied into her hair. Even her face was identical, despite that making very little sense.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • The people of Type-Moon revealed that the original protagonists were going to be a Meganekko girl with magical proficiency and her male servant named Saver. Eventually the girl was dropped, and Saver was given a Gender Flip and revamped as the Saber we all know and love. The original design for the main character evolved into Rin, which might explain her prominence in all 3 routes and the fact that she's the POV character for the prologue and one epilogue. Likewise, the original design for Saver (likely an Engrish misspelling of Saber) was recycled into the design for Gilgamesh. The Ilya route was also dropped as well. However, the backstory, mostly focusing on her father Kiritsugu's efforts during the Fourth Holy Grail War, was eventually adapted and expanded into the light novel series known as Fate/Zero. Ilya complains about it in Tiger Dojo. Amusingly, and possibly as a Development Gag, the video game Fate/EXTRA does have a Servant of class Saver. It's not Arthur though.
    • Gilgamesh would have been the Archer class Servant for the Grail War and an Affably Evil foe Arthur had to face off against. He would have had a different form of the Gate of Babylon and his Noble Phantasm would be Enki, which would have invoked the great flood from the Old Testament. Ultimately he was kept in the story, but heavily changed, and some of his combat skills were replaced with the Archer of the final product.
    • An important element from the prototype was that the Big Bad would have been the Beast of Revelations, and would be the main threat Saver had to contend with. This idea was instead changed to be Angra Mainyu. However, years later, Nasu would use this idea to create the Greater-Scope Villain for the Fate setting; the Seven Evils of Humanity, one of which was the Beast of Revelations.
    • The original idea was actually animated as a 12-minute short short called Fate/Prototype.
    • Also by Type-Moon, the legend of Satsuki route for Tsukihime. Apparently it was planned and partly written but scrapped early in development, which is why she is seemingly set up as an heroine before having her importance to the plot greatly diminished. There was a limited edition fanbook which contained drafts of what could have been her ero scenes. The running gag is that all the spin-off games take place after her route. When the Tsukihime remake was announced, it was claimed that the route would be added, but that game has been caught in Development Hell since 2007
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • The series was originally going to be one long game but it was decided to break it up into arcs. The remakes use the original concept by putting all the arcs into one game.
    • Rika was originally taller. She was also the oldest character instead of being a Token Mini-Moe.
  • Due to its Troubled Production, Missing Stars has had many changes throughout its development:
    • The tentative name for the game was Mentaru Shoujo.
    • The early art was more animesque. While the Japanese influence is still prominent, the art style and character designs are a bit more western in the final product.
    • One of the most noticeable changes are the differences in characters between the first concept art shown off and the first demo. Natasha and Natalya Holm ended up becoming Natalya and Sofiya Volkova. With the change, they went from almost-identical twins to looking much more obviously fraternal. Their height difference was changed plus they were given more physique and facial differences. Jeanne was originally slim like everyone else but was redesigned into a Big Beautiful Woman. The earliest concept art of Lena shows she was actually meant to have enormous Gag Boobs, while the final version is actually flat as a board. Early designs of Katja also appeared to be rather small and soft, compared to her current state as a Statuesque Stunner bordering on Amazonian Beauty.
    • Sofiya was originally meant to be a student at the school alongside her sister. Later on she was changed to instead just looking after her sister.
    • Both Natalya and her twin Sofiya were intended to be romance options. However, Sofiya's route was scrapped in development. She's just a supporting character in Natalya's arc.

Alternative Title(s): Visual Novel

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