Addendum to cut content: people find remnants of cut content in game files often enough. So/but is there any even rough estimate you could give of cut content that’s dug up versus cut stuff that could never be found?

It's really hard to say because every project is different. The kind of games that have the least cut content are annual sports titles - they have the most stringent schedules and know exactly what they are committing to with each annual cycle, so they have significantly less wiggle room than a project with a longer schedule and bigger scope (e.g. GTA6). The games with the most cut content are often those that manage to make it out of development hell, the kind of games that are lucky to get released at all.

The other thing is that cut content often comes in various degrees of completion. Some cut content never goes beyond existence in documents, let alone a prototype. Most gets a few iterations on a prototype before the plug gets pulled, often because we can't find the fun in the idea within the time we've allotted to it. Rarer, we have nearly-finished content that gets cut for other reasons - the senior developers pushing for the feature get laid off or leave the company, there's a big leadership shake up that changes the game's direction, the senior developer working on it is needed elsewhere more mission-critical for the game to ship, additional funding for the project falls through, and so on. This kind of content is what the data miners are often able to dig up.

Also, it can vary based on technical constraints - if cut content eats up a whole bunch of disk space and we need to shrink the install size, we have to remove it. If the cut content is shared by a bunch of load-bearing assets, it will probably stay with those assets so that we don't accidentally break the game. Generally, we leave stuff there unless there's a good reason to remove it. It is often tough to know whether something is load-bearing so removing anything is always riskier than leaving it inert.

That's basically it - the amount of cut content that players/data miners can possibly discover depends primarily on the kind of game, the kind of content, and the circumstances of the game's development.

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