10 Unfinished Games That Still Have Loyal Fans

Super Mario 64

10 Unfinished Games That Still Have Loyal Fans

Nobody wants their game to be unfinished but as the industry continues to grow and push for more cutting-edge technology and game design, it feels as if unfinished products are almost guaranteed. The culture around gaming has shifted in the modern age, with developers opting to release half-baked titles and then deciding to fix them later with patches. You could argue whether this is a problem or not all you want, but I’d rather shine a light on some of the unfinished levels in games that were never finished. Thinking about what could’ve been is a favorite pastime among gamers and here are 10 of the best games that were also unfinished on release.

Pokemon Gold and Silver

  • Release Date — November 21, 1999
  • Platforms — Game Boy
  • Publisher/Developer — Game Freak / Nintendo
  • Genre — Role-playing
  • Metacritic Score — N/A

If we’re being frank, Pokemon Gold and Silver are very buggy. Some would even go as far as to refer to them as buggy messes. However, their influence on gaming cannot be understated and today the series has come a very long way. Big fans of the retro Pokemon titles know that the game was also very much unfinished. The game has several unused areas, probably debugging maps, and even had a strange Safari Zone sequence that was unfinished.

Doom (1993)

  • Release Date — December 10, 1993
  • Platforms — MS-DOS, 32X, Atari Jaguar, Mac OS, PC-98, SNES, PlayStation, 3DO, Windows, Sega Saturn, RISC OS, Game Boy Advance, Xbox, Xbox 360, iOS, PlayStation 3, Android, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher/Developer — Game Freak / Nintendo
  • Genre — First-person shooter
  • Metacritic Score — N/A

Doom is probably one of the most airtight gaming experiences one can enjoy. But even this title wasn’t immune to unfinished levels. Gamers found several incomplete levels left in the game’s files. Fans have crafted entire communities around these unfinished maps and some have even taken it upon themselves to finish them and incorporate them into their fan games.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls key art
  • Release Date — September 22, 2011
  • Platforms — PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher/Developer — FromSoftware / Namco Bandai Games
  • Genre — Action role-playing
  • Metacritic Score — 89 (Generally Favorable)

One of the most profound releases of the modern era is also plagued with unfinished content. Soulsborne fans have found several unused maps through data mining. It doesn’t stop there either, fans have found many bosses and enemies as well. Most of these unfinished enemies have made their way into subsequent Souls games but it’s interesting seeing their earlier iterations.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog cover art
  • Release Date — November 21, 1992
  • Platforms — Sega Genesis, Arcade, Android, iOS, Mobile phone, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher/Developer — Sega Technical Institute / Sega
  • Genre — Platform
  • Metacritic Score — N/A

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had an entire zone that went unused. The Hidden Palace Zone was originally removed late in the development of the game. An iteration of this unused level made its way into Sonic & Knuckles, but the original version was officially released in the 2013 remaster of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Many people knew about this unfinished level because it was sent to various publications to promote the game. Luckily, we can experience it officially.


Portal gameplay
  • Release Date — October 10, 2007
  • Platforms — Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher/Developer — Valve
  • Genre — Puzzle-Platform
  • Metacritic Score — 90 (Universal Acclaim)

One of Valve’s flagship franchises also had many levels that went unused. There were unused test chambers and puzzles that were found unfinished in the game’s source files. Many fans believe that these test chambers were left unfinished because they were too hard for the main game. The developers have even stated that they didn’t want the game to become about timing instead of logic. It’s unfortunate but man, imagine what we could’ve had.

GoldenEye 007

  • Release Date — August 23, 1997
  • Platforms — Nintendo 64
  • Publisher/Developer — Rare / Nintendo
  • Genre — First-person shooter
  • Metacritic Score — 96 (Universal Acclaim)

GoldenEye 007 is one of the most fun retro multiplayer experiences. It also had plans to implement many of its Single-Player maps in Multiplayer. Gamers found while using GameShark, that both Statue and Cradle were intended for multiplayer. Reasons they were cut are debated on forums with many believing it was due to performance reasons.

Half-Life 2

  • Release Date — November 16, 2004
  • Platforms — Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac OS X, Linux, Android
  • Publisher/Developer — Valve
  • Genre — First-person shooter
  • Metacritic Score — 96 (Universal Acclaim)

In the earliest iteration of Half-Life 2, the game was significantly different from the game that the fans received. In the leaked beta of Half-Life 2, many of the game’s levels and set pieces were different or entirely missing. The Kraken Base and the Air Exchange levels are some examples of this altered content. It would be safe to assume most fans of this title see it as perfect as it is, but some can’t help wondering what the game would’ve been with all of its content intact.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time box art and gameplay
  • Release Date — November 21, 1998
  • Platforms — Nintendo 64, GameCube, iQue Player
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo
  • Genre — Action-adventure
  • Metacritic Score — 98 (Universal Acclaim)

Nintendo’s magnum opus was a victim of canceled hardware. It’s no secret that the Nintendo 64 was going to have a disk drive before Nintendo axed the project. Data miners found some unused content for an expansion for the Nintendo 64DD. They found unfinished dungeons and altered versions of some existing ones. Fans wonder if these altered versions were meant to be new content released with the disk drive expansion in a sort of definitive edition of the game. We’re very happy with the game we got but this shows just how ahead of the curve Nintendo used to be.

Halo: Combat Evolved

  • Release Date — November 15, 2001
  • Platforms — Xbox, Windows, Mac OS X, Xbox 360
  • Publisher/Developer — Bungie / Microsoft Game Studios
  • Genre — First-person shooter
  • Metacritic Score — 97 (Universal Acclaim)

Similar to GoldenEye, Halo: Combat Evolved‘s unfinished content is mostly unfinished multiplayer maps. Some of these maps were released in the later releases of this title. An example is the map “Damnation” which was all but complete however it wouldn’t make it to players until The Master Chief Collection. Like some other entries on this list, fans have created communities around data mining Halo all for documentation, and preservation of gaming history.

Super Mario 64

  • Release Date — June 23, 1996
  • Platforms — Nintendo 64, iQue Player
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo
  • Genre — Platform, action-adventure
  • Metacritic Score — 94 (Universal Acclaim)

This game is probably the pinnacle of unfinished games that are still great. Super Mario 64 has so much unused content that entire YouTube channels were built around debating and myth-busting. Luigi being in the game was one of the longest rumors of Super Mario 64 beforeit was confirmed 24 years later. There were also unused levels and enemies found in the game’s files. One of these is a giant Goomba. This unused content had an immense impact on the community and some of it has made its way to players through fan games.

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