- 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, 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.
- 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.
- 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 immidiately 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.
- Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
- Originally, the Dating Sim mode unlocked after beating the main game wouldve 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.
- 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 Mythology Gag, the video game Fate/EXTRA does have a Servant of class Saver. It's not Arthur though.
- Gilgamesh would of been the legit Archer class Servant for the Grail War and would of been a Affably Evil foe Arthur had to face off. He would of had a different form of the Gate of Bablyon and his Noble Phantasm would of been Enki, which would of 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 of been the Beast of Revelations, and would of been 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 in 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 on 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.
What Could Have Been / Visual Novels