We’ve seen people theorize if VA-11 Hall-A had content cut at some point, how the ending feels like it’s missing something. The only thing I can comment on that topic is that we’re guilty of many things… except cutting stuff out.
VA-11 Hall-A’s development was a constant rush. From learning how to make a full-fledged game, to dealing with people that claim they’ve been waiting two years for a game that wasn’t even half a year in development, to figuring out what the hell we want to do and where we want the game to go. When you’re in that kind of mentality you calculate every move. Cutting content requires time, effort, and resources you can barely muster as it is. When you add something you make god damn sure it’s there to stay.
For graphical depiction of how it felt to make VA-11 Hall-A, here’s this GIF of Gromit.
There’s a fun story on that topic. Originally the game was planned to have 20 days… but that’s because I can’t do math to save my life and swore the game would end on December 31st with that amount.
Said day was more breather before the ending. It had Alma’s day 17 dialog, Kim’s day 14 dialog, and a brief stint with the dogs that was added to their dialog on day 11. As you can deduce, it wasn’t so much “cut” as it was “relocated everywhere else”. Even the dialog between sets of clients was merged into other days.
That’s not to say there isn’t any stuff we dropped deep into the dev cycle, there’s one such thing in plain sight, actually.
You’ll notice while navigating the recipe book that there’s three properties.
The first is the flavor of the drink, the second is the kind of drink it is, and the third… is a “secret property”. Every drink would have this third property marked as “???” at the beginning, only revealing itself if you served it to the right person at the right time.
Someone asked for something to wake them up? Serve them a Bleeding Jane and suddenly the drink would have “Sobering” unlocked in the recipe book, making it easier to know that drink was meant to wake drunkards. A client asked for a strong drink? Pick the right manly drink and you’ll unlock the “Strong” property and a bonus tip! This idea also branched off from an earlier one of manipulating the mood of the clients through the drinks (which is why one of the properties is “happy”).
Why did we cut it? We just didn’t deem it necessary. Development moved on and we just felt like all we needed was “flavor” and “kind”. The closest thing to dialog reflecting this early idea is *Kira* Miki asking for a “soft” drink. We also left the secret properties there because they weren’t hurting anybody and it was easier than fixing all the entries of the recipe book.
The bottled drinks almost followed suit, but we weren’t gonna waste a good Simpsons reference.