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Pokemon Gold and Silver leaks reveal beta versions of Pichu, Celebi and Pokemon cut from the game

Back in 2018 the source code for a beta version of Pokemon Gold and Silver from 1997’s Space World (a video game trade show hosted by Nintendo which took place annually in Japan from 1989 to 2001) was leaked online. The datamined content unearthed an abundance of early and unused Pokemon sprites, a vastly different Kanto region, Pokemon trainers who never made it into the game and even discrepancies in the game’s narrative.

More content from Pokemon Gold and Silver‘s source code leaked on 4chan’s /vp/ board and Reddit earlier today, this time from a Korean Source Code version of the Pokemon Gold and Silver 1997 Spaceworld demo and also from a later Pokemon Gold and Silver demo at Space World 1999. Check out some of the more interesting sprites gathered on lost Pokemon historian Dr. Lava’s Twitter and our own.

The first tweet showcases an early version of Pichu, Pikachu’s preevolution, who looks noticeably heavier and more bean-shaped than the final version; Raikou, the Legendary Electric Pokemon, who looks pretty much identical to the final version besides the stance it’s taking; and Celebi, who looks much more like an aberrant mutation of Stewie from Family Guy and a Murloc from World of Warcraft who just smoked some crack than the adorable, little, blue-eyed dryad thing that’s in the game now.

Here you can track the design shift in Sneasel, the sharp-clawed Dark/Ice dual type Pokemon. Proto-Sneasel’s preevolutions started out much more like a conflation of a meerkat, with its whiskered face and long tail and a sloth, on account of the oversized arms and big, curved claws.

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The following cut Pokemon are unique-looking and it’d be interesting to hear the developer’s reasons on why they were cut over some of the ones that made it in the final game. The one on the left looks like a contented, short-legged stork with a bundled up baby bird in is bill; the one in the middle, uh, your guess is as good as mine as to what the hell that’s supposed to be; and the one on the far right is an adorable little koala Pokemon, perhaps a proto-version of Komala from Pokemon Sun & Moon?

From left to right: Proto-Steelix? Some kind of pied piper, a dark-feathered bird playing the flute or a shadowy ninja with a blowgun? And freaking Gmork, the werewolf from The Neverending Story?! Damn, that thing is frightening.

Now this is interesting. Is this more in line with what Pokemon graphic artist Atsuko Nashida (who also designed Pokemon like Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander, Pikachu, Espeon, Umbreon, Lilligant and many others) would’ve made for the final version of Dragonite? Instead of the vastly disparate looking one who made it into the final version of Pokemon Gen 1 designed by Shigeki Morimoto?

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This dragon Pokemon retains the same blue color scheme as Dratini and Dragonair, as well as their more serpentine qualities; the curled up tail looks very similar to what was used in the final sprite for Kingdra, Seadra’s Dragon/Water evolution — which is what this dragon likely would have been if its design were included in the game.


What do you think of the Pokemon sprites from Pokemon Gold & Silver leak? Do any of the unused sprites of familiar Pokemon look better than the final versions? Do you think any of the Pokemon that didn’t make it into the game should have? Let us know in the comments.

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Ninja Gaiden was my rite of passage at an early age. After finally beating that game (and narrowly dodging carpal tunnel) I decided to write about my gaming exploits. These days I enjoy roguelikes and anything Pokemon but I'll always dust off Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country and StarFox 64 from time to time to bask in their glory.

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