Danganronpa began life as a game called Distrust. While the basic concept was the same, Distrust was said to be even darker in tone than the final product, including more realistic character designs and gorier death scenes. This version was also set to feature branching paths that would determine which characters would live or die. The team working on the game retooled the concept after deciding it was too gruesome and would appeal to too limited an audience.
At a different point in development, a secret ending was planned that would allow all the students to escape before the first killing took place. Implied to only be available after seeing the true ending, it would have required players to have seen every character's Free Time events over the course of their previous playthroughs. Monokuma would have then offered the students a chance to leave in exchange for them giving up their Super High-school Level titles. Although this ending was never implemented, a similar setup was the basis for a novella included in the second game's PS Vita release.