Distrust (lost early version of "Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc" PlayStation Portable visual novel game; 2007-2009)

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Logo used during an in-house presentation.

Status: Lost

Distrust was the original version of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Although the concept was worked on from approximately October 2007 to October 2009[1], most information on it has only been discovered in the years following Danganronpa’s 2010 release.

What is known of the plot and setting are fairly similar to the released product; 15 students are trapped inside a sealed location and are forced to kill one another. In the case of Distrust, the students were trapped in a warehouse with a time limit of one week. The most significant known difference is that Distrust had a much darker tone and lacked the black comedy elements of the final product. It was also much gorier than what was eventually released, and this is what caused the eventual retool into Danganronpa. Not only did the development team fear that the gore would be too much of a turn-off to potential players, but series writer Kazutaka Kodaka felt that the over-emphasized violence was detracting from the story he wanted to tell.[2]

The violent scenes that were kept in Danganronpa were edited to be less graphic, and the overall art style was changed to incorporate brighter colors and less realistic character designs. Although the blood was changed from red to hot pink in order for Danganronpa to receive a lower age rating, this particular change seems to have been naught; both versions of the game received a D rating from CERO.[3]

The other major difference is the Trust/Distrust system, a gameplay mechanic that was scrapped during the retool. Depending on the player's choices during the story, other characters would come to gain or lose trust in the protagonist. Certain decisions would lead to different characters living or dying, as well as several different endings.

Many of the characters seen in Distrust were early versions of characters seen in the released Danganronpa. Some early names for the characters are as follows:

  • Makoto Naegi was referred to as "Shujinko" (主人公, "protagonist") in game footage and in some presentation materials. In screenshots of his dialogue, he is labeled "ore" (オレ, "me").[1]
  • Leon Kuwata was referred to as "Kazuo Matsuzaki" as well as "Kazuo Kurosaki." Both names appear in early game footage.
  • Hifumi Yamada was known as both "Hifumi Yamada" and "Yuji Ando." Both names appear in early game footage.
  • A character labeled as "Gal" (ギャル) is shown in screenshots from the game's presentation.[1] This is likely an early name for Junko Enoshima, who has the "gal" talent in the Japanese version Danganronpa.
  • In early game footage, Celestia Ludenburg was labeled as "S. Rudenburg," an alternate romanization of her name. She was also referred to as "Yasuhiro Isogai."

Another character known as Takeo Sakurai (桜井武雄) was shown in the presentation showcasing the communication (Free Time events) mechanics of the game.[1] He was likely an early version of another character, or was just a placeholder for demonstration purposes.

Many of the character designs were eventually recycled for the finished product. For example, Kazuo Matsuzaki, seen in the video below, is almost identical to Leon Kuwata from Danganronpa. An art book released alongside Danganronpa 1・2 Reload confirmed that many of the other designs served as the basis for other characters.


Kazuo Matsuzaki's execution.