Cut Content In Video Games

When it comes to the creative process, many things can get scrapped along the way in production. This can be especially true when it comes to movies, T.V shows, novels, or in this case, video games. In a time where hyped games receive more press and trailers than ever before, sometimes what’s shown to us isn’t always what we end up playing in the final product. 

Video games are a unique medium in that no other form of digital entertainment allows a real element of interactivity. Cut content in relation to games doesn’t just refer to scenes or plot points, but actual mechanics, gameplay, and perhaps even entire sections and levels of play. So removing those things could lead to multiple branching impacts. However, it’s even worse if you had advertised those things without making it clear they were removed prior to launch. 

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No Man’s Sky has been buzzing with anger and rants ever since its release. The main origin of these complaints seem to stem from the wildly exaggerated promises of studio Hello Games. There are numerous lists on the internet of all the things that were either found in demos, trailers, or interviews for the game, that couldn’t be found anywhere in what fans actually got. While you might say that there’s still plenty of other stuff on offer here, I’ll bet that a lot of people probably reinforced their decision to buy the game based on some of these missing features. Hell, the idea of joining factions and being whatever you want, made me want to try it out myself. I would have too, if wasn’t for all the reviews that showed it was just another survival collectathon.

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Another game that suffered from cut content is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I’m definitely not the only one who finished that story without feeling the experience was somewhat anticlimactic. In the collector’s edition of the game, an extra mission was included as a video. The mission itself served to better conclude an open storyline from the game’s narrative. Furthermore, there was still a good amount of missing cutscenes shown in previous trailers, as well as no way to travel back to the camp from Ground Zeroes, which was said to be an included area.

As a whole in video game development, there is nothing wrong with axing anything that just doesn’t work or you can’t produce with the money and time you’re currently afforded. In fact, I’m sure those were definite factors that influenced the two games I mentioned here as examples.

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 But I think many of these issues regarding cut content, most likely have to do with just how early games are announced nowadays. Publishers and studios just seem absolutely keen on releasing information and advertising for a game, years or months before everything is actually set in stone. However, it’s also up to those same people not to deceive fans, by intentionally remaining vague and tricking them into thinking your game has particular features.

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10 thoughts on “Cut Content In Video Games

  1. Developers/publishers need to be careful with what information they release and when. This is especially true in the age of the internet.

    I can understand a feature being removed because it simply didn’t work, or destabalised the game in some way, but if a feature isn’t ready to be announced due to not being implemented, then don’t announce it! And if something has to be removed after you’ve announced it, the absolute worst thing you can do is to not set the record straight.

    A good and thoughtful article, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that No Man’s Sky was a victim of ‘feature creep’. Sean Murray I’m sure had every intention of the things he promised being in the game, but they probably couldn’t make it work. Metal Gear Solid V was more the result of Konami being massive ass clowns and trying to get Kojima out of the company as soon as they could.

    I think it’s important for game developers to be realistic in what they can do. Otherwise they end up in Hello Games’ situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I kind of feel bad for Sean Murray, since he’s basically the face of where all the hate is going. However, it’s easy to see how he might’ve been somewhat deceptive with how he talked about his game. Dodging questions about what features the game will have is not making things mysterious, but it’s just building a false perception of what the product actually is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand having sympathy for Murray. Nobody deserves to have death threats levied against them. However, he didn’t try to stem the tide of hype much before release. He had to know it would come back to haunt him, or perhaps he just forgot about the things that he said previously.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What amazes me about the whole No mans sky uproar is that developers like Bungie, Activision, Blizzard, Square Enix etc can cut content and not much is said about it, a small developer like Hello Games does it and everyone gets the pitchforks out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • However, this is one of the only games in recent memory to be marketed based around its mystery and the mechanics shown off in trailers. So people will always be pissed if the game didn’t meet their expectations. I also don’t think it’s right to excuse the issues with their game because of the size of the studio. If it costs $60, people will expect a premium product.

      Like

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