Unused Pokémon in the 1997 Pokémon Gold and Silver demo
The Pokémon Gold and Silver demo is a prototype version of the 1999 video games Pokémon Gold and Silver, that was presented at Nintendo Space World in 1997. The demo features 251 Pokémon species, around 40 of which did not appear in the final games and at least 29 of which are significantly different from their final designs. Because the demo was not officially translated, all of the unused Pokémon species are only known by their Japanese name.
Seven of the game's nine "starter Pokémon" have different designs and names than they do in the final work. The Pokémon Gold and Silver demo also features ten additional "baby Pokémon", such as unevolved versions of Meowth and Vulpix. The 25 other Pokémon that were cut from the demo include both entirely new Pokémon and evolutions of existing generation I Pokémon. Several other Pokémon, like Pichu and Entei, also sported entirely different designs in this old version of the games.
The Japanese-language Pokémon Gold and Silver demo was presented at Nintendo Space World on November 15, 1997, over two years before the final video games were released. The games were stil fairly early in development, but four ROM images for the games was leaked during this presentation: two debug versions of the game and two versions that have been modified to work on normal Game Boy hardware and most emulators. These ROM images were only rumored to exist until an anonymous person going by the name "@__" posted a download link to them on the "Pokémon Reverse Engineering Tools" (PRET) Discord server on May 26, 2018. The demo was quickly shared with members of the website The Cutting Room Floor. The ROMs were analyzed and translated, and The Cutting Room Floor went on to release a spreadsheet containing all the information they had discovered, which includes a list of Pokémon species, Pokémon "moves", items, non-playable characters, maps, and music. The demo has a massively larger world map than the final game, and includes around 100 unused and changed Pokémon designs.
Earlier in May 2018, Pokémon artist Atsuko Nishida revealed that the popular creature Pikachu was originally supposed to have a third evolution, named "Gorochu". Also, Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri happened to reveal four unused designs that would have been included in the original Pokémon games.
While cut content is not uncommon in video games, the volume of cut content in the Gold and Silver demo has been described as "overwhelming". Matthew Byrd, writing for Den of Geek, stated that a lot of design work had gone into the Pokémon that were eventually cut, suggesting that Game Freak might have taken them out during the testing phase due to balance issues.
Each Pokémon game features a set of three "starter" Pokémon, each of which can evolve into a different species twice. Chikorita and its final evolution Meganium appear very similar in the demo as they do in the final game, but the seven other starter Pokémon all look completely different. Chikorita's first evolution in the demo, named "Hanamogura" (literally: "plant mole") is much more flower-like than its final design, resembling a floating lotus blossom. The Fire-type starter is completely different from the Cyndaquil-line in the final game. The fire starter looks very similar to Pikachu, but eventually evolves into a rough-looking Ninetales-like creature.
The Water-type starter in the Pokémon Gold and Silver demo resembles a seal and is named "Kurusu". Its final evolution, "Aquaria", looks like a cross between Samurott (introduced in Pokémon Black and White) and Primarina (introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon). Both Den of Geek and Eurogamer have suggested that Kurusu's design may have been the basis of Primarina's pre-evolution Popplio.
Pictures of Hanamogura and Kurusu had been spread online before the major leak of the demo.
|Japanese name||English name||Type||Note|
|Hanamogura||Bayleef||Grass||Different from its final design|
Pokémon Gold and Silver includes a number of "Baby Pokémon"; pre-evolutions of existing Pokémon from Pokémon Red and Blue. The demo features many more baby Pokémon than the final game did, as it includes unevolved versions of generation I Pokémon Meowth, Vulpix, Ponyta, Tangela, Goldeen, Grimer, Growlithe, Paras, and Doduo. A baby version of Mr. Mime is also present in the demo, and such a Pokémon was eventually released in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl as "Mime Jr.", albeit with a significantly different design. The full list of cut baby Pokémon are:
|Baririina||Mr. Mime||A different baby version of Mr. Mime was eventually released in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (2006).|
|Mikon||Vulpix||Unlike Fire-type Vulpix, Mikon is (seemingly erroneously) a Water-type.|
The 25 removed species (not-including the original seven "starter" and ten "baby" Pokémon listed earlier) are:
|Animon||Normal||Ditto||Ditto (Metamon) was intended to evolve into Animon after using a "Metal Coat" item. Anime News Network described Animon as "a conehead that screams at you."|
|Bomushikaa||Fire/Water||A flaming seal.|
|Gurotesu||Water/Steel||Ikari||An unusual-looking eel-like Pokémon.|
|Ikari||Water||Manboo 1||Ikari is reminiscent of Carvanha and Sharpedo from later generations.|
|Kotora||Electric||A cute electric tiger.|
|Kyonpan||Ghost||Norowara||A mix between a panda and a Jiangshi|
|Manboo 1||Water||This Pokémon had not yet been assigned a proper name; マンボウ is the Japanese word for the ocean sunfish, while the 1 shows its position in the evolutionary line.|
|Norowara||Ghost||Appearing as a creepy bear doll with a nail struck through it, Norowara somehow evolves into Kyonpan at level 1.|
|Rinrin||Dark||A cat-like Pokémon.|
|Taaban||Water||Taaban appears to be a stand-alone version of the creature attached to Slowpoke's tail.|
|Tsubomitto||Grass||Weepinbell||Evolution into Tsubomitto is triggered by the use of a specific item.|
|Tsuinzu||Dark/Normal||Girafarig||A pair of conjoined ghosts.|
|Urufuman||Ice||A small fluffy wolf|
|Waaurufu||Ice||Urufuman||A larger fluffy wolf.|
Other notable design changes
Several Pokémon that were included in the final version of Pokémon Gold and Silver had significantly different designs in the 1997 demo:
- Girafarig was originally designed as a two-headed giraffe, explaining its palindromic name. Its two-headed pre-evolution "Tsuinzu" spurs questions regarding the nature of Girafarig.
- The prototype versions of Pichu and Cleffa featured simplified and rounder designs. Pichu resembles a Mameshiba bean, while Cleffa resembles a star with an antenna.
- The design for Porygon2 in the demo is significantly different from its final design. The creature resembles a small lion with several spheres surrounding its face. Porygon2's original design is very similar to that of Pon de Leon, the mascot of Japanese doughnut joint Mister Donut.
- The final version of Pokémon Gold and Silver features the fish Pokémon Remoraid, with evolves into an octopus named Octillery. in the Gold and Silver demo, the two Pokémon were styled after a gun and tank respectively, strengthening the connection between the two designs. Remoraid was likely based on the triggerfish.
- The three "Legendary Beasts" Entei, Raikou, and Suicune were all changed a lot from their prototype design. Fans took notice of Suicune in particular, because the creature strongly resembles Nina's chimera, a tragic character in the Fullmetal Alchemist series.
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