In the process of developing a video game, many ideas are discarded as unworkable for one reason or another. However, if the idea makes it far enough into the development process, aspects of it can be still be found within the code of the released games, or it may show up in trailers or interviews with the developers.
The following list covers much of this removed content. It is not comprehensive, and focuses on the more prominent elements.
Prominently removed content
Bahamut was originally planned to appear as a summon in Kingdom Hearts, but was removed before the game was released. Through cheat codes, a "Bahamut" option can appear in the Summons menu and can be selected. However, since there is nothing on the game disc to execute, the game will crash when chosen.
As seen in the game's beta trailer, Disney Castle was originally set to appear as a playable World in Kingdom Hearts. Removed for currently unknown reasons, the world can still be accessed via cheat codes, as areas of the world exist from the game's opening cutscenes. Despite its removal as a playable world, it still appears on the gummi ship map.
Toy Story World
The proposal folder shown to Buena Vista included plans for a world based on Toy Story.
An area known as the Crumbling Island was meant to appear in the End of the World as the setting for the final battle between Sora and Riku before the climactic battle with Ansem. It appears as a remnant of Destiny Islands, consumed by the darkness. The area itself is reminiscent of the Secret Place, where Ansem is introduced for the very first time.
In earlier builds of the game, the combat menu would display the MP cost of associated spells.
At the end of the beta trailer, an alternate Kingdom Hearts logo is shown, the word "Kingdom" in standard golden text on top, the crown just above it, while "Hearts" is displayed in a toned down version of the standard logo's spiked font below. The trademark heart is absent.
The Assault Rider was going to appear in Kingdom Hearts, but was removed because it "didn't fit" in any of the worlds, possibly due to its style. It later appears in The Land of Dragons in Kingdom Hearts II.
In the E3 2001 trailer, the scene where Destiny Islands is destroyed plays out slightly differently from the final game. At the end of the trailer, Sora also manually inserts the Keyblade into Destiny Islands's Keyhole in the Secret Place; in the final version of the game, the Keyblade would shoot a beam to lock or unlock objects. There are also several cutscenes with Riku that do not appear in the final game, one of which being when Riku is atop the Big Ben, seen staring out in a crouched position. The other being a moment at the destruction of Destiny Islands where Riku is seen standing in an open armed position staring up and saying something to particularly anger Sora enough to attack him. Donald and Goofy also have different attires all through the game, and the cutscene after the defeat of the Guard Armor is set closer to the world door of Traverse Town then in the final game. And there is a scene where Sora is seen running down an alleyway in Traverse Town from something almost falling over before turning around to look behind him.
Within the game files there's an idle animation along with a jumping animation for the Fat Bandit Heartless which are absent from the game.
Dive to the Heart
A screenshot from an early magazine scan shows the Dive to the Heart was set to appear in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, likely as a memory-fabricated floor in Castle Oblivion, but was discarded.
Deep Jungle and Jungle King
Deep Jungle was set to appear in the game—as an early screenshot of the game testifies—as was its Keyblade, Jungle King, as a Card, but was removed due to Square Enix being unable to secure the rights to use Tarzan in future works.
Unused Map Cards
Three Map Cards were present in an early build of the game, but were removed in the final release: One bearing the image of a grassy field, one being a desert, and one showing what appears to be the platforms in Dive to the Heart. All three were Status Map Cards with unknown effects.
A mode called Extreme Mode can be found within the files of Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories. The mode can be activated through an editing program but no noticeable changes can be found compared to the other modes. A description can be found in the pause menu which states that both Sora and the enemies are meant to be at their strongest from the start in this mode.
Through the use of a cheating device, two palette swaps of the Ultima Weapon can be obtained in Kingdom Hearts II. These are the "Edge of Ultima", a version of the original Ultima Weapon with a non-textured appearance, and the "Detection Saber", a palette swap of the original as well, except slightly larger. When these Keychains are accessed in Sora's Items menu, no picture of the Keyblades are shown, only map icons; additionally, they use the effects of the Oblivion Keychain. Using the same method, Donald and Goofy can achieve similar weapons called "Staff of Detection" and "Detection Shield" respectively. These weapons were most likely used as collision models to check if battles or cutscenes could glitch.
Woody and Buzz Lightyear summons
Woody and Buzz Lightyear, characters from Pixar's Toy Story series, were at one point planned to appear as new summons in Kingdom Hearts II. Their models appear within the game coding, albeit without textures.
In his final battle, Xemnas was originally intended to use two "super-gigantic Nobodies" other than his dragon; King (キング, Kingu?), which is humanoid and fittingly has a crown adorned with Nobody sigils, and Kentauros (ケンタロウス, Kentarousu?), a humanoid upper body fused with a quadrupedal lower body. Both of them appear to be created from Dark City, similar to the Dragon Form.
For Kingdom Hearts II, Tetsuya Nomura intended to allow players to fight all of the Organization XIII members again at the Coliseum. This idea, however, was dropped due to time constraints. Instead, the characters were included in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, along with the rest of the members as data-based versions in separate optional boss fights and in a new location.
The E3 2005 and the TGS 2003 trailers for Kingdom Hearts II shows scenes that were ultimately removed from the final release of the game:
The Hi-Ether was planned for Kingdom Hearts II at some point but was never implemented, only the sprite remained in the game files.
Final Fantasy IX inspired theme
An unused and not instrumentalized song that might be inspired by the Final Fantasy IX theme "Daughter of Madain Sari" is present in the game data.
Behemoth and Wyvern
The promotional trailers for Kingdom Hearts II depicted Sora, Donald, and Goofy running towards the horde of Heartless, which included a new kind of Behemoth and several Final Mix-design Wyvern. The Behemoths and Wyverns were excluded from the final game, although this version of the cutscene appears in the opening of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
Pinocchio's World was originally set to appear in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, but was eventually removed due to space restrictions. Tetsuya Nomura explained that the planned plot for the world was,
The Crooked Chariot (ローディチャリオット, Rōdi Chariotto?) is a Heartless that, judging by its pegasus-like appearance, was set to appear in Olympus Coliseum but was ultimately cut from the game. It would have used lightning as its weapon.
Pinocchio's World would have included Pinocchio (as a human) and Geppetto, as well as the villains, Honest John and Gideon from the original film. The profile sprites for the characters still appear within the final game's code.
Hades and Megara were also planned to appear in Olympus Coliseum, and Tinker Bell was apparently planned to have lines, before she was made mute. These characters' profile sprites also appear within the final game's code.
Early screenshots shows early versions of the character icon in battle. Unused version of the character sprites also appear within the final game's code. Xion's unused sprite shows her with bluer hair than with black hair.
Weapon palette swaps
Wing Gear and Wind Maker
The Wind Maker (ウィンドメイカー, Windo Meikā?) was to be an aerial attack Keyblade when the Wing Gear (ウィングギア, Wingu Gia?) was equipped. However both the Keyblade and Gear were ultimately cut and the Wind Maker's appearance given to Leviathan.
MP and LM Gauges
The 2006-2007 beta build of the game featured an MP gauge to execute magic spells, and an LM gauge to trigger Limit Breaks.
Originally, it was planned for Roxas and the members of Organization XIII to feature unique animations when they stood idle for extended periods of time.
A version of the Kingdom Key D, the Lightseeker (ライトシーカー, Raitoshīkā?), was set to be an equipable Keyblade for Ventus. It can still be equipped through the use of a cheat device on the Japanese version.
The Jungle Book World
The Jungle Book was originally set to appear as a playable world in the game, but was removed. The world can still be accessed by the use of cheat codes. A number of areas are accessible, including Louie's Throne Room.
Cutscenes and altered maps
Certain cutscenes which appeared in early trailers - shown at events such as the Tokyo Game Show and Jump Festa - were later altered for the game's final release. For example, the scene in which Master Xehanort reveals his plan to forge the χ-blade to Ventus was originally meant to appear in Olympus Coliseum, rather than the Keyblade Graveyard. A scant few scenes were also omitted, including one where Terra watches a young Sora and Riku partake in a sword fight, as well as individual lines, such as Terra telling Aqua that searching for the light Master Xehanort is after will lead them to him or Ventus at Destiny Island telling Aqua to erase him.
Some worlds had areas that are inaccessible to some of the characters in the game's final version. Examples include Ventus in the Palace Courtyard at Castle of Dreams and Terra at the cottage at Dwarf Woodlands.
Until mid-2009, the design for the rear of Aqua's outfit left her back exposed, but by the time the game was released, Nomura edited the outfit to cover her lower back. These earlier designs also gave Aqua's hair and eyes a dark shade of blue, and lacked the sheen her final model has.
Originally, the Mirage Arena was meant to have a slight element of story to it, rather than be completely distant from any auxiliary characters. The developers planned for Laguna Loire from Final Fantasy VIII to appear in the Mirage Arena as the head of the arena. However, the team was also planning Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy at the same time, and decided that if Laguna appeared in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, he could not appear in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. The team eventually decided they would rather have Laguna appear in the latter, and so Laguna was ultimately left out of the final product. As of yet, no data has been found in game of his planned appearance.
Large Land of Departure chest
A texture for a large Treasure Chest for the Land of Departure appears in the game files, but does not appear in-game.
Kingdom Hearts 3D Demo renders
The renders for the demo version of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance were left within the game data of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, including Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Xemnas, Sora, Riku, Kairi, and the Twilight Thorn along with various elements of the demo's logo.
Airstrike Command Style
An early screenshot reveals that Shadow Sora was originally set to appear in Traverse Town, but was removed for unknown reasons.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days-style talk sprites
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded was to use talk sprites in the same fashion as Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. The idea was scrapped in the final release, but the talk sprites are still available within the game's coding.
In the first two trailers for the game, the Heartless were the primary enemies Sora and Riku would do battle against - specifically Shadows. This was eventually changed into Dream Eaters, with common Heartless scrapped entirely.
A screenshot from an early trailer of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance depicted Sora and the Twilight Thorn standing in the Second District of Traverse Town. In the final game, the Twilight Thorn does not make an appearance.
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Flowmotion effects and abilities
In the second trailer for the game (and first gameplay trailer), Sora had a yellow Flowmotion glow while Riku had a white-blue glow - the final game gave Flowmotion a pink glow for both characters. Additionally, players could slide along the rooftops in Traverse Town. In the final game, players could only slide and grind along specially marked rails and lines.
Early Drop gauge
In the first trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3D, the Drop gauge originally had a gradient from violet to magenta to cream. It was also much longer in length.
Alternate Dual Link icon
In early screenshots for Kingdom Hearts 3D, the icon on the touchscreen for activating Dual Link was represented as a purple rounded rectangle with "Dual Link" in orange text. This icon was later replaced with a white circle containing the Spirit sigil.
Queen Buzzerfly as a common enemy
The Queen Buzzerfly was originally created as a much smaller common Dream Eater before being reintroduced as a Dive Mode boss. During battle, the Queen Buzzerfly would have sat in the eye of a needle and spun like a top.
Cut World Scenarios
Originally, Space Paranoids was set to return as a Sleeping World for Sora's scenario of The Grid, as well as having Fantasia 2000 elements/worlds appearing in Riku's scenario of Symphony of Sorcery. Tetsuya Nomura found that they "had a lot to work with in the original Fantasia", so the latter was dropped. The former was likely dropped due to timing constraints. Had the original plans gone through, according to Masaru Oka, scenario and cutscene director for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Rinzler was originally intended to be a boss for Riku's side of the story
Kingdom Key D
Rabbit-type Dream Eater
A lapine Dream Eater concept was planned for inclusion at one point, and is depicted in the Ultimania. It would have fought using carrots plucked from the ground.
The Whirligig (ウィンドミル, Windomiru?, lit. "Windmill") training toy is depicted in the Ultimania, which claims it is a special gift for Streetpassing. A second unused training toy called Fireworks also has a sprite present within the game data.
Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]
Fairy Stars Keyblade
While the Enchanted Dominion world became fully playable in Kingdom Hearts Union χ, along with the Fairy Stars Keyblade, there were plans to include it in the browser version of the game at some point. The first and third Keyblade upgrade can still be found in the game files, although they are omitted in the mobile versions of the game. The Keychains for these Keyblades, however, were implemented into other versions of the mobile game's Keyblades.
In the closed beta of the game, there were three additional Orichalcum materials besides the normal one that is used to upgrade the Keyblades to their next form. While the stone and shard materials are not seen in other games, the highest tier that looks like Orichalcum+ from Kingdom Hearts II was most likely later replaced by the Adamantite Ore.
Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]
Pink Dragon Spirit
When the Pet system was first revealed, several Spirit parts depicting a pink dragon Spirit were among the promotional images. However, the Dragon Spirit was never introduced in-game.
Most Pets come in three color variants while some of them weren't released before the online service for the game ended. They still can be found in the game files along with the most likely named "Goatstar" which was skipped entirely.
Animated battle sprites
In the D23 Expo Japan 2013 Trailer, Sora and friends' battle sprites are animated. This is not the case in later trailers or the final version of Kingdom Hearts III.
In the D23 Expo Japan 2013, E3 2015, and Jump Festa 2016 Trailers, Sora and friends battle a group of Heartless in the Tram Common, near the Woods. This is changed to the lower portion of Tram Common in the final release.
Playable Mysterious Tower
In the Jump Festa 2016 Trailer, Sora and company battle a group of Heartless outside the Mysterious Tower. While the world itself appears in Kingdom Hearts III's final version, it is not explorable in any capacity and only shows up in cutscenes.
Unused idle faces and animations
The game's data includes unused idle faces for Aqua and Riku when playable, different ones as party members, and ones for Mickey, Ventus, Lea, Kairi, Roxas and Xion. Riku and Mickey also have movement animations while in idle. These do not appear in regular gameplay due to Aqua and Riku only being playable during boss fights and the rest only being present as a party members when boss fights occur.
The idle faces do appear in the save file menus, but are simply not used as intended. Riku's idle face with his second hairstyle and idle movements, however, were finally used during the Limit Cut episode in Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind.
During Re Mind, there are three additional unused idle sprites, one for playable Kairi, one for playable Roxas and one for Sora as a party member.
Necklaces and Medals
The Bronze Necklace was originally intended to have thirteen different variants. In addition to the version in the final game, variants which switch out the +1 Strength and +1 Magic for Defender, Extra Cost, Full MP Blast, Lucky Strike, HP Converter, MP Converter, Munny Converter, Burn Protection, Cloud Protection, Sneeze Protection, Freeze Protection, or Electric Protection exist in the game's code.
The Silver Necklace was originally intended to have twelve different variants. In addition to the version in the final game, variants which switch out the +2 Strength and +2 Magic for Blizzard Boost, Water Boost, Magic Treasure Magnet, Second Chance, Stun Protection, Item Boost, Fire Syphon, Blizzard Syphon, Thunder Syphon, Water Syphon, or Aero Syphon exist in the game's code.
The Master's Necklace was originally intended to have eight different variants. In addition to the version in the final game, variants which switch out the +3 Strength and +3 Magic for Aero Boost, Wizard's Ruse, Withstand Combo, Damage Syphon, MP Thrift, Berserk Charge, or Dark Syphon exist in the game's code.
The Junior Medal was originally intended to have three additional variants. In addition to those in the final game, variants with +2 Strength and HP Converter, +2 Magic and MP Converter, or +6 AP and Munny Converter exist in the game's code.
The Star Medal was originally intended to have two additional variants. In addition to those in the final game, variants with +1 Strength, +1 Magic, +9 AP, and MP Thrift or +1 Strength, +1 Magic, +9 AP, and Berserk Charge exist in the game's code.
The Wayfinder Situation Command from Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- is still within the games coding. Should Aqua be hacked into a fight with Mickey as a party member, Wayfinder has a chance of appearing as a Situation Command. Although it works exactly as it did in 0.2, the Finish command, graphic, and the Situation bar doesn't work and is missing.
Cutscenes and altered maps
Kingdom of Corona
In the E3 2015 and Jump Festa 2016 Trailers, Sora walks from the cave in the Hills to the Tower before encountering a group of Chief Puff and Puffball Heartless. In the final release, Sora runs out of cave in the Hills and doesn't encounter any Heartless.
In the Jump Festa 2016 Trailer, Sora and company battle a group of Reapers Nobodies near the waterfall near Rapunzel's Tower. In the final release, they do not appear here.
In the E3 2013 Sony Conference Announcement Trailer, Sora, in his Kingdom Hearts II attire, finds the Master's Defender on the beach of Destiny Islands, before examining it. In the final release, Sora appears in his Kingdom Hearts III attire instead.
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Notes and references