The Lost Levels
When developing most games, some content will inevitably get left on the cutting room floor. This happens either because of time constraints or because the devs couldn’t figure out a way to make a concept fun. Sometimes the amount of cut content could fill out an entire sequel and other times it ends up getting lost to obscurity due to no archiving being done on game development.
Crash Bandicootsomehow dodged that bullet. While the level “Stormy Ascent” is actually present on the original PlayStation disc, one of the game’s designers (Taylor Kurosaki) had hidden the files since there was no time to properly balance the difficulty curve. It was a decision made late in the process to get the game out on store shelves.
The level was created towards the end of development on the first game. Since Kurosaki was relatively new to designing maps, he didn’t understand how to correctly spread out challenges, so the level ended up being quite hard for even him. “Stormy Ascent” is also notorious for being the largest level in the original Crash, clocking in at roughly four times the size of any other level in the game.
Now, though, the level is officially a part of Crash Bandicoot today, albeit as DLC. If you download this before August 19, you can nab it for free! It will be $2.99 after that.
I wish stuff like this would get released more often. Even if the content is rough and in a totally unplayable state, preserving the concepts you’re working on and allowing players to tinker around with them is a great way to show respect for your audience. It could also have the side effect of letting people understand that game development is hard and that not everything will make the grade.