Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is a flight-shooter game developed from 2001 to 2003 by FASA Studio (part of Microsoft Game Studios) for the original Xbox. Series creator Jordan Weisman noted that the game had a “difficult development,” and went through many different creative directions.
When development of Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge was first assumed by FASA Studio, it was conceived that the game be made into an “interactive movie,” a concept that would have involved an elaborate storyline and a large number of cutscenes. This process would have needed a linear mission design, potentially restricting gameplay.
Consequently, developers pushed back the game’s release date by a year in favor of increased development time. At this point, both playtest feedback and inspiration from games that offered more gameplay options helped shape the game’s development. The game’s “interactive movie” concept was scrapped, the storyline simplified, and the original linear mission design was reworked to promote more choice-driven gameplay.
When the game was first announced in 2002, features for the game included destructible environments which could be used to eliminate enemies, hidden areas containing bonus weapons, and “danger zones” similar in function to those featured in the previous Crimson Skies for the PC. Sadly many of these features were scrapped from the final version of the game. [Info from Wikipedia]
As noticed by Xenomrph on the Something Awful Forum, in the original Crimson Skies trailer (embedded below) we can see some removed levels:
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge on the Xbox was going to have a bunch of other levels, and a completely different tutorial level that centered around robbing a flying casino over the ocean off the coast of Louisiana. You can see remnants of it (and other content) in the early trailer. It would have included destructible terrain, different cutscenes, and a bunch of other stuff…. but no online multiplayer.
Crimson Skies became a launch title for Xbox Live, and that involved totally overhauling the game to include Xbox Live multiplayer and cutting a lot of content to make room on the disc.
There’s still some remnants of the old content, though – the game’s dialogue includes references to the casino heist, the music from the above trailer was included on the game’s soundtrack CD (although the music never plays in the game itself), and the game’s tie-in novel ends at the casino heist (which, at the time of the book’s writing, wasn’t cut from the game yet).