Pokemon

Pokemon Gold & Silver leak reveals beta designs and missing species

by Paul Cot

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Perhaps one of the most notable leaks in Pokemon history has surfaced. Species that didn't cut make the cut for Pokemon Gold and Silver have been found alongside alternate designs for those that did.

In 2018 Pokemon enthusiasts managed to obtain the 1997 Space World demo of Gold and Silver. Yes, that's the year before Pokemon Red and Blue even hit North America.

For those of you who don't know, Space World was a Nintendo video game trade show hosted in Japan. The 1997 demo of the second mainline Pokemon game showed fans early designs of all the species and how they changed from 1997 until it was released in 2000 (NA and Europe).

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Now though, another demo of Pokemon Gold and Silver has leaked - the 1999 Space World version. This provides fans with even more of an insight as to just how close some designs, and even entirely different species, were to making the cut.

Had a couple of decisions in the Nintendo and Game Freak offices gone another way, then the Gen 2 Pokedex could look very different to what it does today. So, let's break down the exciting leak.

Before we start though, it isn't clear how these files were obtained - be it legally or not. One of the websites hosting the leaked details (and images) has already removed them citing fears Nintendo may come after them.

As such we will not be hosting any images either. It isn't clear who was the first to get their hands on the 1999 Gold Silver Space World demo but now that they have leaked the info won't be going away.

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Alternate designs

A big part of the leak is the Pokedex entries for all 251 Pokemon were found. All of them have been uploaded on the allthepics website (which you can see for yourself by clicking the link).

They show the color sprites for each Pokemon and their description. That still needs to be translated from Japanese, though.

Perhaps the most noteworthy design is Celebi. The sole Gen 2 Mythical Pokemon looks very different to get it ended up being in the final game.

Judging by its appearance and popularity even today, many fans will be happy the design was upgraded.

Elsewhere, Pichu also looked a little different. Its gormless expression has led it to be compared to the popular Pikachu meme of it looking shocked.

Pichu was always part of Gold and Silver's plans but even before the first games were released, various other notable Gen 1 species were supposed to have baby forms as well. Obviously these didn't make it into either Gen 1 or 2.

Meanwhile, we can only assume that Larvitar's design was a placeholder. The same can be said for Teddiursa who looks nothing more than a basic teddy bear. Who knows though, maybe these were intended to be put into the real game before a change of heart.

Interestingly it looks like Teddiursa's initial design was that of the original fire-starter. "Honooguma", a direct Japanese translation, was used in place of Cyndaquil in the 1997 demo. After a change in design, it would then become Teddiursa instead, as you can see below.

Missing Pokemon

Beta designs of Pokemon that did make the cut are one thing, but the ones who never made it all are perhaps even more interesting. We don't have much context about these sprites but these were found in the 1999 demo code.

They can be viewed on Imgur. With the leaked file reportedly having 100,000 assets to sift through and 600 ROMs, it is going to take a while to fully investigate. We're likely to get even more details in the days to come. Then there is the side plot of how Nintendo are going to react to this.