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What Could Have Been / Pokémon Red and Blue

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Being the original titles in the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Red and Blue have the most changes by far. These changes date back to the series' earliest days as a concept called Capsule Monsters.


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    Capsule Monsters 
  • Red's original Capsule Monsters design had a Poké Ball on his hat and straight hair. This explains why Red's sprite displays these designs but not his official art.
  • Capsule Monsters concept art shows an unused cat Pokémon, a Godzilla-based Pokémon called "Godzillante", a gorilla Pokémon called "Gorillaimo", a dragon Pokémon that is likely an early version of Charizard, and a weird round Pokémon called "Kabiin". There's also concept art of an early Rhydon with a spiked shell on its back, a Lapras without its ears, a Blastoise without cannons, a more kirin-looking Arcanine with hooves, and a prototypical Gyarados that looks like a giant eyeless worm.
  • An early version of Nidorino more resembled a reptile.
  • The logo to Capsule Monsters depicts a prototypical Rhyhorn without its horn.
  • Capsule Monsters era concept art shows a bald man working at a proto-Pokémart. This man resembles a man from the Game Freak game Quincy.
  • Concept art depicts eggs and newborn Pokémon. Despite this, breeding wouldn't be utilized until Gold and Silver.
  • Pokémon called "Firefly", "Green Dragon", and "Power King" are mentioned but not depicted.
  • Clefairy dates back to Capsule Monsters. It was cutened up for its finalized design.
  • Omuomu is a bird Pokémon that resembles Spearow.
  • Early concept art for Gastly depicted it as made completely of gas, and as much larger than a human trainer. Its eyes also resembled those of a Koffing.
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    Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue 
  • Early promotional art suggests that a female player character was supposed to be available in the games. Her character design was similar to Green's (Blue in Japan) from the Pokémon Adventures manga. She ended up redesigned for FireRed and LeafGreen as the female protagonist "Leaf" and as Green in Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee.
  • Cut characters:
    • Student is either an early Lass or an early Cool Trainer.
    • Shinjuku Jack, modeled after Shinjuku Jacky from Virtua Fighter.
    • Firefighters were ultimately cut and replaced with Psychics.
    • There's a trainer called Silph Chief and he uses what would become Blaine's final design. Blaine's original design was army-inspired, and it can still be found in the original games' manual, as well as the anime.
    • Yujirou is a young boy. His original sprite resembles a Youngster and has a "C" on it (for "Capsule Monsters"). His later redesign lacks a hat and has a badge on it, potentially meaning he was a gym leader.
    • Ichitarou is a prototypical version of Brock. He's a generic boy with a plain shirt and slightly spiky hair.
    • Umezou is a little boy who wears a cap with a badge on it.
    • Red was supposed to have a dad.
  • Professor Oak was originally going to be an opponent in Red and Blue, using the last Pokémon neither the player nor rival chose and overall having a team stronger than the champion.note 
  • The "glitch Pokémon" Missingno actually exists 39 times in the code for the original games. Missingo is actually the remnant of 39 cut Pokémon. An interview with the designer of Ho-oh reveals that there were originally meant to be 190 Pokémon in the original games, all of the cut ones later introduced in Gold and Silver. The same people who discovered this information also discovered that the series was meant to end after Gold and Silver. Most of these Pokémon have been discovered, but three are still unknown:
    • "Omega" resembles a robotic kaiju. Mew overwrote it in the final product.
    • "Gyaoon" (originally called "Gyace") looks a lot like Tyranitar. It originally had Ivysaur's cry. There's also a Pokémon that seems to be its pre-evolution.
    • Raichu originally had an evolution called "Gorochu". It had fangs sticking out of its mouth, a horn on its head, and looked like a Raijin. It was removed for balance reasons. Gorochu was one of the 39 cut Missingno Pokémon.
    • There's a Pokémon that looks exactly like a large male Nidorino. It's not, however, Nidorino.
    • Barunda is literally just a balloon. No clear front sprite exists but it apparently had a face. Jigglypuff replaced it.
    • Buu is a yeti-looking Pokémon that looks like Jynx. It's inspired by Woo from Ultraman.
    • There is an unused deer/Kirin Pokémon.
    • There's an unnamed elephant Pokémon with four tusks.
    • Crocky is an unused crocodile Pokémon. Its original design, as briefly shown in a bio manga about Satoshi Tajiri, had hair, however its sprite is a later design that features spikes instead.
    • There are two squid Pokémon but it's unknown if they're simply similar looking or if they share an evolutionary family.
    • Cactus is, as its name implies, just a simple cactus Pokémon.
    • Jagg is an unused hammerhead shark/swordfish Pokémon.
    • Zubat originally had a pre-evolution. It was a simple-looking bat with just a body. It doesn't even have eyes or a mouth.
    • There are two dark-colored fish Pokémon based on either flying fish or betta fish.
    • Mikon is an unused Vulpix pre-evolution. It has three white-tipped tails. This explains Vulpix's Pokédex entries mentioning Vulpix being born with white tails. Mikon was later going to be reused in Gold and Silver but was scrapped again.
    • There are two cut Pokémon with Japanese-style topknots.
    • There is a three-stage reptile evolutionary line.
    • Psyduck was meant to have a three-stage evolutionary family. Inbetween Psyduck and Goldduck was a Psyduck-looking Pokémon with a darker palette.
    • Konya is a Meowth pre-evolution. It was scrapped, was going to appear in Gold and Silver, but was scrapped again. Between the two designs, the original Konya had a longer, straighter tail. It was also larger than Meowth (because Meowth was originally larger than it ended up being).
    • There is a cut Magneton-looking Pokémon without its magnets. It's either a pre-evolution or middle evolution.
    • Marowak originally had an evolution. The evolution is depicted holding a baby Cubone, similarly to how Kangaskhan has its baby in a pouch.
    • Gyopin is an unused fish Pokémon.
    • Kotora is a tiger Pokémon. Its evolution Raitora has two separate designs: a round looking version that resembles Kotora and a more tiger-looking design. Kotora and Raitora were later reused for Gold and Silver (with Raitora's designs being combined) before ultimately being scrapped.
    • Puchicorn is a unicorn Pokémon.
    • Wartortle's evolution was not originally Blastoise. It was a larger version of Wartortle.
  • Changed moves:
    • Flash was originally named "Squid Ink".
    • Substitute was originally named "Cast-off Cicada Shell".
    • There are three cut Fighting moves called "Punch", "Upper Cut", and "BaiBai Punch".
    • Hydro Pump was originally named "Hydro Jet".
    • "50Man Volt" is a stronger version of Thunderbolt.
    • "Mega Fire" is a cut Fire move.
    • There's a cut move just called "Honoo" (Fire). It made it into the trading-card game and was translated as "Flare".
    • Rock Throw was originally named "Rock Slide".
  • Redesigned Pokémon:
    • Early official art depicts Pikachu and Charizard's earlier designs. Pikachu is much larger and has a white spot on its stomach while Charizard has a larger lower jaw.
    • The original Red and Green website circa 1997 featured unused designs for Dragonair, Weedle, Poliwag, and Poliwrath. The most noticeable changes are that Dragonair has a striped back, Weedle is lacking stingers, Poliwag has a short tail instead of a fin, and Poliwrath is wearing a King's Rock-like crown.
    • Pikachu is based on a squirrel. Originally it was a vertically long daifuku rice confection with ears. As said before, a design with a white stomach existed prior to its finalized design. This design can be seen in early promotional art and (more finalized and smaller) in a 1996 New Years card distributed internally at Game Freak.
    • Scyther was originally a dragon with mantis elements instead of a mantis with dragon elements.
    • Arcanine was more kirin-like early in development and was named "Wing" instead of "Windie".
    • Tentacool was originally named "Ambler". It was more of a jellyfish/squid mix early on.
    • Gyarados was a large, worm-like creature.
    • The prototypical Seel, Pauwau, had a black face and spots on its back.
  • Originally, Mew was not planned to be programmed into the games as an actual Pokémon at all and was only supposed to be referenced in Pokémon Mansion texts. Shigeki Morimoto slipped Mew into the code just two weeks before the games were finished.
  • Red's prototypical design is referred to as "Yuuichi". Yuuichi looks a lot like Red, but lacks his Anime Hair and doesn't wear sleeves. He has two different sprites: one standing straight and the other with a Poké ball, whip, and his eyes shaded by his hat. It's likely that Red's sprite was meant to change as you progress, like how Blue has several sprites.
  • Most of Blue's sprites in RGB depict him with an Off-Model haircut, implying that was an earlier design that the devs didn't remove. Yellow and the remakes fixed it.
  • A lot of the early official artwork depicts Poké Balls as breaking in two when Pokémon are released. This dates back to Capsule Monsters.
  • According to the official website circa 1997, Weedle originally evolved into a Pokémon called "Kasanagi" and then an unnamed Pokémon. Noticeably, the last evolution resembles a cockroach, not a wasp.
  • Clefairy was the original planned mascot of the franchise, however the popularity of Pikachu led to it being the mascot. Predating both, Rhyhorn was seemingly a mascot as it was featured on two different early logos.
  • Pokémon trainers were originally called "dealers".
  • Agatha's original team consisted of the Eeveelutions and a Tauros.
  • Giovanni was originally a Flying-type trainer. He also originally wasn't a gym leader.
  • The various trainer classes had different Pokémon earlier in development. For examples, Youngsters used Bulbasaurs a lot.
  • Coding indicates that badges were at one point supposed to be items in your bag that could be used outside of battle similarly to the Hidden Machine moves, perhaps as a replacement for them.
  • Present in the coding is an unnamed item, referred to as the Surfboard by fans because it acted similarly to the Surf HM (whether it was meant as a usable item or simply a debugging tool is up for debate).
  • In Red and Blue/Green, you were originally going to be able to pull out your Pokédex in the middle of battle (like Ash Ketchum does in the anime) to refresh your memory on a Pokémon's type or see if you've caught it yet. But due to glitches, this was removed and left out of later games. They eventually settled on adding an icon to a wild Pokémon's health bar if you've already caught one of that species in later generations.
  • Trainer battles were originally going to trigger every time you entered line-of-sight instead of just the first time. Future games have this feature but only with certain trainer classes (such as Breeders).
  • HMs were originally normal TMs that could be purchased and sold just like the others. Looking at the index numbers of the HMs also reveal that there's an empty slot between Fly and Surf, suggesting that another was planned.
  • The English localization team considered making up Pokémon more muscular under the impression that Americans might not take well to "cute monsters".
  • Many Pokémon had different names planned for them in the English translation. These changes range from minor (i.e. Pidgey was going to be Pidge), slightly different versions of their original names (i.e. Kakuna was Kokoon, a corruption of its Japanese name Cocoon), completely different names (i.e. Tentacruel was Man O' War), or direct translations of their original Japanese (i.e. Chansey was going to be Lucky).
  • There were plans for Pokémon games to have multiple save files, but due to game space constraints, the developers were forced to choose either having multiple save files or being able to nickname your Pokémon. The developers chose being able to nickname your mons and haven't looked back since.
  • The gym coach was originally named "Danpei", after the coach from Ashita no Joe. He even had dark skin and wore an eyepatch like him, and was likely changed for copyright reasons.
  • There's an overworld sprite for a Virtual Boy in early versions of the game.
  • Blastoise's original name was "Caravaggio".
  • Concept art shows that Erika was originally the fifth gym leader.
  • Silph Co. was going to be the original host of the Pokémon League, in Saffron City. This likely means that it would have been the last city visited in the game, explaining why it's initially walled off in the final game, and why it's the last Fly spot.
  • Individual mons retain their catch rate after you capture them. In the final game, this isn't used for anything (though if you trade them to and from a Gen II game those bits will be repurposed to preserve their hold item), but its inclusion suggests that at some point, the possibility was considered for enemy trainers to be able to steal your mons, with some method you'd use to mitigate this by reducing their catch rate.

    Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green 
  • LeafGreen was originally considered to be retitled to "WaterBlue" for the international releases to match how Red and Blue were the versions released outside of Japan instead of Red and Green. However, it was ultimately decided that the international releases would be titled the same as the Japanese release, as the Leaf in the title was supposed to symbolize peace in a world of friendly competition, and they also did not feel like redesigning the box art.

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