Pokémon fans got another glimpse at some early concepts of Red and Blue, revealing some of developer Game Freak’s original intentions for the first entry in the monster-collecting franchise.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happen. In fact, it was just last year that some fans went through the game’s data and uncovered some fantastic information. Now, however, some undisclosed names leaked more information to Helix Chamber, revealing some really cool information about the first entry in the Pokémon series. So, without further ado, here are the highlights of the latest finds.
For More Pokémon Secrets: Our Breakdown Of The Pokémon Gold & Silver Demo Leaks
When going through a newly discovered "Cry List", it’s very clear to see that the original developers of Pokémon were heavily inspired by Kaiju, and especially the Ultraman franchise, when the title was still called Capsule Monsters. We still managed to get a few of those ideas in the final product - consider Pokémon like Kangaskhan, Nidoking, and Rhydon, for example - but a few more didn't make the cut, such as the sprite nicknamed "Ohmega" by Helix Chamber.
Who Exactly MissingNo. Was Supposed To Be
MissingNo. is a bit of a legend in the world of Pokémon. It mostly appeared as a glitched cluster of pixels that could be encountered under very specific circumstances, and is best known for players using it to duplicate items like Master Balls. However, MissingNo. was actually a placeholder for a number of Pokémon cut from the game.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most interesting Pokémon who were intended for the spot occupied by MissingNo. The names provided were made up by Helix Chamber, as there is little official to go on.
This is heavily inspired by Mechagodzilla, and apparently, he wasn’t in the final game because Mew overwrote his spot. According to Helix Chamber, we can still find the Pokémon in the game’s cry list.
It looks like the artists over at Game Freak started running out of ideas quickly, as the idea of a balloon Pokémon was bounced around. However, it's been hypothesized that this could be another potential design for Jigglypuff (after all, Jigglypuff is a 'Balloon Pokémon') as she was listed with an (a) and (b) design on an internal poll at the studio, but some fans have speculated online if this is perhaps an early Driftloon. We think it’s probably closer to the former.
So, this one is pretty interesting based on its design alone. It could be something akin to a male Jynx - after all, we know from the two variants of Nidoran that Game Freak was already exploring sexual dimorphism in the first generation, before making it an actual mechanic in the second generation.
Other notable potential Pokémon include middle-evolution Psyduck; “Nidoreign,” who might have been part of the Nidoran line; a deer-like Pokémon that might have become Stantler later; an offshoot of Magneton; and more. It’s pretty crazy to see just how ambitious this game was before it had to be cut down due to hardware limitations. It’s even more interesting to see which designs never made it to a game at all.
Trainers And Story Differences
Giovanni Had A Flying-Type Gym
In the earlier iterations of the game, Giovanni, leader of Team Rocket and of Viridian City gym, trained Flying-type Pokémon rather than Ground-type Pokémon. This finally makes the Earth badge make sense - it clearly looks more like a feather than anything ground related.
Agatha And Oak's Rivalry Was More Clear
The connection between Agatha and Professor Oak was made more clear in the original version of Agatha's team. She wasn't exclusively a Ghost-and-Poison-type trainer - she originally had one of each of the Eeveelutions (Vaporean, Joltean, and Flareon), and a Tauros. The three Eevee evolutions reinforce the theory that she shares an interest in Pokémon evolutions with Oak. In fact, the games have suggested the two had a friendly rivalry back in the day - a rivalry that grew bitter over time.
The Player Character, often referred to as Red, had a few different sprites in the demo version of the game. It's possible the player's sprite was meant to "evolve" over time, much as the Rival's sprite changes in the final battle as the Champion.
Weirdly enough, his concept art featured a whip, which really changes the relationship he’d have with his Pokémon. Thankfully, that was dropped.
Obviously, trainers are an important part of the Pokémon experience, and Game Freak had plans for Red and Blue to have even more than what we got. These designs include, but are not limited to a firefighter, student, and someone who could be Gary’s little brother. Still, even with those cuts, there were some pretty cool designs that were either left out or changed completely.
This guy looks like he’s more at home in Virtua Fighter than Pokémon, but here he is. Apparently, he was supposed to be a Robot trainer and he is even found in Gold and Silver’s unused trainers list. Always a bridesmaid, it seems.
We all know him as the Fire-type gym leader of Cinnabar Island, but his design seemed a little more military-inspired than what we got. Maybe they dropped the idea because of Lt. Surge, or maybe they just liked the idea of a weird old bald guy, but whatever the reason, this concept was a little different than what we got.
There were a bunch of upgrades to traditional moves that never made it to the final versions of Red and Blue.
Thunderbolt had another tiered version called “50 Man Volt” which references the Japanese version name for the move “10 Man Volt.” Star Freeze was another move that didn't make the cut, being replaced by Rock Slide. Ieki was also planned to be used in this entry, though it would be shelved until Gastro Acid was introduced in Gen IV.
Aside from that, some more traditional moves had different names. For instance, “Hydro Pump” was dubbed “Hydro Jet,” “Razor Wind” looks like it was originally called “Stun Cut,” and “Sky Uppercut” was originally named just plain old “Uppercut.”
We also got some interesting concept art for what was the original title screen. The first “Capsule Monsters” artwork is something that’s been seen in the past, but never in great detail. Now, we can see that the “C” in the artwork is supposed to resemble some kind of monster, while the o in “Monsters” is what we now know as a Pokéball.
The second image Helix Chamber uncovered is the good old fashioned “Pocket Monsters” artwork, which shows off Rhydon (the first Pokémon ever drawn) without its signature drill horn.
There was a lot to go through here, but it's really fascinating to see what was left on the cutting room floor when Pokémon Red and Blue were in development. We can only hope we get another information drop like this again in a few more months.