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Franchise: Killer Instinct
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On the 19th of February 2024, designer Kevin Baylis revealed a pitch he made for Killer Instinct 3 for the Nintendo 64. It was meant to be a prequel featuring younger versions of the characters, where players could hone the characters' moves, then gaining more before moving on to "the next chapters of their lives". The game didn't make past the concept phase because the people at Rare thought that "the fighting game ‘fad’ was over".
Kingdom Hearts III
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Tetsuya Nomura had requested for the character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to be used in Kingdom Hearts III, but Disney responded that he would be "too difficult" to use, though they never clarified why. While his plans for Oswald had he been added to the game are unknown, it's worth noting that Nomura has admitted that Oswald is one of his favorite Disney characters.
person chocolatejr9 calendar_month February 22, 2024
The Joy of Creation: Ignited Collection
subdirectory_arrow_right The Joy of Creation (Game)
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Originally, the first game in the The Joy of Creation series was going to be remade as part of The Joy of Creation: Ignited Collection, where it would have been known as "The Joy of Creation: Classic". However, on July 27, 2023, Nikson revealed that he had changed his mind about adding Classic to the collection, instead having it only include The Joy of Creation: Reborn and The Joy of Creation: Story Mode.
Sneakers
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Sneakers' graphical style was originally going to look more like a picture book or two-dimensional cartoon, but after seeing a realistic fur CGI demonstration at SIGGRAPH, it was decided to use a more realistic style instead.
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
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According to a 2005 interview with the game's producer Koji Igarashi published in the official Konami strategy guide, he stated that the decision to set the game three years after the events of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was significantly driven by his love for the game. The introduction of the "Innocent Devil" system, where players have a demon servant fighting alongside them, prompted him to consider the game's placement within the Castlevania timeline. Given the demonic nature of the Innocent Devils, Igarashi decided the story should align closely with that theme.

The idea he came up with back then revolved around a hidden narrative during Ralph C. Belmont's battle against Dracula, where there existed someone who betrayed Dracula, and another individual who relentlessly pursued this traitor. Igarashi believed that despite these circumstances not being part of the officially recorded history in-universe, they still significantly impacted Dracula’s defeat, and in that sense the gameplay system came first and the story was woven around it,
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
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In a 2005 interview with the game's producer Koji Igarashi published in the official Konami strategy guide, he explained the decision to change the series' title in the domestic Japanese market from "Castlevania" back to "Akumajo Dracula".

The title change to Castlevania in Japan initially occurred because the Akumajo Dracula games enjoyed a larger market share in Europe and America compared to Japan. Consequently, more reports and information about the games were available in those regions, and they were released there first. In the recent past, news from outside Japan was harder to access, but with the advent of the internet, Japanese users could now easily stay informed. However, there was a concern that Japanese players might not immediately recognize the equivalence between Castlevania and Akumajo Dracula, so the main title of the previous game Lament of Innocence was changed to Castlevania in Japan to address this.

Subsequently, for Curse of Darkness, the decision was made to revert to the original title because the team felt that the Castlevania name had become associated with trilogies, inadvertently making it challenging for fans to find information about the Akumajo Dracula titles. The team wanted to ensure clarity for Japanese fans and clear up any confusion among Akumajo Dracula fans about if Castlevania was supposed to be Akumajo Dracula.
Checkered Flag
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Checkered Flag was originally going to be a simulation of an F1 car, but was changed into an unrealistic action game after playtesters complained about the controls.
person Rocko & Heffer calendar_month February 17, 2024
Nightingale
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Nightingale was originally planned to be an MMORPG, but this idea was scrapped in favor of making it a survival game. Inflexion Games, the company behind the game, also stated that unlike most role-playing games, Nightingale was intended to have an interesting premise and lore rather than a strong narrative. This was done to allow players to create their own stories for the game.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies
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Game designer Yuki Nakamura, who was in charge of writing the DLC episode "Turnabout Reclaimed", used the concept of "lighthearted fun" to set it apart from the episodes in the base game. The episode featuring an orca and taking place in an aquarium was the first thing she decided on, but she struggled to come up with the rest of the story. One scrapped idea had the orca stealing treasure from the aquarium and attacking people by the shore as it escaped to sea, with the mystery involving the reason for the orca's behavior. The draft for this version of the episode opened with Bobby Fulbright and some guards vaguely referring to somebody escaping. This was intended to mislead players into thinking that they were referring to Simon Blackquill, before it was ultimately revealed to be the orca.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2
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Within the 2023 Insomniac Games ransomware leak, a PC developer build of the game was found to include several unused Symbiote bosses, including Riot, Lasher, Agony, and Phage. These characters were intended to appear as a team alongside the main antagonist, Venom. However, during development, the game’s story likely underwent changes and the focus shifted to other characters, such as Kraven and Venom. As a result, the Symbiotes besides Venom, Scream, and Anti-Venom were abandoned.
person ProtoSnake calendar_month February 16, 2024
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Leak Reveals Cut Content, Including Riot And Other Symbiotes:
https://exputer.com/news/games/marvels-spider-man-2-leak-riot/

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Leaks Reveal Symbiote Bosses That Didn’t Make the Final Cut Along With Some Scrapped Story Elements:
https://in.ign.com/marvels-spider-man-2/200881/news/marvels-spider-man-2-leaks-reveal-symbiote-bosses-that-didnt-make-the-final-cut
Epic Mickey
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Attachment In 2021, a 15-second clip of early animation tests for the game dating back to 2006-2007 was discovered on the website of animator Michael Daubert, who worked on animations for an early iteration of the game, but went uncredited in the final release as everything in the test footage was scrapped. These tests showcase a completely different art style from the final game and unused gameplay elements, with Mickey shooting ink out of his body to quickly surf around, and jumping and slamming the ground to summon a tidal wave of ink to attack large Blotling enemies. This tidal wave attack also causes Mickey to lose all of his colors, turn white and become exhausted, suggesting that the known early idea of ink/paint/thinner usage changing his physical appearance was going to involve a stamina meter tied to his attacks. Mickey's early design was more stylized compared to his traditional appearance in the final game, featuring a prominently tall forehead, a lanky, stretched body, no visible mouth, and crooked oval ears. This early design would live on through an emblem used in promotional materials and as a recurring icon throughout the final game, with the inky black outline of the early design's head forming an "M".
person MehDeletingLater calendar_month February 15, 2024
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies
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Director Takeshi Yamazaki knew from the start that he wanted all three player characters to have their own motivations and purposes that would play out throughout the game. At one point, he even considered having five lawyers in the game, on account of Dual Destinies being the fifth game in the series. He later stated that the idea was "crazy and overly ambitious", and that they had dodged a bullet by not doing it.
Star Fox 64
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Attachment Beta Star Fox 64 footage circa 1996 shows that Corneria was originally covered in snow. Early footage of the boss fight with the Granga robot even showed it capable of blowing snow as an attack, possibly indicating that it was responsible for Corneria's current state in this build.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month February 12, 2024
Star Fox 64
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Attachment Originally, the development team behind Star Fox 64 themselves actually tried to provide the voice lines for the characters:

—Back in the day, a lot of Nintendo’s games used voices provided by the staff.

Imamura: We dubbed Star Fox 64 ourselves at first, too. We were all like, wow, this is gonna be so cool! But when we showed it to people outside the team, they responded with “laaaame” (laughs). We were told “this is unforgivably bad” (laughs), and so we switched to professional voice actors.

—Ahahaha! But, now I want to hear it for myself… (laughs)

Imamura: Rare did the same thing with their game, except they were really good at it (laughs)

The culture around voice acting isn’t cemented in the US to the extent that it is in Japan; in the US, voice acting is performed by regular actors, whereas in Japan, voice actors have a very specific and distinctive style of delivery, and it could be that it’s left such an impression on us that we’re not as capable of tolerating amateurish voice acting.

What’s funny is that some of the sales people who didn’t like our N64 dub told us that the Super Famicom “buh-buh-buh-buh” voices were cooler, so as a trial, we looked backwards and imported those SFC-style “buh-buh-buh”s, but the reaction was, “nah, that sucks” (laughs). We really did experiment with the animal language (laughs).

As mentioned by Takaya Imamura above, this was met with negative reception internally and thus they switched over to using professional voice actors. What remains of this lost developer dub was recently discovered within the Nintendo gigaleak from 2020.

The official Japanese Star Fox 64 guidebook reveals that it was programmer Nobuhiro Sumiyoshi who provided the original voice for Leon Powalski, who is voiced by Shinobu Satouchi (who also voices Fox McCloud) in the final Japanese version of Star Fox 64.
person Dinoman96 calendar_month February 12, 2024
Star Fox 64 rejected developer dub discovery Reddit thread:
https://www.reddit.com/r/starfox/comments/10m7vj8/found_the_terrible_awesome_rejected_developer_dub/

Rejected developer dub:
https://youtu.be/bpsHjFBK164

2002 Nintendo Dream interview:
https://shmuplations.com/starfoxadventures/

User's English translation of official Japanese Star Fox 64 guidebook:
https://www.reddit.com/r/starfox/comments/y8cwc9/finally_got_around_to_doing_translations/
Star Fox 64
1
Attachment Planet Zoness was originally a beautiful water planet similar to its twin planet, Aquas. It was famous for its resorts and was where Peppy Hare had taken his wife, Vivian, for their honeymoon. However, Andross' forces would invade and pollute its waters with their bioweapons, mutating the local wildlife to become larger and violent.

Early footage of Star Fox 64 circa 1996 actually show Zoness in its pure, unpolluted state, which seems to indicate that making it polluted was decided on later in development. There's actually appears to be dialogue remnants of this cleaner version in the developer's dub:

Peppy: Be careful of the wildlife on this planet.

Falco: Huge, these guys!

Slippy: I want to live in a sea like this, ribbit.

When finishing the stage:

Peppy: I didn't know this planet was under Andorf's power too.

Slippy: I will come back when there is peace.

But in the final polluted version, this exchange in the JP version goes:

Peppy: 何て事だ・・・これがあのゾネスか? (What the... is this Zoness?)

Slippy: 泳ぐ気にもならないよ (I don't even feel like swimming.)

Falco: お前 海でも泳ぐのか (Do you swim in the sea, too?)
person Dinoman96 calendar_month February 11, 2024
Shipwrecked 64
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An unused cutscene in the game has the character Stumbler O'Hare openly mock Harley Mullins (the wife of Mark Mullins) and her situation. This was scrapped both for being "WAY too on the nose", and because Stumbler's personality was altered during development. The cutscene would be replaced with a YouTube video titled "How to say Goodbye", in which Stumbler, despite knowing about Mark's crimes, tries to help him grieve over the loss of Harley. Despite the cutscene's removal, Stumbler's statue in The Dam still has him wearing a nurse's cap like in the cutscene.
person chocolatejr9 calendar_month February 9, 2024
Shipwrecked 64
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There are unused files in the original version of Shipwrecked 64 that suggest that the character Olive Otter was originally planned to be playable, but was scrapped.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
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Shu Takumi originally wanted the Ace Attorney series to end with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations, as he felt that main character Phoenix Wright had been fully explored and had no reason to continue, stating:

"I felt that Phoenix's story had been told, and that the series should not continue. Knowing when to end a story is very important and I wanted to avoid dragging it out and having it become a shadow of its former self."

When it was decided that a fourth game would be made, Takumi wanted the game to have a new main character and story, with Phoenix originally not planned to appear. However, his colleagues wanted Phoenix in the game in some form, which ultimately lead to him being the defendant in the game's first case, "Turnabout Trump".
CrazyBus
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CrazyBus was at one point intended to have an RPG system, but was not included due to developer Tom Maneiro lacking the programming skills and resources to include it.
Spyro: A Hero's Tail
subdirectory_arrow_right Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (Game)
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Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly's villain was originally going to be a dragon, but the lead designer was adamant that the Spyro universe could not have any evil dragons. Ironically, the following release Spyro: A Hero's Tail would introduce Red, an evil dragon.
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