Developers can’t do everything. Even the biggest development studios on the planet can’t always deliver everything they’ve brewed up in their sugar-addled heads. When the ideas get too big and plans don’t quite work out, content has to be cut. That’s just the nature of video game developer. Video games are an inherently experimental medium, there’s no perfect path to success, and you never know what’s fun (and what isn’t) until after you’ve tried it. That’s why video games are rife with impressively cool cut content. Sometimes, a new ability or power just doesn’t fit into the game like the devs thought it might. Nobody wants to make cuts, but it has to happen to produce a finished game sometimes.
And I can’t get enough of it. The failed ideas. The scrapped pie-in-the-sky aspirations. Developers imagine entire worlds, then they have to figure out the best way to actually present those ideas to us, the player — and its a rocky road to making that happen. These are the ideas we’d love to see more of, even if they were absolutely cut for a reason. Let’s celebrate the ideas that didn’t quite work with our 10 favorite pieces of cut content in video games.
Get more gaming lists on Gameranx:
Summonable Door To Your Very Own Base [Dishonored]
Dishonored is so packed with content, its hard to imagine that fully-rendered powers were actually cut out of the game, and one of the toughest cuts for the developers was a special power that allowed Corvo to summon a door anywhere in the game. This door, once plopped into the world, allowed you to access a special character base where you could restock on items, or train on hapless citizens with your powers. It’s a very cool idea, and you can watch the idea in action above. It’s crazy how far this power made it through the game before being cut — and it turned out to be wholly unnecessary anyway. We’ve got a player base already! But being able to summon a base entrance anywhere on-the-fly? That’s so unique, I’d love to see it anyway.
Battle Gear Buddy [MGS5: The Phantom Pain]
Due to an extremely troubled production at Konami, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is very obviously unfinished — its almost miracle the game is as good as it is. The post-game story isn’t complete, but the actual gameplay is so tightly designed, its easy to overlook some of the elements we lost along the way… like a lot of voice-acting. Along with the obviously unfinished ending, something basically any player will recognize instantly while playing, there are two unused elements that completely blow my mind.
And both of these features are missing buddies. Part of the game is all about developing the Battle Gear — a powerful tank-like Metal Gear. It even appears in a cutscene, fully modelled… but you’ll only ever be able to send it out on away missions, which are just mini battle simulations that play out in simple menus. Not exactly the coolest use of a badass Battle Gear. Well, originally the massive Battle Gear was actually going to be a buddy that you could control like the Walker Gear. It was cut late in development to my endless frustration. I just wanted to take my own Metal Gear out for a spin in Afghanistan!
I can’t end this section without mentioning the fate of Big Boss’s little buddy Chico. In early concept work, Chico was planned as a buddy with a Jack-The-Ripper theme, covered in knives as a mangled adult. Who wouldn’t want to recruit this guy. This concept didn’t make it far into production… totally unlike Mission 51, which looks practically finished.
Plague Ada [Resident Evil: Village]
Resident Evil: Village ended up being a much, much larger game than RE7, and the developers at Capcom once again went a little crazy with the ideas. At one point, fan-favorite super-spy Ada Wong was going to play a major part in the story. Taking a look through the Bonus Content art, we can see that Ada was going to appear in a spooky Plague Doctor disguise, still using her signature bowgun to help Ethan along. Early concept work shows Ada appearing to rescue Ethan from the Lords of the Village — an event that goes down very differently in the final game. But this is just one of those cuts that’s way too cool to ignore.
In the end, it makes sense why Ada was cut. We already have Chris Redfield as an uneasy ally that connects us to the main cast of the series, and adding Ada would feel strange without Leon. There were way more concepts shown — original Dr. Moreau’s area was going to be an entire spooky fishing village to explore with its own unique design aesthetic, but the idea was parred down into the flooded village we’ve got now. DLC hasn’t been revealed yet, so we might still get Plague Ada in the future.
Going To The Moon [Dragon’s Dogma]
In the very earliest design documents for Dragon’s Dogma, Capcom’s unusual spin on the fantasy action-RPG genre, the world was going to be a much bigger place. It was going to be so big that a single planet wasn’t enough — you’d be able to reach the moon. Just take a look at the picture here to see how far they were aiming. According to these slides, Level 100 was the cap and the level required to beat the game. Most of those ending levels would be in a location called Endless Tower. Oddly, the Moon is labeled for Level 80… so not even the last area!
I’d kill to climb all over moon monsters and stab them until they’re down. We’re still silently (and maybe fruitlessly) praying for Dragon’s Dogma 2.
Arthur Morgan In New Austin [Red Dead Redemption 2]
Here’s a twist — an entire section of Red Dead Redemption 2 was planned and scrapped, one that took players back to a very familiar location. Tearing into the files post-release, hackers and modders were able to find sound files for New Austin quests with Arthur Morgan.
Well all know that’s impossible. There are quests available to complete in the New Austin area, which unlocks after you’ve completed the main story, but Arthur Morgan can never go there. Was Arthur Morgan originally allowed to fully explore the entire map before the end? Maybe they considered keeping the old coot alive? Or maybe voicing these few quest lines kept the rumor-mongers off Rockstar’s back before the big twist at the end. Whatever the case, who wouldn’t like taking a stroll through the Old West with our pal Arthur?
Your Face In The Game [Perfect Dark]
Remember “Big Head” Mode? The developers at Rare, the creators of Goldeneye 64 and later Perfect Dark loved throwing silly cheats into their games that messed with the character proportions. And originally, there was going to be an even more in-depth (and totally weird) addition to Perfect Dark called “Perfect Head” Mode, which allowed you to input your face into the game using the Game Boy Camera. Seeing your own pixelated face in the game would be a trip, and I’m all about extremely goofy features. In a game where all the bad guys already have silly faces, I don’t think throwing in a few of your friends would look too weird.
An Open World Nightmare [Alan Wake]
Alan Wake is a great (and surprisingly long) horror-action game from Remedy, the same devs behind the first two Max Payne games. Instead of making another linear shooter, Alan Wake was meant to be something very different — and you can see that in motion in the earliest beta videos above. You’d have an entire town to explore with day / night cycles that change the environment, life becoming much harder when the darkness creeps in at night. You’d be able to drive everywhere you go while investigating the strange disturbances in the town — and the idea of an open-world horror game is pretty cool. The closest thing we got was probably Deadly Premonition…
The Alan Wake we did get is great, but I’d still love to see what Remedy could do with a big open-world to play with. And endless money to make it happen. Maybe the cuts were made for a good reason.
The Lake of Mud [Bloodborne]
A very creepy what-if scenario exists in Bloodborne, another game that’s rife with cut content and secrets for players to explore. The weirdest thing about Bloodborne is that lots of the cut content can actually be found in-game by using the Chalice Dungeons feature — creatures that were never meant to be seen but were completely finished like the mole can be found if you’re extremely lucky or you know what seed to use. Fans have been picking apart everything in Bloodborne, and there’s one entire area that was cut… including a final boss.
The Lake of Mud is an incredible discovery because its almost finished, and the boss monster inside is fully modeled with animations. The area resembles a drained, muddy beach — most likely just a boss arena for the final enemy of the game. The boss itself is a twisted version of the game’s normal final boss the Moon Presence. But, this Moon Presence is different. It drags itself on the ground pathetically. In the actual game, the Moon Presence is a terrifying and aggressive opponent.
The Lake of Mud idea wasn’t completely scrapped. In the Old Hunters DLC, you do visit a similar beach in the Fishing Hamlet — the place where the entire curse began.
The British Campaign [Call of Duty: World At War]
I’m a total sucker for a good Call of Duty campaign, so the prospect of more WW2 adventures in World At War is tantalizing. The game that really put developer Treyarch on our COD radar was World At War, throwing you into two campaigns — splitting the story between the sweltering pacific islands as the Americans and the chilly ruins as the Russians. But, there was a third campaign planned that actually got pretty far along in development. Three British missions set in Holland, most likely during the failed Operation: Market Garden, where British and American paratroopers dropped into Holland in an attempt to catch the Germans by surprise.
Much like the famed (and failed) mission by the Allies, the Holland missions just didn’t succeed. We’ve stop got remnants of their design in the screenshot above.
Controlling A Scarab [Halo Reach]
One of the most heartbreaking cuts I’ve ever heard. Halo Reach is the big finale to Bungie’s time with the Halo series, ending their run on a high note as they left for murky Destiny / live-service waters. Halo Reach had a planned mission where your character got to personally control a Scarab — one of the giant destructive walkers used by the alien Covenant army. This feature made it pretty far into the game, because modders were able to pick up the slack and implement the driveable Scarab on PC. You just need a really, really big level to use it in.
There’s so much cut content in video games that players have discovered — and even secrets yet to be discovered — that we can’t fit it all here! Tell us all about your favorite cut content discoveries, and what content hurt the most to hear it was cut.