Game Development is a messy process. Inevitably even the best of ideas are left behind, doomed to be tucked away in game files forever. Thankfully many of these lost relics have been uncovered. All of them offer interesting insights into the game development process.
Some of them, however, are quite a bit creepy.
In the spirit of Halloween, join me as we venture into the depths of gaming software for the 10 creepiest bits of unused content.
Thanks to The Cutting Room Floor for my research.
10. Super Mario Sunshine’s “Fire Chestnut”
You’d think that a game as bright and colorful as Super Mario Sunshine wouldn’t hide anything spooky, but you’d be wrong.
The Hinokuri, or “Fire Chestnut,” made an appearance in the game’s trailer during Spaceworld 2001 but was never seen again. That is until some hackers decided to bring this monstrosity to life.
Hackers found functioning code and models for the enemy. However the brown tones it was intended to have fails to render properly, giving it the color of hellfire. It strolls around spawning Strollin’ Stus from the nozzle-like orifice in its rear. After stunning it with a water barrel, Mario can squirt water into the eyeball located on top of the creature’s head, removing its shell.
There are even varieties that come with a skull mask.
Truly horrifying. And this is just the beginning.
9. Majora’s Mask had a Link Mask
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is notable for being the darkest entry in the Zelda franchise, with its many mysteries providing the fuel for many a fan theory on the internet. Looking into the game’s files reveals even more spooky implications.
In the game’s files you’ll find a mask modeled after Link’s face complete with a creepy smile and glazed eyes. The model was found within the files for the Skull Kid. It even comes in three different copies with slight rotations just like Majora’s Mask. This suggests that Skull Kid was originally intended to wear the mask at some point.
8. Luigi’s Mansion and its Unused Enemy and Depressed Luigi
A more appropriately spooky game than Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion has some pretty spooky secrets.
Hackers found the model of what is only knows as “Elh.” The unused enemy is composed of goopy limbs and is completely devoid of textures. It has six animations including those related to its ice and fire particle effects, suggesting that Luigi was going to fight it with his fire and ice power ups for the Poltergust 3000.
But that’s not all. Luigi also has an unused phase where he is choked and loses coins until all of his health is depleted.
But the scariest thing in Luigi’s Mansion to go unused is a game over screen. You see, the beta of Luigi’s Mansion was actually timed. And if you ran out of time, you get a cutscene of a severely depressed Luigi revealed with a jarring crack of lightning. Could he be possessed?
7. Silent Hill’s Unused Monsters
Look, I tried to find more horror games with unused content as creepy as the stuff that was used but that was surprisingly hard to come by. But because Silent Hill is the blood-stained gift that keeps on giving (unless cancelled by Konami), we have our unused content.
Silent Hill contains not one but seven unused monsters based on real life animals: a butterfly with eye and teeth markings on its wings, a manta ray, a frog, a monkey with a bruised and bloodied face, a fleshy monster resembling an ostrich, a snake with an unusually long tongue, and what appears to be an elongated version of a chick just hatched from its egg. The chicken-like enemy is especially notable in that its files are larger than that of a normal enemy, including the ones actually used in the game. This suggests that it may have been planned to appear in the game as a boss.
6. Five Night’s at Freddy’s Toxic Meter and Screaming Children
Five Night’s at Freddy’s is a household name as far as indie horror games go. That’s thanks to its secrets that has everyone fascinated by it. Not even the game’s code is safe from the legions of fans picking it apart for hidden info.
Five Night’s at Freddy’s 2 has an unused toxic meter that would increase as players wear the mask protecting them from the animatronics. It even starts flashing repeatedly until it reaches zero again.
But the spookiest aspect of the game can be found in the very first game. You see, an early fan theory says that the animatronics house the vengeful spirits of children killed at the pizzeria the game takes place in. The sound files for this game actually support this theory. The famous scream that plays when you’re caught by an animatronic is actually goes for much longer than is played in the game. And towards the end of the sound file, you can hear the scream start to resemble more like the scream of a child.
5. Manhunt 2’s Unused Audio
Just a word of warning: the entries in this list get especially unsettling from here on out.
Of course a game based on grindhouse and snuff films is going to have some disturbing stuff.
Manhunt 2’s content, both used an unused, is particularly disturbing. In a level that takes place in a dungeon under a strip club, the player can encounter a man being tortured by an enemy near a dentist chair. But unused audio found in the game’s files, complete with the wirring of a dentist drill, show that the person being tortured was originally going to be female.
Other audio suggests that there were going to be female inmates of the asylum the player visits in the game.
4. Conker’s Bad Fur Day Unused Torture Scene
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the cult classic status of Conker from Conker’s Bad Fur Day. The game is famous for pushing the envelope on what it can do for a game published by Nintendo. Inevitably stuff had to be cut under Nintendo, including a scene in which Pikachu is beaten up.
In the final game, a cutscene plays in which Tediz dressed as surgeons chat to each other while smoking cigarettes. The original cutscene involves Tediz dissecting a soldier while it’s still alive.
3. Skullgirls’ Unused Endings
Skullgirls certainly has an edge to it beyond supermodels fighting each other, if a fighter using the people inside body bags as weapons is anything to believe. But it actually goes beyond that.
The game’s story mode originally had two endings per character, the dialogue of which can be found in the game’s files. Some of these are more humorous such as Peacock trying to ask the all powerful Skull Heart to wish for all the world’s oxygen to turn into chocolate. But it soon gives way to more unsettling scenarios.
Many of the endings have characters wishing for something only to be deemed selfish by the Skull Heart and turned into a powerful monster.
Parasoul’s alternate ending has her sister dying in her effort to destroy the Skull Heart.
Umbrella… I’m so sorry.
It was the only way to save the kingdom.
It’s… all right.
…It was the right call, sis.
You always… do the right thing.
I… shouldn’t have put you in that position.
Valentine’s ending has her seal away the Skull Heart only for her director to betray her.
The cycle must stop.
Destroying the heart will only delay the inevitable and make matters worse – there’s no telling where the new heart will emerge.
For years I waited, researching the heart inside you, Marie.
These tags I developed will nullify the heart’s theonic energy and allow me to safely seal the Heart away in Lab Zero’s vault.
…If director Brain Drain will take me back.
You have succeeded where countless others have failed, Valentine.
Thank you, director.
Again, I apologize for the deception, but it was the only way to get close to the Skullgirl.
Yes… About that…
This “deception” of yours cost too many lives. One, in particular.
My dear Christmas died because of your betrayal, and that is not something I will forgive so easily.
No, you don’t understand…!
Begin implanting the control mechanism.
Administering 50cc’s of Roprynzonal.
No signs of rejection, Doctor.
Did you really think it would be that easy?
Such arrogant creatures you humans are!
As long as the Heart beats, your world’s end marches ever closer.
Transmitting primary imprint… now.
Last but not least, Cerebella’s ending has her wishing that her boss, Vitale, would love her. Vitale becomes so consumed with love that he murders everyone in Cerebella’s circus troop. Her friend tries to kill him but because Cerebella wished for Vitale to love her forever, he can never die. So she and her friend are forced to run away.
…Can it really make him love me?
I guess there’s only one way to find out.
Skull Heart, I wish for Vitale to love me and only me… forever!
Return to him to see what you have wrought.
What… what are you doing, Vitale!?
ONLY YOU, CEREBELLA.
He… murdered them all!
He’s gone mad!
Oh no, I…
I’m sorry Cerebella – I know how you feel about him. I didn’t mean to!
He just attacked, and…
FOREVER… WITH… YOU…
Oh no… Did I do this!?
He survived… He’s become some kind of monster!
We’ve got to run!
What the hell happened to Vitale?
We definitely can’t go back to the circus after this… so I guess it’s just you and me now, eh, Cerebella?
We’ll start a new life together… someplace small in the countryside. What do you say, Cerebella?
2. Half-Life’s “Mr. Friendly”
Half-Life’s menagerie of aliens are already pretty unsettling, but this one tops them all and it’s not even in the game itself.
Mr. Friendly is a horse-sized, phallus-shaped alien that vomits and swipes at the player. According to Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, the monster was based off the drawings of Ted Backman, who submitted sketches of sexually-themed monsters to Ken Birdwell and Gabe Newell when they were looking for concept artists.
According to the Half-Life wiki, one of its proposed attacks was to pound the ground, making the player drop their weapon. Another attack had the beast knock the player’s glasses off, causing them to have blurred vision. But the monster’s most disturbing attack would of have been it dragging the player with its tentacles and raping them to death.
1. Mario Kart Arcade GP Has an Image of the Beslan School Hostage Crisis
Now all of the previous entries have been pretty scary, but you could argue that they’re not as scary because their merely fictional. Why should you be scared of something that doesn’t exist? Well number one deals with something that does exist.
For that, we turn to Mario Kart Arcade GP.
The arcade game had a feature that allowed you to snap a photo of yourself with the arcade cabinet’s camera for use within the game. According to The Cutting Room Floor, someone found three images in the game’s files that were supposedly used for testing the camera feature. The EXIF data for all of the images were processed with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 in 2004.
The images found were a color test; a photo of the mascots at Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan; and the image you see above.
The image above by Yuri Tutov was taken during the Beslan School Hostage Crisis in which people at School Number One in the town of Beslan, Russia, were taken hostage by terrorist groups according to BBC News. The siege lasted for three days and led to the death of over 330 people, half of which were children.
Why Nintendo would use this image over any other to test its software will forever be a mystery. Now a game that mostly targets children has connections to a terrorist attack that mostly targeted children. And for that reason alone, the image lurking in the files of Mario Kart Arcade GP is the creepiest bit of unused content in games.