If axe-happy George Osborne ever finds himself stuck for public services to shred, he could do worse than take inspiration from some of the more ruthless videogame developers. Irrational Games is our current score leader for the title of Most Masochistic - according to catlike boss-man Ken Levine, the developer has chopped away two whole games' worth of material from the upcoming Bioshock Infinite. Might want to give the NHS another once-over, George. You may have missed a bit.
As regards videogames, at least, stripping things out is all part of the growing process, but players are increasingly suspicious of the practice nonetheless, given publisher eagerness to repackage dropped levels, guns and characters as DLC - and individual developers are, accordingly, much more reluctant to discuss their leftovers than once they were. Fortunately, the eyes of the internet are many and penetrating, like the eyes of a cyborg spider. Here are six places you didn't go (or at least, have yet to go) in six of Xbox 360's bigger releases.
1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - "Cobra Pilot"
As we never tire of rehearsing, the original Modern Warfare broke the mould for Call of Duty, setting a new standard for tone, direction and online frenzy in a military FPS. But it could have gone further. The campaign was originally slated to include a mission that warped players to the cockpit of a Cobra helicopter, battling bogeys over what appears to be a Middle Eastern city. (Assets for the mission can still be prised loose via the PC version's SDK.) This wouldn't have been your standard mounted gun escapade, however, but the first ever Call of Duty vehicle mission to offer full manual control. A vision of the Battlefield 2 crossover we'll never, ever play, perhaps?
2. Dishonored - Lunatic Asylum
2012's greasy rewrite of Victorian London once included a trip to a madhouse, as Dishonored art director Sebastien Mitten revealed not long after release. "It is always sad when you have to cut features, ideas, concepts," he said, "but that's the nature of our role in this industry. As an artist you have to stay really agile and react positively for the sake of the project. In this case, we had to cut a mental institution which was haunted by some locals called Lunatics. I really liked the mechanics of those non-fighting guys who are really sensitive to sounds, and who drive the player into a corner, hooting when they've detected you." We assume the level was cut for budgetary reasons, rather than because they thought it wouldn't work, because Mitten's thumbnail sketch sounds very appealing.
3. Halo 3 - THE ENTIRE WORLD
Bungie's looking to reinvent console multiplayer with the forthcoming Destiny, which applies generous tactical gunplay redolent of Halo to a planet's worth of persistent environment. If the developer does manage to turn in an Xbox-friendly evolution of the troublesome MMO-shooter concept, we'll be over the moon - but our joy will be tempered by the knowledge that Bungie's tried this particular trick before. As revealed in the PAX presentation below, Halo 3 was once down to include "Global Battles".