Biggest content cuts from videogames

Hard calls need to be made in-game production, that’s why many times developers have to cut some content because of deadlines, bugs, or just straight up not being good enough. In this list, we’re taking a look at sequences, missions, and levels that were cut out for a number of reasons from the games we know and love.

#1 Fallout 4: Underwater Vault

Much like other open world-games in Bethesda's backlog, Fallout 4 is littered with interesting detours and side quests.

For all that's included in the game though, there's a fair bit of content that didn't make the cut. Data miners found a whole quest that involves exploring the depths of the Boston Harbor. The quest would have likely pitted players against various sea creatures, eventually leading to the discovery and exploration of the submerged vault 120. 

This whole questline is a massive reference to the movie Jaws, with a cage underwater, a skeleton with a knife and on onboard a ship, a skeleton with a blue bandana, and a machete defending himself from a dolphin.

#2 Skyrim: Whindhelm Pit

Some players and NPCs just want to fight and cut loose to the bitter end. For such players, the concept of the Whindhelm Pit might have been enticing. 

Also known as the Whindhelm Arena, the pit would have had a fair number of side quests separate from the player's main questline.

What's more intriguing, is how it would have tied into the Dark Brotherhood questline. Apparently, one of the Brotherhood's targets, Alin DuPont, would have been fought there.

We don't know the exact reasons it was included, but it's still fascinating to consider the possibilities.


#3 Banjo-Kazooie: Fungus Forest

Given what's known about this game's complex origins, it's hardly a surprise that certain content didn't make it to the official release. 

The gaming community (mainly data miners) slowly pieced together the existence of Fungus Forest.  What little has been uncovered about this locale based on early footage from E3 back in 1997 and probing through the source code, suggests that Fungus Forest eventually became Clankers Cavern.

Curiously, rares later 3D platformer Donkey Kong 64 features a world known as Fungi Forest that uses the musical theme associated with Fungus Forest.

#4 Sonic 2: Hidden Palace

Run too fast, and you might just end up missing this one this hidden level, showing up in the early prototype versions of Sonic The Hedgehog. The Hidden Palace zone initially seems like a bizarre game segment.

To cut things short, the level is very abstract with a color palette dominated by purple and gold caverns. While it certainly feels in line with the surrounding game's particular aesthetic, it's heavily reliant on recycled elements.

It's alleged that the Hidden Palace failed to come together during the development process and was cut from the game close to its initial launch.

Worry not though, the level was released afterward as a one-act level in the iOS remaster of Sonic 2.

#5 Kingdom Hearts: Jungle Book

In the time since the launch of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, data miners went about doing their usual thing and what they do best and uncovered quite a bit of unused content.

One that was particularly a surprise, was a series of partially textures maps corresponding to a planned but unfortunately canceled game world, based on Disney's 1967 animated film: The Jungle Book.

While some elements such as King Louie's throne seem to have been completed, large sections of the world are visibly unfinished and in rough shape.

Still, the promise of what this level could have been, is nonetheless clear. A perfect marriage between our favorite childhood universes would leave anyone wishing for more.

#6 GoldenEye 007: Citadel.

Digging around the memory of this classic Nintendo 64 shooter can be quite enlightening, especially when one stumbles upon this incomplete game map. 

Named Citadel, the stage consists of three floors with untextured walls and plenty of bizarre geometry, surrounded by empty space. Only the basic shape of the level is complete. Textures are not aligned at all and gaps appear in the floor. Looking at the general layout of the map, it is obvious the stage was intended for a multiplayer mode.

Little is known of the intent behind the level's design, though some believe Citadel to have been meant to test game features and player movement.

#7 Crash Bandicoot: Astound The Skunk.

For those familiar with the moment-to-moment play in Crash Bandicoot, an entire level dedicated to descending from treetops to the jungle floor below isn't really something that's out of place.

Yet one look at Astound the Skunk (also known as the cliff level) makes it clear that the expected polish isn't quite there. The level contains surfaces with rough texture design, the animals meant to impede crash seem to be frozen in time and there are many places where you could simply clip through objects.

Astound the skunk is an intriguing level and many questions endure as to what was planned for it and what would explain its absence from the final version.

Adding to the mystery, the level is pretty messed up. You can pretty much everywhere and there are plenty of bugs, glitches, and invisible platforms.


#8 Grand Theft Auto San Andreas: Tanked Up

Tanked Up is a conclusion to the ongoing conflict between competing RC vehicle manufacturers Zero and Berkley.

The mission would opt to close out in a chaotic fashion upon news of Berkley sending RC cars to bomb zeros shop. During the mission, the player has to pilot an RC tiger tank and intercept the enemy car in transit.

Tanked up was intended to be the third mission in the optional asset mission strand related to the RC shop. While the mission and concept seem appropriately eccentric for a Grand Theft Auto experience, it nevertheless got cut before San Andreas hit the store shelves.

This piece of cut content is truly remarkable and fits right into the whole GTA universe.

#9 Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: HK manufacturing plant

Similar to a number of Obsidian entertainment games, Knights of the Old Republic launched in an extremely rushed and technically imperfect state, with significant portions of the plot and game world completely absent.

This includes a significant side quest on the planet Talos "For Where I Have A Timeshare", during which a recurring companion and assassin droid HK 47 (a clear reference to agent 47 from the Hitman franchise) would have infiltrated and wreaked havoc and caused chaos upon the HK manufacturing plant.

This deleted quest also offers HK 47 and by extension the player the option to destroy or take command of an army of advanced HK bots which affects the future events of the game's climax.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of the community, this questline didn't die and avoided becoming lost in time.

#10 Metal Gear Solid V: Episode 51

Despite the game industry having plenty of instances of behind-the-scenes issues and scandals, the creation of Metal Gear Solid V nonetheless stands out as astoundingly tumultuous even by those standards.

Allegedly, director Hideo Kojima's expensive ambitions for the game, coupled with the publisher Konami's supposedly draconian management, meant that a large part of the phantom pain was left incomplete.

Episode 51 was a notable big chunk of content that was missing from the final release of the game, a mission riffing on Lord of the Flies that would have concluded the child soldier Eli's personal arc and explained his enduring hatred of Big Boss.

For something so important to a game's resolution to be cut out because of production troubles, we can only hope that in the future it will get released as a DLC.

What do you think?

Written by Editorial Team


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