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 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 interesting elements.
- 1 Prominently removed content
- 1.1 Kingdom Hearts
- 1.2 Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
- 1.3 Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories
- 1.4 Kingdom Hearts II
- 1.5 Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
- 1.6 Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
- 1.7 Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
- 1.8 Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
- 1.9 Kingdom Hearts coded
- 1.10 Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
- 1.11 Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
- 1.12 Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]
- 2 References
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. It was removed for unknown reasons, but the world can still be accessed via cheat codes, as areas of the world exist from the game's opening cutscenes. It can still be seen in the world map.
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.
Pride Lands was originally going to be a world used in Kingdom Hearts, but was removed due to the software having difficulties portraying convincing quadrupedal movement and needing another collision detection engine for the level. It was later featured as a playable world in Kingdom Hearts II.
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 the Destiny Islands are destroyed plays out slightly differently from the final game. At the end of the trailer, Sora also manually inserts the Keyblade into the Destiny Islands 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 arm position staring up and saying something to particularly anger Sora enough to attack him.
Donald and Goofy also have different attires throughout 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.
Aside from the E3 2001 trailer, and in the final version of the game, a scene where Sora and Riku are exploring the secret place is cut off right as new dialogue appears, but in the continued version of this scene later in the game, no such dialogue appears.
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 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 Disney being unable to secure the rights to use Tarzan in future works.
In an early screenshot of the game, Magic cards were substituted by some Card Prototypes, such as Cure and Thunder, that had their picture sightly altered. However, they were removed from the game for unknown reasons.
Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories was originally going to have 3D cards, rather than 2D Cards as seen in the beta screenshots in the game. Also, an S shaped icon was featured on the player's deck.
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 glitched 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.
Alternate Xemnas forms
In his final battle, Xemnas was originally intended to use two forms other than the World of Nothingness—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 the Dark City, similar to the World of Nothingness.
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 trailer for Kingdom Hearts II shows scenes that were ultimately removed from the final release of the game:
- The scene where Roxas chases the thief is altered.
- Axel walks closer to the far wall in the scene before his fight with Roxas; as he approaches it, he looks back at Roxas and grins.
- Donald and Goofy are released from the Memory Pods in the Old Mansion's basement; Donald fires a Blizzard spell which ricochets off the walls, hits him and freezes him in a block of ice.
- The Kingdom Hearts version of Hollow Bastion, specifically the Great Crest, appears as the place where Sora first met the surviving members of the Organization, after the trio slays a horde of Neoshadows.
- Sora meets King Mickey in his Kingdom Hearts II attire before visiting the Mysterious Tower.
- Sora was shown on the Dark Margin and holding his Keyblade up to something like he was getting ready to seal a Keyhole.
- Newly colored Behemoths and Wyverns appeared in the Battle of the 1000 Heartless.
A number of unused models exist in the game files, many of them complete, such as Riku in his Kingdom Hearts attire and younger Riku in an Organization XIII cloak, as he appeared in the ending of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.
Lazy Afternoons alternate
An alternate version of Twilight Town's theme, Lazy Afternoons, is present in the game data.
Unused Final Fantasy IX theme
Another unused song, this one being very reminiscent of the Final Fantasy IX's "Eyes to Eyes", was found, despite the instruments used for this theme are different from the Final Fantasy IX version.
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 Final Mix. Their models appear within the game files, albeit without textures.
A Toy Story world was later announced at the D23 conference in 2017, to be included in Kingdom Hearts III. Both Woody and Buzz will be making an appearance.
Profile sprites and Pinocchio's World
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 as follows:
Set in a circus and playing off the story of Pinocchio, a puppet with a heart, and the Nobodies who possess no heart, we planned for a sad episode with Roxas and Xion looking for hope for themselves.
The 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. "Pinocchio's World" would later appear in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance as Prankster's Paradise.
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.
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.
"Older" looking Roxas
An early promotional artwork for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts coded depicted the main characters of each game in a tripartite mural. Roxas was included in the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days section, yet was drawn to look several years older than his Kingdom Hearts II appearance. Nothing related to this was covered in the actual game, and as of yet no explanation has been given for this design variation.
A version of the Kingdom Key D, the Light Seeker (ライトシーカー Raito Shīkā?), was set to be an equippable 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 shown to be 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 swordfight, as well as individual lines, such as Terra telling Aqua that searching for the light Master Xehanort is after will lead them to him, and another scene where Ventus is at Destiny Islands, asking Aqua to erase him.
Early gameplay demos and trailers show Terra on the bridge to the castle while it is covered in thorns, yet Terra can only access the bridge while it is daytime in the actual game.
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.
The rear of Aqua 's outfit was left ambiguous for some time due to series creator Tetsuya Nomura being unsure in its finalization. Until mid-2009, the back was left exposed until the game was officially released, where only the upper-back was exposed due to censorship. Also, Aqua's hair and eyes were 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.
Kingdom Hearts 3D Demo renders
The renders for the demo version of Kingdom Hearts 3D were left within the game data of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, including Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Xemnas, Sora, Riku, Kairi along with various elements of the demo's logo.
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 talk sprite
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. Here is a list of the talk sprites found in the game's coding.
In the first trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora uses Flowmotion to slide along a roof and jump on an awning in Traverse Town's Second District. These places were not available for use in the finished version of the game.
Early Drop gauge
In the first trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3D, the Drop gauge originally had a gradient from violet to magenta to cream.
Heartless and Nobodies
Heartless and Nobodies were originally going to appear as the main game's enemies. Nomura even stated this, but he scrapped them and they were replaced by Dream Eaters. In early scans of the game, Sora is seen fighting Shadow Heartless and a Twilight Thorn in Traverse Town. Shadow Heartless appear in the game's first trailer.
Sora was originally supposed to go to Space Paranoids, while Riku was go to The Grid instead, but this was scrapped, and Sora and Riku both go to The Grid with the same story.
Fantasia and Fantasia 2000
Sora was originally supposed to go to Fantasia, while Riku was going to go to Fantasia 2000, but this was also scrapped due that Nomura himself said "there is a lot of things to work with Fantasia so that's why we just decided to put Sora and Riku in Fantasia".
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.
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.
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 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 plan 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 always omitted in the mobile versions of the game.
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 358/2 Days Fan Powered Q&A
- Interview "The FFVIII hero was actually supposed to have appeared in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Nomura revealed. They'd even partially prepared a scenario where Laguna appears as the head of Mirage Arena. In the end, they decided that if they were to have a new character from FFVIII in Duodecim it would end up being Laguna, so they left him out of BbS."
- Kingdom Hearts 3D Ultimania: Mamoru Ohashi: "Of course, halfway through development many Dream Eaters were cut to my extreme sadness. Among them was Queen Buzzerfly, which began designed as a normal small-fry enemy and cut but made a miraculous recovery as a Dive Mode boss, which is rare to have happen. By the way, when it was small-fry it attacked by sitting in the eye of a needle and spinning like a top."