As classic Pokémon games go, you don't get much better than Ruby and Sapphire. These Generation Three games overhauled the series in so many ways that it's never really been the same since. They added better graphics, Pokémon Abilities, double battles, Pokémon Contests, new HMs... The list is endless! Not to mention all of the cool new Pokémon that were added to the Pokédex. Without Ruby and Sapphire, we wouldn't have Blaziken, Milotic, Gardevoir, or Metagross! These games were so beloved that they got their own 3DS remakes a few years ago. If that's not a sign that they're awesome games, we don't know what is.
A lot of people think that Ruby and Sapphire are pretty much perfect the way they are. It's hard to imagine them being any different to their final products. However, it turns out that a lot of features were actually cut from these games during the development process. That's just the way that games design goes—some things make the final cut, and other things don't! However, Ruby and Sapphire seem to have a whole host of scrapped or underused features that would have changed them pretty significantly. Some of these features were used in later games instead; others simply never saw the light of day. However, Game Freak clearly just didn't think they'd be right for Ruby and Sapphire.
Here are just some of the things that were deleted from Ruby and Sapphire. Do you wish they'd still been included, or did they belong on the cutting room floor? That's for you to decide!
When Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were released, we were introduced to no less than 135 new Pokémon. Lots of these new 'Mons have gone on to become fan favourites—just look at Blaziken, Groudon, and Kyogre! 135 may seem like a lot of new Pokémon to wrap your head around, but the original number was going to be even higher. Shellos and Gastrodon were originally going to be part of the Generation Three Pokédex. However, they were axed for unknown reasons and cropped up in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl instead.
Ruby and Sapphire introduced a lot of new gameplay mechanics into the Pokémon franchise.
One of these was battle-altering weather.
Rain, hail, the sun, and sandstorms could all have an impact on your Pokémon's fighting abilities. Certain areas in Hoenn permanently suffered from weather effects, such as the Desert's eternal sandstorm. According to data miners, one unexpected area was also originally going to see some weather effects. An animation exists of snow falling on Littleroot Town! However, this micro-climate didn't make it into the final games.
Another mechanic introduced in Ruby and Sapphire was the Abilities system. Abilities are still featured in the games to this day and can impact your Pokémon both in and out of battle. As the years have gone by and new Pokémon games have been developed, more and more abilities have been created. We may take for granted the fact that every single Pokémon has an Ability, but originally, this wasn't going to be the case! Data exists that suggests "no special Ability" was going to be an option for some Pokémon.
Ralts is one of the first Pokémon you can catch in Ruby and Sapphire. It's a pretty nifty 'Mon to catch, too! While it can be difficult to train to begin with, it eventually evolves into the insanely powerful Gardevoir.
Pretty good for an early-game Pokémon!
Originally, though, it seems that Ralts was going to be a late-game capture. It was initially included near the end of the Hoenn Pokédex, a sure sign that it was going to appear late on in the action. Thank goodness it was brought forward to an earlier Pokédex position!
Whismur was one of the many new Pokémon introduced in Ruby and Sapphire. It had a somewhat unique Ability called Soundproof that made it interesting to use! Soundproof protects the Pokémon from the effects of sound-based moves like Growl, Sing, and Hyper Voice.
Interestingly, though, Soundproof almost didn't make it into the final game.
Its place was taken by Cacophony, an Ability with a different name but basically the same effects. However, at some point in the development process, Cacophony was axed and Soundproof made the cut.
In the Pokémon universe, every Trainer that you encounter has their own "class". They might be a Lass, a Bug-Catcher, or if they're really strong, an Ace Trainer. More and more Trainer classes have been added to the game over the years, with others falling by the wayside. In Ruby and Sapphire, a brand-new Trainer type—the Boarder—was slated to appear. Eleven Boarders were coded into the game in total, with the majority of them using the Pokémon Spheal. However, they were later axed for unknown reasons.
The big bosses of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire are Maxie and Archie, the leaders of Team Magma and Team Aqua. While Teams Aqua and Magma are present in the game pretty much from the outset, the player doesn't battle Maxie or Archie until they reach Mt. Chimney, just before earning their fourth Gym Badge. Originally, though, a battle was programmed to take place earlier than this! We're not sure when exactly, but Maxie and Archie's Pokémon would have been at level 17, not level 24 like they are at Mt. Chimney.
The soundtrack to Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire is pretty iconic for any Generation Three kid. The Slateport City song was an absolute tune, let's be real. It might surprise you to learn, though, that lots of music went unused in these games. Data miners have discovered a fair few hidden songs in these games! Interestingly, lots of the songs are remastered music from previous Pokémon games. The Saffron City song from Red and Blue, Route music from Gold and Silver, and Team Rocket music from Crystal are all there.
So, you know we said that Littleroot Town was the site of unused snow effects in Ruby and Sapphire? Turns out this sleepy settlement originally had another weather option too! Lots of images from the original cut of the games show Littleroot Town being cloaked in a dense fog.
This weather would undoubtedly have had an in-battle effect.
Reduced accuracy, perhaps? It's unclear whether fog was originally going to appear anywhere other than Littleroot Town, but it did make its way into Diamond and Pearl. That's why the Defog HM was created!
Another mechanic that Ruby and Sapphire introduced to Pokémon players was owning a Secret Base. All around the Hoenn region, there were Secret Base spots in walls or trees. If you taught your Pokémon Secret Power, you could claim the base and decorate it with dolls, flowers, and other items. There were lots of Poké Dolls available, including ones depicting the three Hoenn starters. However, three dolls were cut from the final game! We were so close to being able to decorate our bases with Regirock, Registeel, and Regice dolls. How cool would that have looked?
Ever since Pokémon Red and Blue, the bike has been an integral part of all Pokémon games—until Sun and Moon came along, that is! The bike mechanic in Ruby and Sapphire was notable because it gave you two different bikes to choose from. The Mach Bike gave you extra speed. On the Acro Bike, you could do tricks! You could do bunny hops on your back wheel, travel on super-thin rails, or do wheelies. An animation was created to allow you to bunny-hop on the front wheel, too, but this was never actually used in-game.
Ever since they were introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver, Shiny Pokémon have been pretty sought-after. Shiny Legendaries are pretty much the Pokémon jackpot! Lots of games have the code for Shiny Legendaries included in their programming, but sometimes, it's prevented from actually working in-game.
Take Celebi in Ruby and Sapphire, for example.
Shiny Celebi's sprite was included in these games, but there was actually no way to obtain one legitimately. Celebi was distributed via event only, and it was Shiny-locked. Talk about annoying for Shiny hunters!
You know how we mentioned that music from past games was coded into Ruby and Sapphire? Well, one very notable tune that's buried deep down in these games is the battle music for Gold and Silver's Legendary Beasts. Entei, Raikou, and Suicune have become pretty iconic over the years, and trainers still love getting their hands on them! Does this music inclusion prove that these three Pokémon were originally going to appear in Ruby and Sapphire? If so, why were they cut out? We have so many questions!
We've already mentioned the fact that the Secret Base mechanic was first introduced in Ruby and Sapphire. However, a lot of players don't realise that getting your hands on decorations for your base was originally going to be much easier!
Slateport City was initially going to have a decoration shop.
After getting the TM for Secret Power, a guy in the market would have let you buy all sorts of decorations for your base. Of course, this guy didn't make it into the final game, and we all had to resort to buying plants from the flower shop instead.
Like a lot of video games, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire had a working title before the final one was decided. They weren't always going to be the gemstone-themed games we know and love! During the design process, the games were known as Pokémon AGB, with the AGB standing for "Advanced Game Boy". This was the games' nickname before the Game Boy Advance had even been announced, so we're talking early stages here! Obviously, Pokémon AGB eventually made way for Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A lot of Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal players will remember the Time Capsule. It was a Game Boy-to-Game Boy trading mechanism that allowed you to bring Pokémon from Red, Blue, and Yellow into Gold, Silver, and Crystal. Before Poké Transfer or Pokémon Bank were a thing, this was the only way to complete cross-generational trades. Originally, Ruby and Sapphire were going to include a Time Capsule feature too! However, this idea was abandoned during the design process—a decision that infamously annoyed fans.
Double battles were another of the many, many game mechanics that were introduced in Ruby and Sapphire. At the time, it was one of the most revolutionary things that the Pokémon franchise had done.
You could battle with two Pokémon at once!
Of course, there was a caveat to this: double battles could only happen in fights with Trainers. You couldn't battle more than one wild Pokémon at once. This wasn't always going to be the case, though! Wild double battle encounters were slated to appear but got pushed back into Generation Four instead.
Pokémon Contests were another new feature in Ruby and Sapphire. The aim was to use the right flashy Pokémon moves to impress the judges, amongst other small challenges. The moves your Pokémon could use in a Contest were the same as those available to them in battle. Now, in battle, if a Pokémon runs out of PP they can only use the move "Struggle." Originally, Struggle was going to be an option in Contests, too! However, it was axed when the developers realised it didn't make much sense since Contest moves had no PP to run out. Oops.
When they took a look at the code of Ruby and Sapphire, data miners discovered that there was a whole hidden mechanic that never actually saw the light of day. Special Event Ribbons were originally going to be awarded to Pokémon that competed in specific tournaments, such as a National or Regional competition. However, for whatever reason, this plan never came to fruition. The ribbons were actually compatible with the Generation Four games too but again were never used. Only two actually saw the light of day, in the GameCube spin-off Pokémon Colosseum.
Just like Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, the Generation Three Pokémon games made use of an internal clock. This allowed time-based events to occur, including time-specific evolutions and the respawning of Berries. You only got one chance to set your game's time, at the very beginning of the story.
If you messed it up, tough luck!
Originally, things weren't going to be this harsh. There was going to be a feature that allowed you to change the time. However, this mechanic clearly never made the cut.
Okay, Ruby and Sapphire weren't legitimately going to let you Surf on land... But there was originally going to be a glitch that made this possible! In the Japanese versions of the games, if you used the Acro Bike to bunny hop and then used Surf at the exact right moment, the game would let you Surf on land. This didn't really improve gameplay at all. It was just something amusing to do if you got bored with battling and catching them all! This glitch was fixed in the international versions of the game.
Oh, the infamous Victory Road ledge. It may have been small, and it may not have appeared in all versions of Ruby and Sapphire, but it certainly annoyed players when it did. In the English and Japanese versions of the game, accidentally hopping over this ledge meant that you had to take a massive detour across three different floors to get back to where you were. Needless to say, this was incredibly annoying. In later versions of the game, the ledge was edited to have a little gap in it. No more irritating detours!
Alongside the introduction of Pokémon Contests in Ruby and Sapphire came the invention of Pokéblocks. These edible treats for Pokémon helped them to improve their various Contest skills. Some blocks made Pokémon more "Cool"; others made them more "Smart". The effects of the block all depended on which Berries you mixed together to make it. However, it was sometimes tricky to work out which Berries you needed to mix to make which Pokéblock! Originally, the game was going to have a handy "test" to show you which Berries created which Pokéblocks. However, this was annoyingly axed.
The Acro Bike seems to have been the source of quite a few glitches in the Japanese version of Ruby and Sapphire. One particular bike issue could actually cause your game to completely crash! If you pressed B and bunny hopped while in a patch of grass, and then battled a wild Pokémon without ceasing the hopping, the game could freeze after the end of the battle. This would only happen if you'd been hopping for too long, though! Luckily, this glitch was removed in the international versions of the games.
Ruby and Sapphire featured a lot of pretty cool Pokémon designs. Just think of Blaziken, the fight-ready fiery bird, and Latias, one of the game's many cool legendaries. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you fused Latias and Blaziken together? It would be the coolest Pokémon ever, right? Well, turns out you don't have to imagine it! In the early development of Ruby and Sapphire, this creature—we'll call it Latiken—actually existed. Sure, it was eventually split into two awesome Pokémon, but we really like it as one creature too!