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Prerelease:Undertale

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Other languages:
English • ‎中文(中国大陆)‎ • ‎日本語 • ‎한국어

This page details prerelease information and/or media for Undertale.

Hmmm...
To do:

Undertale was obliquely teased as "Underbound 2" in February 2013 before being released as an official demo of Undertale that May. It then recieved a Kickstarter page, where backers originally kept track of the game's progress before the eventual release in 2015. Judging from the developmental process, the foundation for the game was pretty much laid out save for a few minor layout changes and redone graphics.

Ever since the game's release, it had gained an immense following over the years which allowed Toby Fox to include new additions via updates and develop another game in the series called Deltarune.

Sub-Page

Undertale Papyrus concept art.png
Concept Art
Grillbert.

Development Timeline

2012

  • Dec.: Toby Fox begins development of Undertale after clicking on a random Wikipedia article about arrays.

2013

  • February 4: Toby Fox replies to a member on Starmen.net, and shows the very first image of "Underbound 2", actually from an early version of Undertale.
  • May 2: An earlier version of the demo is showcased in a Fangamer stream.
  • May 23: The demo of Undertale was released to the public.
  • June 24: The Kickstarter page for Undertale opens.[1]
  • July 24: The Kickstarter page for Undertale is closed, having raised a total of $51,124.[2]

2014

  • February 21: Toby states that the game is "approaching 50% completion", but hasn't had much time to program the game due to schoolwork causing development to go on hold.[3]
  • May 3: Development of the game resumes, as Toby graduates from university. Additionally, a Korean version of the demo is released.[4]
  • June 25: Toby reveals that "Area 3" of the game (actually Waterfall) is complete, and claims that "Area 4" (i.e. Hotland) will be the last one finished.[5]
  • August 31: "Area 4" of the game is halfway complete, and Toby shares some other progress in the game itself.[6]
  • October 30: "Area 4" is mostly complete, with some glitches being fixed.[7]
  • December 18: Toby finally finishes Asgore, which he claims to be the "final boss" of the game.[8]

2015

  • January 15: A new trailer is released on Steam Greenlight.[9]
  • February 22: A small update is released, stating that since the last one, "an ending", "the last date", "a very pathetic shopkeeper", and "a nice place with a shower, air conditioning, and a bunch of fun movies to watch" have been added.[10]
  • May 1: Toby sends a late build of Undertale to some select backers, which plays like the normal game except for a couple of missing features, like "one ending not being beatable".[11]
  • May 30: By this point, the last ending is "almost complete", with only one boss in the route being unfinished. Various other minor things were added.[12]
  • June 30: Since the last update, Undertale has been mostly converted to Game Maker Studio. As a result of this conversion, the instruction manual was left unused.[13]
  • July 30: Toby claims that the game is almost complete and mentions a "possible August" release.[14]
  • August 22: The game's release date is unveiled as September 15, 2015.[15]
  • September 8: Toby posts the release trailer of Undertale, one week from the game's release.[16]
  • September 15: Undertale is released.

Early Development

In December 2012, Toby Fox started to develop Undertale after he clicked on a random article on Wikipedia and ended up on a page about arrays. Back then, he studied about basic programming variables in RPG Maker 2000 by reading books, but he did not know how to code a full-scale game. The game's original idea, dating back to early 2012, ended up being released in 2018 as Deltarune.

He stated in a 2017 Famitsu interview that the "Action" and "Quit" commands were inspired by Shin Megami Tensei, in a similar vein to interacting with monsters. Toby also claimed that Shin Megami Tensei was his inspiration for adding pacifism to Undertale, during a 2020 interview with NPR.

(Source: Famitsu Interview)

In the same NPR interview, Toby spoke of an early version of the first boss, in which the player would need to kill Toriel in order to progress. This was changed because according to Toby, "I was like, 'this sucks' and I changed it before I released the demo."

(Source: NPR Interview)

Early Ideas

Death by karma! Sadly, you can't date the hot robot. Bullets have many properties!

Page 1

Karma points -> change certain factors

Kill a Monster = 0 karma
Kill a Weaker Monster = -X karma
Kill a pleading Monster = -X karma
Spare a stronger pleading monster = +X karma

Higher Karma Benefits:
- Sparing enemies is easier, can spare enemies of higher LVL
- Extra roll when running away (serendipitously...)
- Karma above 100 can be stored in an ATM
- items can be bought for karma on the black market
  - also jobs can get you more karma
- Plead option vs. stronger enemies
- Higher drop rate
  - give money to charity
  - amt of karma proportional to %of total money ever possessed x log of money

Lower Karma:
- Harder to run, etc. etc.
- May miss a critical hit
- Strong, high karma enemies will seek your out
  - they may spare you if you plead
  - free hypercritical in this case

the first boss is the tutorial person who can't stand to
see you leave... you aren't strong enough.

when you go to the final area of the dungeon,
there's a cardboard cutout of a beautiful 
landscape. then you go up to it and there's a door.

The first page posted on Toby's Twitter details a Karma system that never made it into the final game. The only concept related to Karma that did was the KR system in Sans's boss fight. The Karma system could have been reworked into the EXP system in the final game, giving you a certain amount of EXP when you kill monsters.

Page 2

for enemy attacks, should/can we go to a seperate room?
  -> probably not.

Battle Process
  -> meet a monster, tense music plays
  monster doesn't say anything if it's hostile.

YOU | Fight   Special
HP  | Talk    Goods
MP  | Check   Run 
    V

Converse.  Threat. 
Joke.      Flirt.
Bribe           >Back

Magic: Shrink     All-Attack
       Speed-up   Attacks Up
       Heal

Shrink reduces hitbox 
but your
attack power is
reduced by 10%.
Speed-up also makes 
your attacks occur 
faster

you can date all the bosses.
except the last one.
and the robot.
you can date 
the hot robot.
water bottle
"do you think
that will work on
me? I'm waterproof"
*ruins his hair*

* I WOULD MARRY ANYONE

robot has wires you need to 
get on.

The second page details a few game mechanics along with dating bosses. In the final game, you can date pretty much all the bosses, except for Mettaton ("the hot robot") and Asgore ("the last one").

The UI design was shown in the Undertale Art Book.

Page 3

Battle ideas.   
Yellow Bullets = Always hurt You
White Bullets = Can be phased
Orange bullets = only hurt you when phased
Blue = phase cancel

final boss attacks your cursor in the menu
wrecks your entire menu
one boss stops you from phasing. You must jump.
makes your heart green.

basic attacks:
semi 
concentrated
stream
(sneeze(?) and direct)

chase and attack

specific directional bullet
(bullet mesh

Swrd strike
(must phase)

shock waves
(must phase)

bullets have many properties:
- PWR
- speed
- direction
- friction
- # of bullets

dodging field
maybe
variable?

The final page references a green heart attack, used by Undyne instead of Asgore ("final boss") in the final game. The sword attack was used by Asgore. Sans is the only boss that actively attacks your cursor, and he is the final boss of the No Mercy route, so this still stays true.

This page also details a phasing mechanic where you can phase through bullets. This never made it into the final game, but the final game allows the player to phase through cyan bullets by standing still and orange bullets by moving around when they make contact. Yellow bullets never made it into the final game, but every other type did. An early idea for the platforming-based Blue SOUL mechanic is already detailed here, but it's tied to whether or not the player can phase rather than whether or not they're affected by gravity.


(Source: @tobyfox)

Early/Concept Dialogue

Memmaton parties like it's 1999!

Memmaton: Shame chip. Power output maximum.
Memmaton: I CANNOT EXPRESS MY FEELINGS IN 
WORDS. PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS MIDI FILE INSTEAD
*living la vida loca plays*

The Kickstarter for the game originally hinted at the ability to date Mettaton, which never happens in the final game. However, Toby Fox did indeed write dialogue for the event, which was done so early into development that Mettaton wasn't even called Mettaton, instead going by "Memmaton." Presumably, "Memmaton" wouldn't have actually played a Ricky Martin MIDI if this scenario made it to the final game.

(Source: @tobyfox)

2013

February

Starmen.net Reveal

On February 4, 2013, Toby posted a joke reply in a friend's forum thread on Starmen.net, in which he claimed to be working on a sequel to the (likely also a joke) EarthBound hack "UnderBound", titled "UnderBound 2". The images and music shown were in reality from an early version of Undertale, and feature several differences from their final versions.

TestMonster? All I see are Froggits!

This image shows the earliest revealed screenshot of the game. While most of it looks similar to how the final game looks, the options at the bottom are different, with a "Talk" choice instead of "Act", "Spare" instead of "Mercy", and a "Spell" option that's not in the final (its graphics are present but unused, however). No visible LV meter has been implemented. The Froggit enemies are called "TestMonster", and the spots on its chest are slightly different than the final's.

Pre-release Demo onward
Look at 'em go!

Frisk originally had black outlines and darker hair and shoes. This was changed to a lighter brown in the demo, and in the final.

Pre-release Final

The regular battle theme, "Enemy Approaching", was one of the earliest tracks written for the game. The version from the PK Hack thread is slightly incomplete, notably missing the outro the final has and the beep-y instrument from 0:21 on.


(Source: PK Hack (archive))
oh god no

Toby testing stuff out (February 8, 2013). The font used is wider than in the final.

The room shown here still exists in the final as "room_overworld", but the textures used were deleted, resulting in black space.

April

Later Screenshots

Pre-release Final
More likely to break a bone than a fall. A (flower) bed fit for a queen.

Compared to the final, the early version has blockier graphics. LV is next to the player's name, and there is an extra stat EN, which Toby says stands for English, though more likely stands for Energy, which is an unused stat in the demo's code.


(Source: @tobyfox)
Pre-release Final
I'm sure a lot of people would've quit the game here. Better.

Dated April 5, 2013 (one month before the demo release), this leaf puzzle was made a bit easier in the final version. Other parts of the ruins were also lacking markings or cracks on the ground at this point.


(Source: @tobyfox)


(Source: @tobyfox)

May

Fangamer Demo Stream

On May 2, 2013, an earlier version of the Undertale Demo (GAMETEST_7) was showcased on their stream. Despite Only being 21 days from Public Demo's release date, it features a number of differences like concept art for the intro, a placeholder menu, and a bunch of other placeholder assets in the ruins.


In April 2021, a recreation of GAMETEST_7 was made and although it can't be shown here for being a recreation, it has a list of significant changes that GAMETEST_7 has from the Public Demo.

Later Development

2013-2015, the phase when the game was being developed via Kickstater, resulting additions of the newer areas.

Early Sprites

Hoi. Welcome to da TEM SHOP.
It's the Temmie Shop in a overworld sprite form.

(Source: Temmie Chang @tuyoki)

So sorry you couldn't see this for so long...
Temmie Chang made an overworld sprite of So Sorry from the front, but it was not used until later versions of the game, where he appears outside of the Art Club room in the True Pacifist epilogue only after fighting him.

(Source: Samael on Tumblr)

Bandcamp Demo Soundtrack Differences

Hmmm...
To do:
  • The "Start Menu" combines four tracks into one for some reason. Split this track up and compare it to the unused "Start Menu" tracks in the demo.
  • The final game's Bandcamp soundtrack has differences in it as well.

The demo's soundtrack on Bandcamp features a few musical differences compared to the demo.

"Fallen Down"

Bandcamp Demo

This track is used when you first meet Toriel. The Bandcamp version is a slowed down, lower-pitched version of the demo's version in the files, which in turn is slowed down, and lower-pitched in-game.


(Source: tobyfox.bandcamp.com)

Hotel Battle Music Pre-Release Name

The song on the OST "Can You Really Call This A Hotel, I Didn't Receive A Mint On My Pillow Or Anything" was named "Hey This Wasn't Really What I Was Expecting From a Hotel, For Example You Didn't Even Leave a Mint on My Pillow" when revealed in a Kickstarter update, and has the filename "hey_this_wasnt_really_what_i_was_expecting_from_a_hotel_for_example_you_didnt_leave_a_mint_on_my_pillow.mp3" on Toby Fox's website. It was uploaded on October 30, 2014 at 8:58 AM.


(Source: Kickstarter)

"Stronger Monsters" WIP

This prototype version of "Stronger Monsters" is found on Toby's website, as well as in a Kickstarter update. The only major difference seems to be that the end is shorter. It was uploaded on December 18, 2014 at 8:16 AM.

Compare the end of this track with the final:

WIP loop/end of "Stronger Monsters" Final loop/end of "Stronger Monsters"

Unreleased Music

Various unreleased music tracks were posted to the Undertale Tumblr the day before the game's 1st Anniversary.

Early "Alphys"

A calmer, less quirky-sounding version of Alphys's theme. It was rewritten for the final version because Toby felt it was too similar to "a certain lab song from another game" (most likely referring to Dr. Andonuts' lab theme from EarthBound). "Here We Are", the theme for the True Lab, appears to be based on this early theme.


(Source: Toby Fox)

Early "Spear of Justice"

An early version of Undyne's battle theme. Although the melody is mostly the same, it has a considerably more melancholy and less aggressive tone compared to the final version due to being written before Toby "really knew Undyne’s personality".


(Source: Toby Fox)

Early "Undertale"

An early take on the eponymous song. Compared to the final version, this is less bittersweet-sounding and is played in a minor key. Toby was inspired to change the guitar backing to a new melody (which itself served as the basis for "Memory" and "His Theme") after hearing the song "Redline Day" from the 2009 anime film Redline.


(Source: Toby Fox, Toby Fox)

"Dog Hole"

Definitely meant to be an area theme, but it doesn't sound quite like anything else on the soundtrack. Maybe that's why it was scrapped...?


(Source: Toby Fox)

"Dogtroid"

"Dogsong", arranged as a parody of the Metroid ending theme. Apparently, if you completed the game quickly enough you would have gotten an image of the Annoying Dog in a bikini as a "reward":

GREAT !! YOU FULFILED YOUR MISSION.


(Source: Toby Fox)
(Source: @tobyfox)

Mettaton Essay

Hmmm...
To do:
Dead link and no archive appears to be saved. What now?

On Toby Fox's Twitter, he notes that at one point Mettaton would save your essay to the hard drive as an image, but it was buggy, and thus was removed.

References