The lights are on
During development, video games go through hundreds if not thousands of changes before making it to the consumer. It’s a regular part of the development of any game. For some games, however, we get to see them as they evolve, and by the time they release they look or feel much different than what we expected. Sometimes, after the game releases, the developers reveal just how much the game changed during development. These are some of the most drastic changes.Okami
Okami is one of gaming's most visually-compelling experiences, but it didn’t start out that way. In the beginning, Okami strived for realism. Switching to the cel-shaded art-style was done out of technical necessity so that Clover could fit as much onto the disc as possible. Once Clover landed on an art style it liked, however, it ran with it at full speed and created a game that will never look dated.
Borderlands, much like Okami, began its life with a realistic visual direction. The first teaser trailer for the game showed off a realistic shooter set in an intimidating wasteland. When the switch occurred, people were upset, but after the game released, everyone could see why the cartoonish-style meshed perfectly with the game’s humor.
Resident Evil 2
Often referred to as Resident Evil 1.5, Resident Evil 2 was scrapped and restarted late in development before it became the game it is today. Leon didn’t change much during the transition, but Claire was originally a character named Elza Walker, a college student vacationing in Raccoon City. Apparently, the game was nearly 80% finished before game director Shinji Mikami decided he wasn’t happy with it and wanted to restart. You can find footage of the nearly finished game online today. Apparently, the story for the scrapped version of Resident Evil 2 was much more conclusive, and could have served as an ending to the series.
Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry
Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry have a strange developmental bond. Devil May Cry began its life as Resident Evil 4, but as the team moved further and further into development, they realized that the idea of playing as a super-powered bad-ass with a sword didn’t fit into the Resident Evil canon. The characters were renamed, demons were added, and a new franchise was born.
Meanwhile, development truly began on Resident Evil 4. In a similar story to what happened with Resident Evil 2, the game was quite far into development when everyone threw up their hands and said, “Screw this! Let’s start over!” The original version of the game had Leon fighting an evil fog, experiencing hallucinations, and fighting apparitions and ghosts. A trailer was released based on this version of the game, and you can even see a full three and a half minutes of gameplay footage above.Conker’s Bad Fur Day
It might not be surprising to learn that Conker started out as a children’s platformer. The game was announced in 1997 and it looked like an unspectacular platformer that did little to separate itself from Rare’s other Nintendo 64 titles like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. The game went underground after it was first shown for three years, and re-emerged in 2000 as the profane adult-oriented game we know today. Outside of the trailer below, there is other evidence of Conker’s childish roots in the form of Conker’s Pocket Tales for Game Boy Color.
Bioshock’s original story had nothing to do with Andrew Ryan, underwater cities, or genetic superpowers. Players took on the role of character hired by a senator to rescue someone from a cult and reprogram them back into the normal society. At one time, it even took place in the 21st century in a recently unearthed Nazi laboratory.Splinter Cell
Splinter Cell began internally as an RTS at Ubisoft, and before it made its way to a stealth action game, it took a pit stop where it spent some time as an adventure game on a floating island. Ubisoft was basically throwing ideas at a board until something stuck, and that idea ultimately became a Metal Gear Solid stealth game competitor.
Team Fortress 2
Valve is renowned for allowing its games to gestate over a long period of time, and Team Fortress 2 was one of the developer’s biggest offenders. The game was in development for nearly a decade. It was shown off for the first time in 1999 at E3 with a realistic military art direction, and then it just sort of disappeared. Many assumed the game had been abandoned as most of the team was working on other Valve projects. In 2006 the game was re-unveiled with its vastly altered art direction. In an interview with Robin Walker, co-creator of the original Team Fortress, about the development of Team Fortress 2 he said, "We ended up building probably three to four different games."
Email the author Kyle Hilliard, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
They should definitely not abandon the original vision they had for RE4. Substitute a new protagonist for Leon and tweak the game's story to differentiate it from the Resident Evil story line and there is a potentially great survival horror game in there.
Another fascinatin read from GI.
it's nice to learn things like this.
I would love to see Borderlands in its original form.
This is such a great article. Thanks for all the research that went into this.
I would really dig seeing Okami in it's original form, It looks just as good and fun :3. I was so sad when they scrapped the original Resident Evil 4. The more horror elements, the Deer head bleeding & coming to life and the seamless change in the environment far surpass the overall package of Re4 that we got ( but that isn't to lower how much I love Re4!!! ) and it easily looks better then what RE5 is. Everything seemed to fit right imo.
I had heard about the drastic design change to Borderlands but never took the time to research how it looked originally. Obviously it worked. I wonder how long it took them to go back and change the entire look of the game.
Honestly the other version of bioshock sounds cooler to me
Huh, I didn't know there was another version of RE4. I wish it was released to the public because it looks very interesting.
Looking at RE 4 and DMC, Dante and Leon have pretty similar personalities. not sure if that was an accident
Wow, that was interesting. I actually really like both the realistic and official version of Okami, but that's probably biased by the fact that I love wolves. I think Splinter Cell going from RTS to Adventure to steal action was the biggest surprise for me. Thanks for the read!
I actually had a chance to do some play-testing on the alpha build of Borderlands, back when it was still being done in the realistic style.
I was...not impressed.
Gearbox hadn't gotten very far on it, the inventory and most of the weapons hadn't even been designed yet, and the one level they had built was basically just a big, open desert arena sparsely populated with bandits and skags. It was also much more team oriented, with an extremely heavy emphasis on co-op.
After playing that demo, I kind of didn't care about the game when it came out, but finally got around to it and found out that all of the changes were absolutely for the best.
Pretty interesting stuff here, thanks for sharing.
Like other have said, I'd really like to play those RE early builds :D
I never got why TF2 took so long.
Its not a very large or complicated game, and most the content we have now was added post-launch.
I remember Resident Evil 4's problems from way back. Game got delayed like 4 times on my local Gamestop >.<
Are they playing that version Resident Evil 4 on GameCube?