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Secret Areas Gamers Were Never Supposed To Find

Developers love to hide little secrets in their games. From simple Easter eggs to full-blown bonus areas, finding them is a task that has kept gamers busy for years. Sometimes, the developers will even get so impatient for players to find their secrets that they'll just tell people where to look, which is how Quincy Sharp's secret blueprints for Arkham City were finally discovered in Batman: Arkham Asylum.

In an interview with TediumThe Cutting Room Floor co-founder Alex Workman explained, "Game developers often only ever want people to see the 'finished' project, much like films." Sometimes, though, gamers manage to access places in their favorite games that were never intended to be seen, let alone explored in detail. These "lost" places can take the form of unfinished areas, sections cordoned off by the developers, or maps randomly created by genuine anomalies within the code of a game. Sometimes these nooks in the game can be found via cheat codes; sometimes they're accessed through hacks or exploiting glitches. Whatever the means of discovery, the following places were never supposed to be found. 

But they were. So let's take a look at them.

Exploring The Jungle Book - Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep

The beloved Kingdom Hearts franchise has allowed fans of Final Fantasy and Disney alike the opportunity to visit fantastic worlds based on their favorite films, with a few exceptions. For whatever reason, there have been a few different realms left on the cutting room floor.

In fact, it turns out there was a Jungle Book-inspired section that was cut from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. The unfinished world, uncovered by hackers, is still present in the code of the Japanese editions of Birth By Sleep. The available sections include a river where you can jump from giant water lilies and an eerily empty version of King Louie's throne room. 

In a perfect world, this section would still exist in the final game and the fight music would be a heavy metal version of King Louie's song, "I Wanna Be Like You." Well, at least we are still able to explore this nearly there sketch of the jungle world and wonder what could have been. Also, it makes gamers wonder what else could be buried within the code of the Kingdom Hearts series. Maybe it's time to cross our fingers and hope that Kingdom Hearts 3 contains a hidden world based on Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

Infiltrating the destroyed Science Wing - Halo: Reach

Originally infiltrated by the group Termacious Trickosity, this secret area has the added benefit of giving players a literal look behind the scenes of Halo: Reach. While trying to clip through a wall into a different unreachable area, Termacious Trickosity realized that Reach uses a system very much like a movie studio backlot for its cutscenes. 

By clipping out of bounds and switching the game camera to a bird's eye view, they found themselves in a blank room. They discovered that the cutscenes in Reach weren't actually pre-rendered, because above this void, they could see all of the various "sets" where the cutscenes take place, floating out of their reach.

While the discovery of this abyss was incredible enough on its own, Trickosity decided to try and enter the floating areas, which was another matter entirely. Termacious Trickosity subsequently spent an impressive seven years trying to work out how to enter the destroyed Science Wing from Reach's ninth level cutscene. Through an exact set of jumps, character placements, and understanding of how the game loads its cutscenes, Trickosity finally managed to literally break into one of the game's cinematics. All in all, it's a pretty incredible accomplishment, as well as a testament to the sheer determination of fans.

A return to Sandover Village - Jak 2

Jak 2 took an entirely different approach from its predecessor, with a much darker tone and more of an emphasis on gunplay. Even Jak's cute hometown of Sandover Village was now inaccessible, after being featured as a level in Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.

However, through an extremely bizarre glitch, it is possible for players to explore Sandover Village in Jak 2. By ejecting the disc during the opening cutscene, skipping the scene, then reinserting the disc, players will be deposited into Sandover Village, where they may wander to their heart's content! There are no enemies to fight, but the entire town is there. If you decide to try this out for yourself, be careful where you step. As noted by The Cutting Room Floor, the bridge leading to the hut belonging to Jak's mentor Samos lacks collision detection. If you try to take this route, you may end up falling down, with no way back up. 

While this glitch was ostensibly fixed with the HD remaster for the PS4, hackers still found a way to get Jak into the HD version of Sandover Village, proving that Jak can go home again.

The odd horror of the Dead Body Cleanup Cell - The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is full of majestic hilltops, lush valleys, and incredibly ornate Dwarven caverns. And, of course, there's the quaint little nook known as the Dead Body Cleanup Cell, as well as — Oh, you haven't been to the Dead Body Cleanup Cell? Well, have a seat, because it's time to learn all about this place that should never be.

Through a series of console commands on the PC version of Skyrim, it is possible to access a sickly colored cavern that contains NPCs that you've killed. It's essentially a dumping ground utilized by the game so that it doesn't clutter too much of its memory remembering where you've left corpses behind. They're all piled up on top of each other, and they're all inexplicably naked. Sometimes there are fewer dead bodies in the hallway, but the whole place still looks like the day after a party at Caligula's place. Aside from the corpses, there are also two empty coffins in the room.

The creepiest part of this area? It's shaped like a cross. Yikes. The Dead Body Cleanup Cell didn't have to spook us this much, but it really went for it. If you do decide to visit the Dead Body Cleanup Cell, tread carefully. It may crash your game.

Re-opening the Safari Zone - Pokémon Gold, Silver, & Crystal

The Safari Zone was a neat addition to the first generation of Pokémon games. Trainers could pay for entry to the park, hunting through the tall grass for rare Pokémon who couldn't be found elsewhere in the world map, like Nidorino and Exeggcute. Even the lakes in the Safari Zone contained rare Pokémon, like Dratini. The Safari Zone was even the setting for an episode of the Pokémon anime that never aired in the United States. In other words, it's kind of a big deal.

When Pokémon Silver and Gold came out, it was a bit of a bummer to find that the Safari Zone was excluded from this adventure. Oh, the entrance was still there, but the citizens of Fuchsia City, as well as signs posted around the town, informed you that the Safari Zone was closed while the Warden was away.

Thanks to some curious hackers, however, we now know that the Safari Zone was originally intended to be accessible and is still within the game code. By either using emulator exploits or a GameShark, players could finally get inside of the Safari Zone. For players who sat out on Gold and Silver, the unfinished area was still accessible in the later-released Crystal.

There's not much to do in the unpopulated Safari Zone, but the game will allow players to catch some Pokémon inside (but only by fishing). Otherwise, it's merely an interesting stroll down memory lane.

Glitching your way to safety - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

When Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was released on the PlayStation in 1997, it was a smash success, with GameSpot calling it "quite possibly the best 2D action side-scroller ever." Sadly, for a game that is so well loved, the well-known PlayStation version had quite a bit of content designed for it that was ultimately left on the cutting room floor. These sections were only realized when an expanded version of the the game was later ported to the Sega Saturn in Japan.

However, by exploiting a glitch that moves your character through the floor, players are able to access a cavern that may have originally led to the excised areas. There's not much to the cavern beyond a couple of platforms and a shallow bit of water in the lower left corner. What's actually interesting about this secret passageway is that it eventually deposits you into a hidden Save Room. 

Here's the best part of finding this hidden area: after saving your game and leaving back through the cavern, a hatch above the room will now be open, allowing the underground tunnel to be accessible through normal means, without all of the extra trickery. In essence, this discovery doubles as a neat hidden area and as a tactical advantage. After all, in a game as challenging and vast as Symphony of the Night, there can never be too many Save Rooms available.

Crossing the northern and southern borders - Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is already quite an expansive game, with ComicBook.com noting that it features the largest map Rockstar Games has ever made. Heck, just the file size for the game itself exceeds 100 GB on some consoles. This is not a game that is lacking in content. However, some players have discovered that the game is even bigger than the in-game map would lead you to believe. 

One player managed to glitch his way into Mexico and discover an exact replica of how it appeared in the first Red Dead Redemption, only with updated graphics. Apparently, this can only be pulled off after finishing the entire story campaign, after which you can glitch your way across the San Luis River and over the border wall.

Another notable map glitch deposited a player into a snowy mountain range beyond the northern border of the game. Unlike the unpopulated Mexico maps, this area actually contains wild animals that can be hunted and used for resources, just like in the rest of the world map. 

It's unknown whether or not these areas were originally planned to be used in the story mode or if they're somehow part of an upcoming update or DLC. However, it's pretty wild to discover that Rockstar's biggest map ever just keeps getting bigger.

The OTHER Minus World - The Legend of Zelda

Pretty much everyone knows about the hidden "Minus World" in the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES. It's an underwater level that loops endlessly, only accessible via a specific glitchy sewer pipe. However, there's another kind of Minus World secreted away within a different NES classic, The Legend of Zelda.

First reported in early 2019, the Zelda "Minus World" was discovered by a player who manipulated the game's code into letting him leave the bounds of the world map. What he found was truly bizarre: rows upon rows of headstones, variations of enemies that can't be killed, monsters that were bizarre chimeras of different enemy types, and generally scrambled scenery. Some areas have a pulsating, unsettling variation of the normal music, while some areas have no music at all. The Old Man will offer you items you cannot take, enemies will teleport, and trap doors will appear from nowhere. All in all, The Legend of Zelda's "Minus World" is as dangerous as it is bizarre.

However, this was clearly never meant to be playable. As Business Insider noted, "You probably don't want to play this stuff, as interesting as it looks." However, it's still a fascinating trick of the game's internal code. The most bizarre aspect has to be combined monsters, which sometimes take the shape of ghosts swirling around one of the fireball-spitting Zoras. There's no way to 'win' the "Minus World," but its eccentricities are worth exploring.

The orphanage behind the orphanage - Resident Evil 2 (2019)

Resident Evil 2's game map is fairly large, but still built in ways that encourage a feeling of claustrophobia on the part of the player. Well, what if you discovered that there was much more to Raccoon City than what you can see on the surface? Using a mod, it is possible to add a specialized camera that allows players to look outside the bounds of the normal game.

By clipping through walls and using this special camera, players have been able to find early versions of rooms that eventually ended up in the actual game. Among these unused areas is an empty, untextured version of the game's orphanage building. A few of the rooms have completely different layouts from the way they appear in the final version. If you've already completed the game's story mode, this adds to the uncanny nature of the hidden areas, since they feel both familiar and alien at the same time.

"Normally, stuff like this is hidden in the game files," explains Boundary Break host Shesez. "But ... it's literally behind the other orphanage." Creepy.

Now, if only Mr. X had a nicer, weaker version of himself hidden behind him.

A helo in the void - Battlefield 3

Among the many things one would expect to find in the outskirts of a Battlefield 3 map, an empty white void with a lone helicopter probably isn't one of them. However, if you roam far enough in the game's second story mission, "Operation Swordbreaker," that's precisely what you'll come across. 

As you leave the normal map behind, the buildings become hazier and less defined. The road disappears altogether, leaving you in a room similar to the Construct in The Matrix where Trinity and Neo picked up "lots of guns." And that's when it appears from out of the sky, landing itself in your path. 

It's unclear if this helo was meant to be included in some unfinished part of the mission, but it looks for all the world like the sky opened up and the Battlefield gods sent you a vessel of destruction as a gift. It's so bizarre how it seems to seek you out. It would be a shame not to take it for a spin, right? If nothing else, it's worth seeking out for the hilarious surprise your enemies will feel when you return from the void with your very own attack helicopter.

Swimmin' in the streets - Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness isn't exactly a beloved entry in the classic adventure franchise, with Eurogamer calling it a "half baked, unfinished travesty of a game." Despite being "half baked," Angel of Darkness still has a few secrets hidden within its glitchy walls. 

By exploiting a glitch that allows players to use a mid-air swimming animation to move through solid walls, a new area can be accessed. As if finding a whole new Parisian backstreet isn't cool enough, Lara will begin narrating an unused tutorial to the player, explaining how to climb up the walls and move her through the alley. This suggests that this unfinished alleyway was meant to be part of the game's original tutorial. The game's notoriously tumultuous development process probably led to this alleyway being one of many things that were scrapped, along with the original tutorial voice-over.

Even in a subpar game, this is still a neat look at an alternate route through the level. Leave it to Lara Croft to go exploring somewhere she was never meant to be.