Game design can be a long, difficult, drawn-out process, even for games that aren't named Duke Nukem Forever. Games can change a lot during that time, sometimes so much that the final product looks nothing like what developers started work on. Here are 6 awesome games that went through big changes to get that way.
By the late 90's, the Nintendo/Rare love connection had churned out Banjo Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing, and Donkey Kong 64. And their next game, Twelve Tales: Conker 64, starring a diabetes-inducingly-sweet cartoon squirrel, wasn't going to stray far from the brightly-colored path.
But all wasn't well within Rare's candy-coated empire: Conker's producer, Chris Seavor, noticed some unpleasant rumblings... that the market for cutesy platformers was over-saturated, that fans weren't excited about another one, that no one cared about a stupid squirrel who didn't even have an awesome bird living in his backpack.
So he did what any responsible game designer would do: he killed Twelve Tales on the spot and brought it back to shambling unlife as a foul-mouthed parody of the very same cutesy platformers that Rare had made famous. Conker was now a reluctant, selfish hero tasked with fighting hangovers, Teddy Bear Nazis and singing piles of sh!t all in order to makes some quick cash. It was such a balls-out insane shift in direction that most people thought it was a joke until the game actually saw release. Bad Fur Day was fun and funny but sold poorly, mostly thanks to Nintendo's reluctance to advertise the family-unfriendly title.
You can find Okami hanging around the top of every "Great Games No One Played" list online. Frankly, I never understood those lists. All of my friends have played Okami, because if they haven't, they stop being my friends.
Another list this game frequents is the "Prettiest PS2 Game" category, thanks to its gorgeous Sumi-e watercolor graphics. But originally Okami starred a photo-realistic wolf running around a realistic landscape. Which presented two problems: 1) borrrrr-ing and 2) the graphics were a bit much for the PS2 to handle. But then Clover Studio had the bright idea to take this game inspired by Japanese legends and paint the visuals in a more uniquely Japanese style.
Amaterasu the watercolor wolf was born. As an added bonus, it was this change that beget the game's coolest feature: a celestial brush that let you paint magic effects onto the landscape itself. Okami turned out incredibly, and as a reward for their hard work, Clover Studio was dissolved. So... I guess the moral here is that our world is a cruel and random place. All the more reason to spend your time living in Okami's painted wonderland.