The article below is based on non-localized content only available in Japanese.
As such, all information in this article is based on fan-contributed translations.
This article is about content that never made it out of development, and as such, is non-canonical.
DISTRUST , was the original game proposal for an adventure game that Kazutaka Kodaka presented during an in-house presentation at Spike, however due to how gruesome the game was, the concept was reworked into what we know of today as Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.
Before DISTRUST was conceptualized, there was a two year period for Spike between 2007 - 2009 where most of the company's releases were either sequels or adaptations of existing franchises with only three original titles being released.
In February of 2009, Kazutaka Kodaka sent an email to Yoshinori Terasawa with a plan for a new original game proposal. After several emails back and forth between each other, a basic outline of what they wanted the project to be.
At this time, Kodaka had come up with the name "DISTRUST" with two possible subtitles being "15 teenagers killing time" (15少年少女殺戮記) or "the 7-day survival war of ours." (ボクらの7日間生存戦争). Terasawa became interested in the concept, especially due to the how similar the game's system was to "Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade" (人狼), however he was still skeptical about the concept, especially about the psychological warfare and also because of how poorly adventure games sold on the PlayStation Portable.
Later on, in June of that same year, the proposal was brushed up and completed, with the "Psychopop Highschool Detective Mystery" (サイコポップ 学園推理ミステリー) theme being decided, which ended up becoming the main concept of the Danganronpa franchise. At this point, Kodaka asked Rui Komatsuzaki to become a character designer for the game to design the characters and to make them interesting. The "execution" idea had also been decided on as well as a "Nico Douga mode" (ニコ動モード) where words would flow which was based on the popular Japanese video streaming website Niconico which was created for a class trial prototype. Terasawa however still felt doubt about the psychological warfare part of Kodaka's proposal but decided to take the proposal for it's first in-house presentation.
Later the same month, the presentation was held at Spike. According to Kodaka, they said the character designs looked good and completed, however the company had concerns. For one thing, the game wouldn't sell well on the PSP as it was an adventure game and that the game should be targeting middle and high school students in order for it to sell well, as that was the PSP's target audience. They were also told that the development cost should be lowered in order to make the game more unique. In response to the company's concerns, Kodaka planned to re-plan the project which became the turning point where the game started to take form as Danganronpa
There is only one video circling around the web featuring early "in-game" footage for Danganronpa from after Kodaka re-planned the project from Distrust, but from before the final Danganronpa was fully formed which came on a DVD that was packaged with the PSP Limited Edition of the game.