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Before settling on Pac-Man's family, the friends Pac-Man rescued in Pac-Man World were going to be characters from other 1980s Namco games:

• Dig Dug (also known as Taizo Hori) from Dig Dug, who Chomp-Chomp took the place of. A remnant of this choice can be seen in the opening cutscene where Chomp-Chomp is kidnapped by being dragged underground, where Dig Dug's gameplay takes place.
• Valkyrie and Whirlo from the Valkyrie series, who were replaced with Pac-Baby and Pooka. There is also a thematic remnant of this choice in Pac-Baby and Pooka's kidnapping, where they are anchored into the sky, as Valkyrie lives in the heavens.
• Mappy from Mappy, who was replaced by Jr. Pac-Man.

Gil from The Tower of Druaga and Miru from Pac & Pal were also intended to appear, while Professor Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man were part of the original concept and remained.

It was ultimately decided to focus on Pac-Man characters instead of crossover characters, but when it was discovered that there weren't enough "pac-people" to make rescuable for each world, Pooka from Dig Dug was added to fill out the cast, being the same spherical shape as Pac-Man's family and a favorite of the development team. It is unknown why Miru, who was already a Pac-Man character, went unused.
person Rocko & Heffer calendar_month June 17, 2024
Twitter thread interview with game designer Scott Rogers:

Pac-Man World cutscenes:

Pac-Man World concept storyboards:

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