Left on the cutting room floor
You've finally done it. You've written your 1200-page game bible, describing all 150 painstakingly detailed levels, 20 different boss fights, and an overarching plot that spans generations. Now comes the part where you actually, y'know, make it. You've got two years to do so, and your publisher's last 'sure-fire' project just got sent through the critical meat grinder, so your budget's been chopped in half. Aaaaaand half of your top-level staff has quit in frustration. Hope you're not married to that hours-long multi-path ending you were planning on implementing.
There are lots of reasons certain scenes get cut, whether it's due to a lack of time, hardware constraints, or the developers simply biting off more than they can chew. Sometimes, the cuts go unnoticed, and the rest of the game goes on without a hitch. Some other games don’t cut enough, continuing to clumsily refer to these now non-existent events, leaving you wondering just what the hell everyone is talking about. And a surprising amount of these cuts are very much last-minute changes, as evidenced by their content’s persisting but locked-off presence on the final retail disc. It’s a weird old mix of stuff, alright. Ever wondered what could have been? Check out these seven amazing scenes that were cut from your favorite video games.
7. Wreck a Thanksgiving Day Parade (Ghostbusters: The Video Game)
The Ghostbusters game is famous for two things: letting players act out their favorite moments from the classic films and also for not sucking like nearly every other licensed video game. It's pure fanservice, letting you run amok in a hotel, library, sewers, and more, generally destroying everything in sight on your quest to bust as many ghosts as possible. One particular scene was supposed to take you through the streets of Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, but was inexplicably cut.
As you can see from this tech demo, the level design and crowd AI were both in place, and if you go digging around on the disc, you'll even find some cutscenes that were supposed to take place during this parade. Had the level been included, you would have captured ghosts while riding on a float as huge balloons filled the sky. In the final game, the mayor even makes specific reference to how the Ghostbusters have wrecked "his library, museum, and parade," despite the parade never actually making it in. It's a shame, because this level sounds awesome.
6. Save Stilwater with song (Saints Row: The Third)
Saints Row: The Third's story, while full of hilarious sequences and lots and lots of crotch punching, feels a bit lacking, and some details from the official strategy guide actually shed some light on as to why. According to the guide, there were several different drafts and details that changed over the course of development. At one point, Johnny Gat was supposed to be captured instead of killed, characters like Viola and Kiki would have joined the Saints, and Shaundi was actually supposed to be off gallivanting on a reality show in Mexico.
But the best scene that was left on the editing room floor? After the bridge to Stilwater is destroyed, there was supposed to be a cutscene featuring a 'We Are The World'-style song routine as the Saints attempt to raise money to rebuild the city. I'm actually a bit saddened now, knowing that this was supposed to exist. It would have been hilarious.
5. 32 colossi, gone (Shadow of the Colossus)
A playthrough of Shadow of the Colossus will take an average player anywhere from 8-10 hours. Not too shabby for a game based solely around traversing a barren landscape filled with 16 boss fights. Now imagine that total time nearly tripled, as developer Fumito Uedo originally envisioned as many as 48 colossi available to conquer.
Realizing that 48 hulking beasts was probably a bit too much for the PlayStation 2 to handle, Ueda cut the roster down to a more manageable 24. Eight of those were also scrapped due to budget constraints and other limitations, with their only existence confirmed by their presence in the game's artbook. Among the cut colossi are a massive daddy longlegs, a phoenix, a griffon, and even a monkey. While those seem interesting enough, I'm actually even more curious about the other 24 colossi that were planned. The sheer number of them would have lead to some absolutely bonkers concepts, most of them completely unlike the 16 we actually got.
4. Samus was supposed to fight Meta Kraid (Metroid Prime)
Between fighting space pirates, battling those annoying metroids, and otherwise coping with the deadly flora and fauna of Tallon IV, Samus certainly has her hands full during her first 3D outing. Hell, she even comes across a cyborg version of perpetual thorn-in-her-side Ridley, who attacks her during the penultimate boss fight. But Ridley wasn't supposed to be the only major villain making their GameCube debut. If things had gone to plan, Samus would have come across a giant, three-dimensional version of Super Metroid's Kraid.
Referred to as 'Meta Kraid' by fans, this overweight lizard was modelled, textured, and intended to be used as a boss fight in the Phazon Mines on Tallon IV. A large portion of his level was prototyped and implemented, but would have delayed Metroid Prime's release date. Unfortunately, he was deemed 'unimportant' to the overall experience, and thus got the axe. Maybe he'll finally get his due in a high-definition sequel? Fingers crossed.
3. That exciting bridge battle from the trailer? Never happens (Bioshock Infinite)
Five years is a long time to wait for any game, let alone for the highly anticipated followup to instant classic BioShock. And a lot can change over five years, as different modes and areas are created because they sound cool and dropped when they don't work. If you compare the BioShock Infinite we got in 2013 to the preview trailers shown in the years leading up to release, you can see some pretty spectacular moments that never actually made it into the final release.
In this ten-minute gameplay trailer from 2010, Booker's companion Elizabeth seems to have way more power at her disposal than she does in the actual 2013 release. She's not only opening tears to hidden weapon caches, but she's also summoning rain clouds for him to use as a conductor for his electricity hands. There's even an exciting and protracted bridge battle, complete with dramatic appearance by the intimidating Songbird - all of which was cut from the final game. While this trailer is likely more proof-of-concept than actual gameplay, it's still intriguing that many of the ideas and locations shown off prior to release were either changed or removed completely.
2. Arsenal Gear destroys Manhattan (Metal Gear Solid 2)
If you've played Metal Gear Solid 2, you've probably noticed that the lead-up to the final boss feels a bit… truncated. Raiden goes from standing on top of Arsenal Gear in the middle of the ocean to battling Solidus on top of a ruined building in New York City within a few awkward edits. So what happened?
Well, there was supposed to be a lengthy sequence showing Arsenal Gear smashing its way through the New York skyline, knocking into the Statue of Liberty (which would wind up on Ellis Island after the dust settled). All told, the out-of-control Gear should have crushed half of Manhattan, but all of it was cut in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. While it's a shame that the removal caused such a jarring disconnect between the aforementioned scenes, it would have been in incredibly poor taste if Metal Gear Solid 2 had shipped with this scene intact, mere months after the attacks.
1. Most of the game (Knights of the Old Republic 2)
It's no secret that Knights of the Old Republic 2 shipped unfinished. Pushed up against a looming deadline, developer Obsidian had to make a hard decision and cut swaths of content just to get the game out the door. It hacked off reams of character interactions and dialog, removed locations like a droid production plant and an entire extra planet, and even cut large sections of the ending. The final product left players confused and incomplete. Something was obviously missing.
Thankfully, many of the related files were still included on the game's discs, despite not being accessible during the course of normal play. Intrepid modders have since taken these files, prettied them up, and fitted them back into the main game, including that awesome sequence in the aforementioned droid factory. Bring that misanthropic HK-47 droid with you, and either save and recruit the robots found within, or blow them all up. And the ending? Well, there actually is one now. Finally; closure.
Hopefully there's a director's cut
No one likes to cut their favorite feature or tear-jerking scene, but sometimes difficult decisions need to be made in the name of actually shipping a product. Luckily, many of these scenes get to live on thanks to rereleases and player-created mods. What are some of your favorite deleted scenes? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more? Check out the 10 most metal games of all time, and this purely scientific study of unclothed gaming guys.