The Lost Levels
Exposed Wires, Moving Platforms
This level was one of my favorites. It was a level that would truly challenge the player. Death was a constant threat and only the most skilled player would make it out unscathed. If the player was to make one wrong move they could fall straight into the icicles that would kill them instantly. Icicles weren't just on the floor, they were also on the ceilings and walls.
The main problem with this level was that it had too many cheap deaths. During early play tests we realized that most players give up once something becomes too hard. This began a debate about a level being challenging vs cheap. To avoid the possibility of being cheap I made sure to include checkpoints in every area where death is a possibility. Ultimately this level got cut early on in production. Another reason was because it didn't fit anywhere in the games story.
High and Low Road Level
The problem with this setup is that it lacked balance. What I mean is that we had to ensure that both areas were awesome and played well. The time it would of took to polish two massive areas like this would have been ridiculous. At this stage of development we were also trying to include collectible items. The problem with this is that no matter what route you took you would miss the collectible in the other area. The Other big problem was communicating to the player that the high road was more difficult compared to the low road. We could of easily stopped the game here and had a on screen visual that told the player but we felt that it would be inconsistent with our overall design.
This level got cut because it demanded a lot of work from an art perspective. After some story changes, it didn't fit with the games overall narrative unfortunately. By the time we sat down and discussed the block out we realized that the scope of the game had changed and this idea wasn't going to worth the time to create the assets and polish the design. It just didn't have a place in the game anymore.
Ledge Jump Tutorial Level
The player was going to use the ledge jump to scale some broken platforms and reach the top of this room. Once at the top the player would use the ability to jump over a small fire, reinforcing the skill they just used. Once that is done the player would fall into a mine cart delivery area where every few seconds a mine cart would be shot out from the left side of the room to the right side. To avoid being hit by the mine cart the player would use their new ability to dodge up into the ceiling.
I was against incorporating the ledge jump ability into the boss fight because it felt completely shoehorned. Also we would be forcing players to rely on a ability they just learned only minutes before to defeat the boss. It was a recipe for disaster and I am glad we decided to cut the ability and the level.
Ice Maze Dungeon Level
This level was created so early. It was made when we were still brainstorming how the game should play. At this point we were focusing on areas that were a bit more focused on puzzles and problem solving rather than just platforming. We decided to gear the game towards platforming rather than puzzles. We wanted to keep the pacing just right. Making the player stop their platforming adventure to search for switches and keys drastically slows the game down and wasn't the direction we wanted to go with.
Mine cart Leap of Faith
The player starts out descending down a bit, avoiding some deadly steam, breaking through an ice block and attempting to solve a switch puzzle without being impaled on icicles or being melted. The next area was supposed to be a large delivery room style area that was dropping mail down towards the player via conveyor belts. The player was to jump back and forth on the conveyor belts while avoiding anything being dropped on them. If the player were to fall off of one of the conveyor belts they would be killed in a horrible pit of fire.
I didn't make this area any easier. The exit was locked which meant the player head to get to the switch to open the door and jump in a mine cart, power it up enough so that the momentum will then toss the player toward the exit. Yeah executing all that isn't really for the casual gamer. I know some hardcore gamers that wouldn't like doing this. As I said before this was an exercise in balancing out being cheap versus challenging.
This level got scrapped because we didn't have the time and assets to make this area. Story wise this took place well after the factory blew up. We needed to focus on the first half of the game and not the second. The tutorial area at this time was there but it was very crude and very simple. We passed on this idea and focused on our strengths and polished the first few areas instead.
Lost but not Forgotten
These areas got cut from the game but that only lead to our game being more refined and polished. It is very important to look at the scope of the game and to realize what is doable. Although I will say that it is also important to fight for what you believe in.
I was told countless times that the T-Rex boss fight was never going to happen. I wanted it in the game so I dedicated weeks to get it in and I am proud to say that it is in the game.