Final Fantasy VII (7) [Beta / Tech Demo]

Final Fantasy VII (7) [Beta / Tech Demo]

Planning sessions for Final Fantasy VII began in 1994 after the release of Final Fantasy VI. At the time, the game was planned to be another 2D project for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi intended the story to take place in modern New York City in the year 1999. Several of the staff members were working in parallel on Chrono Trigger, and development for Final Fantasy VII was interrupted when the other project became important enough to require the help of Yoshinori Kitase and other designers.

A rumor taken from Gamefan vol. 3 March 1995 says that the Super Famicom (SNES) version of Final Fantasy VII was going to use a Donkey Kong Country-style SGI graphics and the game was suppose to be on a 64 Megabits cartridge ( 8 MB ).

FFVII early concept (with characters from FFVI) taken from Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimania books:

FFVII early concept with characters from FFVI

Some of the ideas originally considered for Final Fantasy VII ended up in Chrono Trigger instead. Other ideas, such as the New York setting and the sorceress character Edea, were kept unused until the later projects Parasite Eve and Final Fantasy VIII respectively. The original script of Final Fantasy VII, which was written by Sakaguchi, was completely different from the finished product. Tetsuya Nomura recalled how Sakaguchi “wanted to do something like a detective story“. The first part of the story involved a character named “Hot Blooded Detective Joe” who was in pursuit of the main characters. The main characters managed to blow up the city of Midgar, which had already been developed for the story.

Development of Final Fantasy VII resumed in late 1995, and required the efforts of approximately 120 artists and programmers, using PowerAnimator and Softimage|3D software and a budget of more than US$30 million. Final Fantasy VI’s co-director and scenario writer, Kitase, returned to direct and co-write Final Fantasy VII and was concerned the franchise might be left behind if it did not catch up to the 3D computer graphics used in other games at the time. Production began after the making of a short, experimental tech demo called “Final Fantasy SGI” for Silicon Graphics, Inc. Onyx workstations. The demo featured polygon-based 3D renderings of characters from Final Fantasy VI in a real time battle. [Infos from Wikipedia]

In these early beta screens from the game, we can see some interesting differences, especially in the design of the characters and in the graphic style (less definite than the final version). Ian has made us to notice some of these differences:

  • First what’s with the Names on top of the screen? I though they were just names but it appears those are on the status bar too.
  • Also Barret in the first few screens, is much taller than he should be.
  • Also Barret uses Hammerblow as a regular attack, maybe at one point in development he only used his gun for limit breaks.
  • When the close up on the character models is shown all Characters and summons lack eyes.
  • Red XIII is shown, but He wasn’t supposed to be a playable character at that point( It was originally just supposed to be Cloud, Barret and, Aeris) but he has a high-res model so maybe he was a boss or a summon.
  • And instead of having Portraits they have actually sprites.

Thanks to Ian for the contribution, to Celine for the Gamefan rumor and to Andy Harrington for some of the screenshots, some scans by DarkMirage, on X-Cult Forum. ProgrammingAce has posted some high-res quality FF7 concept arts on the GamerHistory Forum, you can check them all in here! Also, a beta analysis of FFVII is available here.

In a video below recorded by Ace.Dark you can see a “beta” fight against a pyramid who seems to be immune to most status’ and just says things like “Not a probrem” “That’s too bad” “i’m sorry” “please call staff”. It is a place holder and very incomplete. As Robert Seddon has explained, it’s a remnant of the debugging process: you sometimes get this fight if something goes wrong with the game (hence ‘ENCOUNT[er] ERROR’). There’s a similar fight against ‘test’ pyramids accessible from the debug rooms (with a unique background in a demo and the original Japanese release, for some reason taken out in later versions).

In another video from TheLittleCuteThing’s Youtube Channel there are various differences found in the FF7 Beta 1.9 (the last beta disc printed before the final offical print of FF7 for japan and america): “text on the CGI intro, The Final Fantasy logo says 1996 instead of 1997, The guards that ambush you are for some reason wearing black outfits instead of red, You start out with Aeris and Barret in your party, instead of being alone, CGI`s are ALOT smoother to load on this part, Not all grainey and choppy, You dont talk to jess or anyone to open the doors, You go straight to them, The summon intro was slightly different and you dont get summons this early in the final, the boss is no longer a red scorpion, You have 3 minutes to escape the reactor instead of the massive 12 that you normally have.” Thanks to Zyniker for the link!

Also, Brad linked us to The FF7 Citadel, in which we can read some interesting articles about various unused items and models that are hidden in the game’s code, as the “Letter to a Daughter” and the “Letter to a Wife” that were related to a traveling salesman in Gongaga, from a removed sub-quest. There’s a sound track named “COMICAL.mid” that was never used in the final game, that was probably related to a removed humorous scene. A weird “red guy” (a placeholder / test character) can also be found in there.

Shademp, BrutalAl, and GlitterBerri comments on the differences between Final Fantasy VII prerelease screenshots and the final version of the game can be found in this page!

As we can read on Kotaku, in a Weekly Famitsu magazine from May 2012 there are some preliminary plot notes with some ideas that were never used in the game. One such plot note covers details about meeting the character Yuffie Kisaragi:

*Initial Plot*
About Yuffie
(Prep) From the opening and forward, wanted posters for Yuffie can be seen in town here and there.
Yuffie is a fugitive. Her age and what she looks like is different for each poster.

(How to make her join)
Random encounter.
Or, she will attack Cloud when he is sleeping in an inn.
Either event can happen anywhere.

(Any time)
From this point, Yuffie can be recruited at any time.
The Wutai event requires Yuffie and therefore, she must be recruited in order to complete the Wutai event.
What Yuffie looks like (and her level) is determined when she first joins.
(This is based on the last wanted poster that was viewed)
Therefore, by selectively choosing which wanted poster you look at last, you can recruit the Yuffie that suits your liking.

More info on the unused FF7 text and other unseen features can be found at Glitter Berri’s website and Vanished One’s Blog.




Final Fantasy 9 (IX) [PSX – Beta / Concept]

Final Fantasy 9 (IX)​ is a RPG developed and published by Square for the PlayStation in 2000. During the development, the design for the characters was different from the one in the final version, as you can notice from the images in the gallery below. As we can read on Wikipedia, the game was developed in Hawaii as a compromise to developers living in the United States.

In the game’s conceptual stage, the developers made it clear that the title would not necessarily be Final Fantasy IX, as its break from the realism of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII may have alienated audiences. This led fans to speculate that it would be released as a “gaiden” to the main series. By late 1999, however, Square had confirmed that the game would indeed be published as Final Fantasy IX, and by early 2000, the game was nearly finished.

If you can write a description for the design differences in these concept arts, please leave a reply or send us a message! We would like to make this article more complete.

Thanks to D-Vide for some of the images below!


Metal Gear Solid [Beta + Tech Demo – PSX]

Metal Gear Solid [Beta + Tech Demo – PSX]

Metal Gear Solid is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan and first published by Konami for the PlayStation in September 1998.

Hideo Kojima is the director and producer of the game. He began to work on a sequel of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake in 1994. The game (called Metal Gear 3) was going to be released for 3DO, as Kojima was still working on Policenauts, which came out for that system in 1995. Prior to its release, Konami issued Policenauts: Pilot Disk, which contained a playable demo of the game and other features. Among them there are two artworks by Metal Gear Solid’s illustrator Yoji Shinkawa, one depicting an early version of Snake and Meryl Silverburgh (also a Policenauts character), the other one showing presumably an early version of the FOXHOUND group, or different Metal Gear Solid characters. Images via Ashura on forums.

Metal Gear Solid beta Policenauts artworkMetal Gear Solid beta Policenauts artwork

The development naturally switched to the Playstation, with Kojima also working on the conversion of Policenauts and Snatcher. The game’s name was also changed to Metal Gear Solid, reflecting Kojima’s ideals for a new Metal Gear title (via Wikipedia):

Kojima: “Metal Gear” is as it is, and “Solid” has a deep meaning. Let me explain. This time Metal Gear is displayed in full polygonal form, and I used “Solid” to describe the cubic structure. also, the “Solid” means to the third power mathematically. Also, most of the people don’t know that there is a Metal Gear 1 and 2 for the MSX, and I wanted it to be the sequel for those. And, of course, Solid from Solid Snake

The game was first shown at the Tokyo Game Show 1996, and previewed in various magazines.

This version shown in this video is probably a non-playable tech demo, not even running on a Playstation hardware. The game engine is completely different from the final game, along with other differences. Decoy Octopus is missing from FOXHOUND members, and Vulcan Raven is spelt “Valcan Raven” (it may be some sort of Engrish). Snake seems to be around a very early version of B2 level Armory in the Tank Hangar. The interfaces of the inventory, HUD and CODEC are completely different; the radar is quite different too, especially in Danger situation (there is also a Caution alert when an enemy is near Snake). Early versions of the Ninja and Revolver Ocelot also make appearances, as well as the Metal Gear Rex. The trailer showcases all the features of the game (“Sneaking In”, “Armed”, “Encounter” etc.) but I find really strange that “Escape” is associated with a picture of the Hind-D helicopter (one the bosses). You can see various screengrabs and magazine scans in this gallery (some magazine scans from DarkMirage, on X-Cult Forum):

Images, 1996 version:

Another possible build is the one shown in these screenshots, featuring a very early Tank Hangar, a different Heliport (with a forklift) and an unknown test room with soldiers (it could be a much earlier version of the Tank Hangar, since the shape of the passageway is similar). All screens are from (thanks to looser for the link).

Early Heliport:

Early Tank Hangar and unknown test room:

Then we have many different trailers, all dating back from 1997, shown at the E3 and Tokyo Game Show. They all look from the same build (some of them even show the same scenes), and the most famous of the group, the one in which Snake blow up everything with the C4, was featured in many Playstation’s demo discs in various magazines. They share many differences from the final version: the camera appears to be more controllable, vision cones are different in colour, the lifebar is in the middle of the screen, not in the upper left corner, the radar is simpler in its Danger and Caution status, and it’s active during boss fights, Snake carries a lot of ammunitions and he can move while he’s crouched. Let’s analyze everyone of them:

Notable differences: the Heliport is similar to the final version, although the forklift is still present (and it’s moving too! at 1:45 you can see another view of the moving forklift), first person view does not feature the green vision cone in the radar (also the Surveillance Camera is without vision cone), Tank Hangar has got the wrong type of guards (I’m not very sure about this), Snake has a flying kick move (in the final version he can kick, but not with a jump), Snake remove the pin of grenades with his teeth. If you know what Hideo Kojima is saying please drop a comment in the comments section!


Notable differences: now Snake has the first person vision cone, items have different names ( final->beta: Scope->Finder, Cigs->Moslem,), Snake fights the Ninja in the corridor (not only in Otacon’s lab), Snake use the Scope in Meryl’s prison (it’s impossible to go there while Meryl is still in prison), you can see Meryl and Snake shooting in Psycho Mantis’ room (without the boss, no action take place here, the radar also goes in Danger mode).

Notable differences: lots of unknown items (or early version of the final objects), it’s difficult to see the names and the icons. There are BD DISK (early version of Kenneth Baker’s disk?), WOLFS, HUIDADRG, MG GK2 and STEPS. The Scope does not feature a vision cone, the crane is missing from the Blast Furnace, the radar is active in the Underground Passage to the Communications Towers (it should be in Jamming mode), Night Goggles are named RNPAS-7, the door of the Nuclear Storage building is completely open, the elevator door of the Tank Hangar is different, and finally, Snake is fighting with Meryl at the top of the Communication Tower (in the final game Meryl is shot in the Underground Passage by Sniper Wolf, although this scene may not represent a plot change, rather a scene created only for the trailer).

There have been rumours about a Nintendo 64 and Saturn version of Metal Gear Solid. The Nintendo 64 version is mentioned in this article by Gamespot, but I couldn’t find any reference on the web about a Saturn version:

Konami insiders have informed GS News that Konami’s modern platform update to the popular NES series Metal Gear will be coming to the Nintendo 64 console system, though originally planned solely for the PlayStation.

HackOut Games has got a nice collection of hacking videos of Metal Gear Solid’s Pilot Disc on his YouTube channel: you can see a collection of unused animations, unused music and unused camera angles.

Also, John Doom found some differences between the final version of MGS and its Pilot Disc (SLPM-86098): check the video below to see them.


Resident Evil 1 [PSX – Beta / Concept]

In the mid ’90s Shinji Mikami began to work on a new horror game set,just like NES’ Sweet Home, in a large building surrounded by a forest. Maybe influenced by the recent success of Doom, the project was initially conceived as a FPS. We know next to nothing about this first prototype, but it would have surely been one of the most advanced shooter created yet. However at the end Capcom selected another pc game, Alone in the Dark, as a model for their new product, and Resident Evil / Bio Hazard became an action adventure with a strong emphasis on survival.

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the first draft of the story, but at least we have few artworks about Dewey and Gelzer, two beta characters, later replaced by Rebecca and Barry, that represented respectively the strong guy (in this case a cyborg) and the comic partner. We can only speculate that at the beginning the narrative was less serious, and the graphic style not that realistic (for the standards of the time).

Co-op beta

After one year of development, in 1995, previews of the first playable builds of Resident Evil started to appear in gaming magazines.

In these screens we can see that originally the game could have been played in co-op. Jill also had a different costume and the fight with the snake was in the room that connects the house with the garden. We don’t know if in this early beta there were still leftovers of the removed locations in the code (the cementery, the paths in the forest) that were, like Trevor’s letters, later reintroduced in the RE remake for the Gamecube.

Resident Evil 08/04/1995

In 2010, Tyrant of recovered a beta of Resident Evil that dates back to 08/04/1995. It seems to be similar to the V-Jump ’95 build, so for a list of the main differences see the paragraph below. Unfortunately, in this version the co-op mode was already removed, even if some leftovers can still be found in the folders of the iso. Only Chris is playable, and it is not possible to see the map or access the inventory. Interestingly, you can change weapons in real-time. Also, in this beta Barry can save Chris too, but just because they didn’t make the event exclusive to Jill’s scenario yet. In 2011, Hidden Palace released this particular build to the public.

Notice how Dewey and Gelzer’s character portraits are still present in the game’s code.

V-Jump ’95 Presentation

In the video of the V-Jump ’95 Presentation, linked below, we can see an early beta with some differences:

  • No cutscenes
  • Some different camera angles
  • Chris polygonal model was less detailed and he began the game armed
  • Different music and japanese voices
  • All the zombies had white jackets
  • The blue gallery had four pillars
  • Some minor differences in many rooms
  • Kenneth Sullivan (the corpse in the backroom) is in another location in the final game
  • Spiders instead of dogs in the corridor (it still happens in the released version when you return in the mansion after the guardhouse)
  • Hunters at the beginning of the game!
  • No metal plate for the crests in the outside corridor
  • The first fight against the snake was moved in a room in the first floor in the final game
  • The room where chris fights the snake in the video is different in the final version

Probably this build is more recent than the  08/04/1995 one, but not by much.

Maximum console 1996 Preview

A slightly different Tyrant

Wesker in the plant room? Most likely it was just a placeholder, but as we know, in the final version Wesker is in the guardhouse, we meet him after the boss… what if at the beginning we could fight the plant with him?

Also, in the same issue, the article mentions a graveyard among the other locations of the game. This is strange, because if it was still planned to be included we should have at least some screenshots of it. Maybe it got dropped at the end of the development? and if so, why it wasn’t included in the director’s cut ?

Trial Version

More unseen material can be found in a demo called Resident Evil Trial. This version was more or less the same as the final game but there were still some differences: no keyboard in the hall, the plant’s book was in the tiger’s statue, the shield was in the blue hall, many items were in other places, some camera angles were different, etc etc.

Far more interesting are the objects that can be unlocked in the demo with the action replay: a pickaxe (probably used in the caves), Oil (used to burn zombies like in REmake?), beta version of the ink cartridges, the magnum and flamethrower ammo. Also, originally Bio Hazard was meant to have Japanese voices, but they were changed as Shinji Mikami felt that it wasn’t realistic for the characters to speak another language, as they were supposed to be American.

Thanks to KeijiDragon for the video with the original japanese dialogue!

Thanks to the The Horror is Alive forum, one of the best sources for RE, and Resident Evil Beta DE.




Resident Evil 1.5 [PSX – Cancelled]


Resident Evil 2 began development in 1996 shortly after the original game and was originally scheduled for a March 1997 release. However, as the game was approaching its release date, the developers were unsastified with the resulting product. Rather than releasing a game they were unhappy with, the developers took the risk of developing the game from scratch. This scrapped version of the game was later dubbed Resident Evil 1.5. by the internal staff of Capcom.

This prototype version of the game starred Leon S. Kennedy from the finished game and Elza Walker, a prototype of Claire Redfield. Like Claire Redfield, Elza was a motorcyclist and college student, with the only difference being her appearance and the fact Elza had no ties to any established character from the previous games. Other supporting characters from the released game also appeared in Resident Evil 1.5. For example, Marving Branagh, a minor character who gets killed off early in the finished game played a major role in the prototype, helping Leon and Ada escape. The settings of the game were also significantly changed, with the police station in the original prototype having a more contemporary design. – [info from Wikipedia]

In early 2013 the beta / prototype version of Resident Evil 1.5 was finally leaked online, and many gamers are now able to check a part of what the game was meant to be. You can find the RE 1.5 proto / beta to download around the web, with a simple Google Search.

For more infos: Resident Evil 2: Beta Backgrounds Comparison

Also you can check: (sadly, only in german but nice pics)