What games deserve the equivalent of a Snyder Cut?

Zack Snyder's Justice League
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Jorge wants to see the Kojima cut of Metal Gear Solid 5, with the missing episode 51 restored and a more satisfying ending. Surely there are other games out there that deserve the same treatment, the equivalent of an indulgent four-hour director's cut that bring them back to their creators' original vision, with cut content restored and whatever other changes are necessary.

What games deserve their own Snyder Cut?

Here are our answers, plus a few from our forum.

A reaper from Mass Effect 3

(Image credit: EA)

Steven Messner: The Karpyshyn Cut of Mass Effect 3. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a cut because the Snyder Cut is still, fundamentally, the same movie but with a whole lot more added to it, and the Karpyshyn Cut of Mass Effect would likely be a different story entirely. That said, hey, who's up for unearthing shitty internet drama from 2012? I know I am. 

If you're unfamiliar, a lot of people really didn't like Mass Effect 3's ending and it became an extremely ugly situation that turned into a hate mob that attacked BioWare until it released a recut of its ending. It was gross and a precursor to our modern internet era where large angry mobs are rampaging on the daily. But at the same time, well, Mass Effect 3's ending did suck. One of the interesting wrinkles in that story was that Mass Effect's original writer, Drew Karpyshyn, had left the studio just before ME2 was finished and some of the ideas he helped conceive for the trilogy's ending were dropped in favor of new ones. Alongside the Indoctrination Theory, people turned this very normal part of game development into their casus belli against BioWare. But ugly internet drama aside, all these years later I often think about what Karpyshyn said the original ending might look like because it all sounded very fuckin' cool.

The idea, essentially, was that the Reapers were actually trying to save the universe from total annihilation. The big twist that was lightly alluded to in Mass Effect 2 was that dark energy was essentially pulling the universe apart (it could be true!) and the Reapers were trying to save it at the expense of different civilizations. The big choice at the end would have naturally been something like choosing whether to sacrifice sentient life to save future generations or telling the Reapers to get bent so that everyone can keep on living but with the knowledge that in a few million years all life will end. It's an ending with its own very obvious flaws. I mean, why the hell would I sacrifice the human species just so people a million years from now don't have to die. That's dumb. There's no guarantee that some other catastrophe wouldn't come along and wipe them all out anyway. But I like the idea of a proper twist ending that actually makes some kind of sense and is alluded to in the game in some way. I'm not saying this idea would have been better. But it sounds cool, so I always wondered.

Basch, the grizzled knight of Final Fantasy 12

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Wes Fenlon: Since long before the Snyder Cut, Final Fantasy fans have daydreamed about the version of Final Fantasy 12 that could have been. Final Fantasy 12 started under the direction of Yasumi Matsuno, who has created some true masterworks in his time: Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and Tactics Ogre. The full history of Final Fantasy 12's development is convoluted and there's far more speculation than hard information on what could have been. But the short version is that Matsuno left the game and Square Enix a few years into development, citing health reasons, and some of its weaker elements are blamed on corporate meddling and the new leadership that took over after Matsuno quit. 

Grizzled knight Basch was famously meant to be the game's protagonist, but he was pushed aside in favor of street rat Vaan (and his washboard abs), a younger, prettier protagonist. Final Fantasy 12's story also sort of trails off in the back half of the game and is light on cutscenes and the great character interplay of the early hours. It's easy to look at those problems and assume they would've been better if Matsuno had gotten to see his vision through.

The truth is more complicated, I'm sure, but I'd still love to play the Matsuno Cut of Final Fantasy 12. A version that restores his original choice of protagonist and evens out the bumps in the story that are obvious in hindsight would be a true dream come true. Maybe Matsuno would throw in a few side chapters that give the judges, the game's immaculately armored villains, a bit more screen time? The version of Final Fantasy 12 on PC, The Zodiac Age, is still a hell of a game, and improves many elements of the original's combat and Gambit systems. The version that pairs those improvements with more of Matsuno's writing only exists in my head. But in there,  it's truly perfect.

(Image credit: SEGA)

Dave James: The Cameron Cut of Aliens: Colonial Marines. Don't we deserve another good Alien game? We've had Isolation, which came as close as dammit to the claustrophobia and terror of Scott's original xenomorph feature, so it's about time we had a true follow-up in the style of Aliens. Give me some solid characters, some worthwhile downtime between firefights, give me a Bishop-class android, give me some smart xenos and smartguns, and give me that scene in the corridor where the sentry guns are counting down their ammo. 

Just give me an Aliens game that doesn't feel like it was constructed one afternoon in a tattered booth of some dive bar. 

James Davenport: Whatever cut of Dark Souls 2 restores the version of the Bastille level in which the castle is actually the shell for a mega-huge hermit crab, that's what I want. Nothing else. Like, I know Dark Souls 2 went through major revisions before release, and it's clear it was built around lighting tech that was eventually cut—lighting the dark with torches was gonna be a huuuuge deal—but the massive hermit crab is a top priority. Hermit crab cut first. Miyazaki cut last. 

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Jody Macgregor:  I want Fallout 3: The Prequel Cut. There's a rumor/compelling theory that Fallout 3 began as a prequel set before the first game, mere decades after the bombs dropped, then pivoted mid-development to become a sequel set 200 years later. (Presumably so that iconic elements like super mutants and the Brotherhood of Steel could be included.) It would explain a lot of things, like how much of a mess the wasteland is—all the skeletons left where they died and so on—as well as the gappy timeline, where nothing happens for years and then suddenly everything happens at once. 

Bethesda eventually did make a prequel with Fallout 76, rewriting the backstory to squeeze the Brotherhood and super mutants in. But I would like to have played a version of Fallout 3 without that, a bolder attempt at reinventing the series, and also one where things like Little Lamplight—the settlement populated entirely by children who kick out anyone who turns 16—stand a chance of making sense.

From our forum

Zloth: Xenosaga. It came out on Playstation 2 and was supposed to be a series of six games to act as a spiritual successor to Xenogears. Instead, it got crunched down into three games with the last game trying to tie up all the plot threads at a crazy rate. I would love to play it as originally intended with six games in the series, plus Xenogears, all on PC.

Max Payne, leaping and shooting

(Image credit: Rockstar)

McStabStab: Max Payne 3. Beat it multiple times and got all the golden guns. Would be interesting to see how the game would have turned out if Remedy retained the IP. Maybe there were some design / story ideas that got cut featuring that signature Remedy flavor. Regardless, the game could've been a director's cut of Man on Fire itself. I want more Payne!

Kaamos_Llama: There's not many games I bother playing through more than once, I actually feel that most games could do with more editing rather than less.

One exception is Dark Souls. The second half of the first game is a bit disappointing compared to everything up to the end of Anor Londo, providing you follow the path of least resistance obviously.

I remember hearing that they started to be pushed for time which lead to Lost Izilith and some later areas being rushed. If that was the case I'd love to see what the team that made that game would come up with given infinite time and resources to make it exactly how they wanted all the way through.

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

mainer: There are several older games that I still play, that had rushed releases for various reasons, had content cut, and quite a few bugs, but given a theoretical directors cut treatment, with cut content and features restored (and bugs fixed), could be great games. Actually, a couple of them are already great (in my opinion), but that's mainly due to either mods, or non-official patches from a dedicated fan base.

Gothic 3: This had the potential to be Piranha Bytes "Witcher 3" game. Incomplete content and massive amounts of bugs due to a rushed release by then developer JoWooD (who was subsequently dumped by PB). A community patch fixes a lot of this, but I would love to see PB completely remake this game as they originally intended. Won't ever happen of course, but in a year with several remasters/remakes of older games, I'd love it.

Knights of the Old Republic 2: Released far too soon with so much cut content, could've been a great game, and also deserves a "directors cut edition" made by the original developer, Obsidian.

Fallout New Vegas: Even without a directors cut, it's still, arguably, the best of the 1st person perspective Fallouts. Made even better with ongoing mod support. But it was still rushed to final release too soon, and suffered from lots of cut content (and bugs). Also developed by Obsidian. I feel bad for them, they've really gotten into some bad situations in the past, but really make great games.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Volley: Rage (2011, id Software, Bethesda Softworks). This title was basically a mix of Borderlands & Fallout. I feel like this game, at least on PC, never got the full passion of typical id Software. Even today, if you fire it up on Steam, you're presented with texture pop-in and blurry textures out of the box. The game feels unfinished in some areas, polished in others, and has a pretty abrupt ending. Some of the character models are well done, such as Loosum and Sarah in the DLC, but many of the enemies look the same (I think every enemy in the game is a male, lol) and have the same voice actor. Overall I enjoyed it, but would love to see a refresh with the original vision.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.