The development of a video game is a long and arduous process. As such, there may be concepts that seemed like a good idea at the start of the project, which may have to be abandoned at a later stage of production. This can actually cause problems in a video game, as directly removing content may cause other issues in the programming. The developers will often just make the unfinished content impossible to see under normal circumstances.
It is rare for a character to be removed from a fighting game, due to the sheer amount of work that goes into their development. There have been a few instances, however, when a character must be scrubbed from the game, due to external issues. We are here today to look at fighting game characters that didn’t make the cut. From the lost seven characters of Super Smash Bros. Brawl to the Turok/WWE crossover that never came to pass.
Here are 15 Characters That Were Cut From Fighting Games At The Last Minute!
15. The Lost Seven Fighters Of Smash Bros. Brawl
The Super Smash Bros. series has become one of the most acclaimed fighting game franchises of all time. The original Smash Bros. was a fan service fighter that pitted the most popular of Nintendo’s first party characters against each other. As time went on, the speculation over which new character might appear in the next Smash Bros. would reach a fever pitch. Smash Bros. has even managed to include characters who became famous in games on other systems, like Solid Snake and Cloud Strife.
Over the years, there have been many characters planned for the Smash Bros. games that never left the drawing board. The closest to work being started and then abandoned happened in Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii. There are files in the game for seven characters that almost made the cut.
The “Forbidden Seven” as they have come to be known are Mewtwo, Dr. Mario, Dixie Kong, Roy (from Fire Emblem), Toon Zelda/Sheik, and Plusle & Minun from Pokémon. Three of these characters returned for the next game in the series (Mewtwo, Dr. Mario and Roy), while the others have remained unfinished.
14. The Grunts
The Art of Fighting trilogy acted as a prequel to the Fatal Fury games, which then lead into The King of Fighters series. While the Street Fighter games were known for their tight gameplay, and the Mortal Kombat games were infamous for their gore; the Art of Fighting trilogy became notorious for its brutally difficult single player mode. The A.I. in these games took no prisoners and didn’t let up for a second.
Art of Fighting 2 has several characters within its files that cannot normally be accessed by the player. The first is Geese Howard, who acts as the final boss of the game. Geese cannot be selected during normal play but works in the single player mode through the use of GameShark codes.
In Art of Fighting 2, there is a strength training mode, where you fight against groups of nameless street punks. It is possible to play as two of these Grunt enemies with the aid of GameShark codes, though they are barely finished.
13. Bulma Ball Z
While Goku is often considered to be the protagonist of Dragon Ball Z, he isn’t the most important character in the story. Bulma is the true star of the series, as she created the device that can track the Dragon Balls. Without Bulma, Goku would have stayed in the wild for the rest of his life. She remained a key character throughout the series and invented many of the devices that saved the day.
Bulma was once planned to be a fighter in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3. There are audio files of the announcer saying Bulma’s name, and her character model can be hacked into the game in certain modes (though it possesses no attacks). The Collector’s Edition of the game came with a DVD that showed behind the scenes footage of the voice acting recording sessions. Bulma’s voice actress (Tiffany Vollmer) can be seen recording fight noises for the character, none of which made it into the game.
12. Rio The Dog Vs Cloud Strife
In 1998, a fighting game called Ehrgeiz was released in the arcades. The stages in the game were composed of small 3D environments that the characters could run around in, which is similar to the style later used in Power Stone. Despite its attempt at changing up the fighting game formula, Ergheiz never left much of an impression on its own. The only reason anyone remembers the game is due to the inclusion of several characters from Final Fantasy VII. In Ergheiz, you could play as Cloud Strife, Sephiroth, Tifa Lockheart, Zack Fair, Vincent Valentine, and Yuffie Kisaragi.
The end boss of Ergheiz is a dog monster, named Django (who had a costume that made him look like Red XIII from Final Fantasy VII). There is an alternate version of Django within the files of the game, named Rio. He resembles a regular dog and lacks any special moves (outside of a bark, which acts as a taunt).
11. JoJo’s Bizarre Opponent
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a manga series that has been running since 1987. The story follows different members of the same family, as they battle evil throughout history. The third story arc of the series was called Stardust Crusaders, and it followed Jotaro Kujo, as he traveled to Egypt in order to deal with his grandfather’s old nemesis. Stardust Crusaders is the most popular part of the series, and it has been adapted into several different video games. The most well-known is a fighting game, called JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
In the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga, the main characters fight a blind man named N’Doul. He was intended to be a playable character in the arcade fighting game but only has a brief cameo instead. N’Doul can be made playable, through the use of GameShark codes, though he is in a very buggy state. He possesses a range of unique attacks, character portraits, and an alternate palette for a second player to use. As N’Doul is only shown sitting down and standing up in the regular game, his movement animation just shows him sliding up and down from the ground.
10. The Disappearance Of Ditto
The Pokémon franchise has always been well represented in the Smash Bros. series. The first game included Pikachu and Jigglypuff as playable characters, which tied Pokémon with the Mario series in terms of representation. As time went on, numerous other Pokémon joined the battle, with the most recent Smash Bros. game featuring six different characters from the series.
In order to satisfy Pokémon fans, the Smash Bros. series includes a Pokéball item, which can summon a random Pokémon to the field. This allowed the developers to drastically increase the amount of Pokémon that could appear in the games, without having to make them all full characters.
There was one Pokémon that was fully programmed into Smash Bros. Melee but it cannot be seen in normal gameplay. Ditto was planned to be one of the Pokéball summons in the game, and references to it even appear in the Melee strategy guide. The reasons for its late exclusion are unclear. Ditto may have been planned to copy another Pokémon or playable character, which might have caused issues in the game.
9. Norimaro The Pervert
Capcom has created numerous fighting games over the years that have crossed over their characters with those of Marvel comics. The casts of Street Fighter and Resident Evil have fought the X-Men and Spider-Man in several different games. When a new Marvel Vs. Capcom game is announced, the anticipation over which new characters are going to make it in is similar to that of Smash Bros.
In the Japanese version of Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, a character named Norimaro was included into the game. He is a nerdy otaku stereotype, who is based on the act of a Japanese comedian, named Noritaro Kinashi. This character was removed from the international versions of the game, though all of his dialogue is fully translated into English.
The reason for Norimaro’s removal is unknown, though it is likely a mixture of a few different factors. The character is very obscure outside of Japan, and some fans may have been annoyed by him taking the place of someone more deserving. Norimaro also has a range of perverted attacks, where he fantasies about a Capcom girl (or Zangief) in a sexy pose, which causes him to have a nosebleed.
8. Kitana Kombat
The Mortal Kombat series is infamous for its many secrets. All of the earliest games in the series used to tease the player with information about characters that may or may not exist. Even if a character was not real, the persistent rumors and interest among the fanbase would often lead to them being created and added into the next Mortal Kombat game.
Mortal Kombat 4 began its life in the arcades before it was ported to the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and the Game Boy Color. When the console version of Mortal Kombat 4 was being developed, there were plans to include a new character into the game. This was originally planned to be Kitana, who debuted in Mortal Kombat II. She has a full 3D character model in the game, though she possesses no unique moves or sound samples. The developers were unable to finish Kitana in time, before the game needed to be shipped. She can be played with the aid of a GameShark device. A totally different version of Kitana was later added into Mortal Kombat Gold.
7. The Kage USB Technique
Death is cheap in the world of Naruto. During one of the earliest story arcs, the villainous Orochimaru managed to use a technique known as “Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation” to bring two of the most powerful ninjas back from the dead, and into his service. Years later, the evil Kabuto used the same technique to bring back most of the characters who had died throughout the series, as part of his plan to create his own real life “Boss Rush” mode.
Kabuto manages to bring back several Kages, who had died years before. Kage is the title given to the leader of one of the ninja villages, and only the most powerful warriors ever achieve it. In Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, the dead Kages were planned to be made playable, though this was never implemented into the game.
It is possible to play as the dead Kages in the Xbox 360 version of the game. You can do this with a USB stick and series of fan-made hack files. Use them at your own risk, however, as they are all unofficial.
6. Honey The Cat
The Sega consoles led the way in fighting games that used 3D graphics. The Virtua Fighter series was considered to be a massive step forward in terms of graphics, even though the gameplay wasn’t anything special. This was followed by Fighting Vipers, which featured a basic clothing damage mechanic. One of the developers of the game included character models for Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails, which inspired Sega to commission a full Sonic fighting game.
Sonic Championship (also known as Sonic the Fighters) was an arcade fighting game, that starred the cast of the classic Sega series. The game used the same engine as Fighting Vipers, and the developers originally wanted to tie the two series together. Within the files of Sonic Championship, there is a character named Honey, who is based on one of the protagonists of Fighting Vipers. While the original Honey was a teenage girl, the Sonic version was an anthropomorphic cat.
5. This Does Not Feature Dante From The Devil May Cry Series
When the second Soul Calibur game was being prepared for a multi-console release, there were plans for each version of the game to have its own exclusive character. The GameCube version of the game featured Link (from The Legend of Zelda), the PlayStation 2 port had Heihachi Mishima (from Tekken), and the Xbox had Spawn (from the comic of the same name).
Since the release of Soul Calibur II, the developers have included characters from other series, like Star Wars and Assassin’s Creed. When Soul Calibur III was being developed, it was planned to feature a console exclusive character, in the form of Dante from the Devil May Cry series. He would most likely have appeared in the PlayStation version of the game. These plans were eventually scrapped, for unknown reasons.
Dante has actually appeared in several fighting games, like Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. It’s a shame that he didn’t make it into Soul Calibur as well.
4. Hugo The Giant
Several characters from the Final Fight series would make their way into the Street Fighter games as playable fighters. One of these was Hugo, who was a former professional wrestler before he joined a street gang, and later, entered the Street Fighter tournament. Hugo is clearly inspired by the famous wrestler Andre the Giant. His animosity with Alex is meant to be an homage to the famous rivalry that Andre had with Hulk Hogan.
Hugo’s official Street Fighter debut happened in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact. He was actually supposed to debut in that game’s predecessor, Street Fighter III: New Generation. There are basic art assets for Hugo within the game, and he can be loaded into stages, though he cannot attack or react to taking damage. Within the menu, there are several icons for Hugo’s special moves (the Giant Pile Driver, Titan Riot, and Hyper Knuckle). Hugo’s stage also appears in the game, though it cannot be accessed without hacking.
3. The Hidden Virtua Fighter Characters (That Took 23 Years To Find)
There are many secrets hidden within the files of retro video games. The reason for this is because they were made before everyone had Internet access. Those developers probably never guessed that fans would develop tools that would allow them to extract assets from the game, and show them across the world.
Not all video game secrets have been unearthed, however, as was proven in the case of Virtua Fighter. In 2016, three new characters were discovered within the files of the arcade version of the first Virtua Fighter game. It took 23 years for these characters to be discovered!
The three unused characters are Jeff, a military man who can have his hat and glasses knocked off, Majido, a man in Middle Eastern garb, who actually appeared in Fighters Megamix (under the name Siba), and an early design for Akira, who looks very different in the final version of the game.
2. Michael Myers & The Terminator In Mortal Kombat
The Mortal Kombat series fell on hard times during the 32-bit era of gaming. The novelty of blood and gore eventually faded away, leaving only a fighting game that was lacking in comparison to its competitors. This period wasn’t helped by several terrible looking 3D Mortal Kombat games, as the series tried to keep up with the time.
In recent years, the Mortal Kombat franchise has seen a resurgence in interest and is now a fixture at many competitive fighting game tournaments. The series has now embraced DLC, and several characters require you to spend extra cash in order to use them. In order to make the DLC characters interesting, the developers have looked outside of the series, and have included several horror movie icons as fighters. You can pay to play as Leatherface, Jason Voorhes, Freddy Krueger, the Predator, and the Xenomorph from Alien.
There were other fictional characters that were planned to make an appearance in Mortal Kombat. At one point during development, both Michael Myers from the Halloween movies and the Terminator were planned to appear in the game. Unfortunately, the plans to include these characters fell through before production began.
1. Turok Vs The Rock
The fighting game franchise that has been forced to cut characters the most is the one based on the WWE (formerly known as the WWF). This is due to the fact that professional wrestlers have a tendency to be fired under mysterious circumstances. The reasons are usually related to drug problems or issues with management. Wrestlers can also be forced to quit, due to injuries sustained during matches. This will often force the developers of the WWE video games to scrap work that they had done on a wrestler, as that person might no longer be with the company.
One of the most unusual cases of a cut character in a wrestling game happened in WWF War Zone for the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64. Through the use of a GameShark device, it is possible to unlock Turok the Dinosaur Hunter as a playable wrestler. To those who are unaware; Turok was a comic book character, who went on to star in a popular series of first-person shooter games. He has nothing to do with the WWE.
If you managed to access Turok with a cheating device, then he will use The Rock’s moves during a match. Had he made it into the game, then he probably would have changed the name of The Rock’s finishing moves to something more appropriate, like the Dinosaur’s Elbow and the Bedrock Bottom.
The reason Turok was included is likely due to the fact that WWF War Zone was published by Acclaim, the company that also made Turok for the Nintendo 64. It is possible that the developers wanted to include him as a shoutout to the Turok series, but the WWF asked for his removal. Turok’s absence might have something to do with the fact that WWF War Zone was going to appear on the PlayStation, which had no Turok games on it.