Extreme makeovers: nine Xbox 360 characters who used to look totally different

Ever wonder how Pyramid Head got his Pyramid?

You know Chinese Whispers? Well, that's a crude but useful way of summarising how game concepts buckle, evolve and sometimes devolve in the course of development. A junior designer chained to a desk in a basement somewhere says "hallucinogenic platform game with Hidden Object elements, written entirely in Old English", and some months later, a smiling executive turns and bellows "Medal of Honor: Warfighter".

Often, the process is encapsulated in a single character. Here are a number of heroes and heroines, baddies and baddettes who underwent a dramatic transformation before hitting the shelves. Unless otherwise noted, all images are taken from the excellent Save Room Minibar.

1. Alta´r Ibn-La'Ahad - Assassin's Creed
Besides filling in as babysitter to a juvenile Prince of Persia, original Creedster Alta´r used to be a woman. Take note of the artwork featuring the horse in particular. ''This is a particularly interesting image because it pre-dates our understanding of the Assassin Brand," observes concept artist Khai Nguyen via Ubisoft's Facebook page. "As you can see here, the little kid on the horse is supposed to be the "Prince" of Prince of Persia, because we were all under the illusion that we were making a Sands of Time spin-off. The assassin was supposed to be the little prince's bodyguard.''

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