Let's Talk About: Pokemon Gen I and II Beta's (Part 1)

Roughly a year ago, we were treated to a special leak of the Space World 1997 demo version of Pokemon Gold and Silver. Inside were a number of unseen Pokemon fans had no idea existed, as well as a bunch of Pokemon that were reworked into later generations. Much less known, however, was another leak earlier this year of an early build of Pokemon Red and Green versions, giving us yet another insight of early Gen I Pokemon. Join us as we take a look into which Pokemon have been scrapped, reworked, and which ones could see the light of day in the newly revealed Sword and Shield!

To make things simpler, we'll start off with Gen I before we head into Gen II, and start off with Pokemon whose beta designs were changed in the final. An early sprite sheet released on Japanese TV last year, and another one released in a Japanese manga, gives us a look at some very early Gen I Pokemon sprites.

Whilst most of the Pokemon listed are recognizable, a few aren't so much. In the first image, the second Pokemon is a scrapped design, named Gyaoon (who we'll touch on later), the strange plant is Ivysaur, the bird which looks like an early Farfetch'd is actually Spearow, and down the bottom we have an early Clefairy. In the second image we have an early concept of Scyther and Lapras (the former who received a bigger overhaul than the latter), the strange looking worm is Gyarados, and the Pokemon next to Blastoise is another unused Pokemon, Omega, who we'll also discuss later. There's also another manga page that we didn't include, which shows off an early design for Seal. The Pokemon we didn't list should be fairly easy to identify.

As we already mentioned, there was a Pokemon Red and Green beta leak, which also shows us a lot more unused Pokemon. However, the issue here is it only seemingly lists backsprites, and a lot of the information for some Pokemon is missing. The theories we mention are taken from the Helix Chamber, as well as our own suggestions.

Omega, Gyoon and baby Gyaoon (backsprite)

First off, we'll talk about Omega. This design was first revealed late last year, and from what we know, it ended up being replaced by Mew. The idea behind Omega seems to be a mechanical Godzilla-like monster, which would have been an interesting concept, and was briefly touched upon with Mewtwo in the first Pokemon movie. The other Pokemon we already mentioned is Gyaoon, which also had a pre-evolution in the Red and Green beta, was also cut from the game completely. From what we've read, some seem to think Gyaoon inspired Pokemon like Feraligatr and Tyranitar, but based on a blog post we found, it seems likely it did in fact later become Tyranitar. The blog post linked, as well as the blog in general, goes into a lot more detail on beta research of all Pokemon games than what we are listing here, so if this is your jam their blog is well worth a read.

Barunda and Buu are up next. At first glance, they may seem like Pokemon that got cut entirely, but the Helix Chamber suggests that may not be the case. Firstly, Barunda, which is essentially a balloon, may have inspired Jigglypuff - after all, Jigglypuff is the balloon Pokemon - it may have also gone on to inspire the Gen IV Pokemon, Drifloon, but based on the simple design, we think Jigglypuff is a likely bet. Then we have Buu, who is assumed to have been a male-counter part to the controversial Pokemon, Jynx.

Some more Pokemon that were leaked in this beta, as well as already shown off in a Japanese manga, are Deer, Crocky, Cactus, Jagg, and an unnamed elephant Pokemon. All these Pokemon never saw the light of day, but they too may have possibly been reworked into future Pokemon. Deer could have been reworked into Sawsbuck, but most likely became Stanlter which debuted in the next generation, similar to the unnamed elephant possibly becoming Donphan. As for the other three, they were likely scrapped completely, though Jagg may have turned into Sharpeedo, and whilst it seems obvious Cactus either became Cacnea, Cacturn or Maractus, we can see Cactus becoming a Pokey from Super Mario in some kind of alternate universe.

The next batch of Pokemon are all evolutionary lines, which don't have an names or types (save one), and were all cut. The first group seem to have the biggest question mark over their heads, as no one can seem to figure out exactly what they are. The fact we only have the backsprites of these Pokemon, and it only shows the top half, makes this virtually impossible. At first glance, we thought they belonged to either the Magnemite or Mr. Mime families, but both Mr. Mime and Magnemite are present in this Pokedex, so that idea seems unlikely. The crew over at the Helix Chamber suggested ninja crickets, an early Weedle line, and then decided to settle on fighting/sumo frogs. Though what these Pokemon actually are remains a mystery. 

Our next line are also a mystery, though their design is easier to identify. This group is theorized to be based off some kind of lizard or dragons, and the Helix Chamber seems to settle on a Chinese water-dragon theme. Again, currently this one remains a mystery.

The third seems to be some type of tiger evolutionary family, and that's all we'll mention for now, but be sure to keep your eyes out for the second part of this post, where this Pokemon will make a reappearance.

The final family also has some mystery around them, but the general consensus seems to be that they are based off betta, or flying fish. These two Pokemon also apparently have moveset data linked to them, which is likely how their fish design was determined. However, their movesets don't seem to have been posted yet.

We also have these two squid-like Pokemon. There's nothing in the data to show these two are related, but looking at their designs it seems likely. The Helix Chamber suggests these later became the Omanyte line, but they could have been reworked into Octillery, or the Inkay line.

And now we can talk evolutions, or lack thereof. As many may have already heard, Raichu was going to have another evolution, named Gorochu, which was cut due to balancing reasons. Thanks to the demo leak, we have our first official look at Goruchu, though it's only the backsprite. A front sprite and Pokedex entry does exist, but since it's the only front sprite of all the scrapped Pokemon on this list we managed to find, and as we were unable to clarify the validity, we believe it to be fan-made. Though it is nice to see what Gorochu may have actually looked like. Interestingly, this design only seems to have one horn, unlike the two we were originally told about.

Now this is where it gets slightly confusing. Originally, Blastoise and Squirtle were two separate evolutionary lines. Wartortle evolved from Squirtle, and also had fighting-type attacks on their move sets, and Blastoise evolved from a scrapped turtle Pokemon. The backsprite shown above which looks like Wartortle, is actually the backsprite of Wartortles evolution, and the smaller blob is the pre-evolution for Blastoise. Eventually, the two lines were merged, and gave us the Squirtle family we have today.
If you thought that was confusing, there's yet another family which got altered. It's been a common fan-theory that there was a family link between Kangashkan, Cubone and Marowak, and it seems this data mine somewhat confirms there is at least some semblance to that theory. The Pokemon - which evolves from Marowak - seems to either be holding a baby Cubone, or have a pouch that holds one (very similar to another Pokemon we know of). The theory on the Helix Chamber suggests that either Marowak evolves into a loving mother, or adopted an orphaned Cubone. Whilst we still have no definite answer, the evolution does resemble Kangashkan, but this just seems to bring up more questions about this dysfunctional family theory, especially since Kangashkan is in the demo.

All the Pokemon seen above are the final bunch of cut evolutions. It seems Zubat, Vulpix, Meowth, Ponyta and Goldeen were all set to have pre-evolutions. The duck may look like an early version of Psyduck, but it's actually a middle evolution between Psyduck and Golduck, and seems to have been cut for redundancy, just like most of these Pokemon. Much like our previously mentioned tiger friend, keep your eyes out for some of these guys appearing in Part 2!

And that just about wraps up all the beta Pokemon from Gen I that we found to be insetting. Of course, there is a lot more stuff that was found from these dumps that focus on storylines, trainers, and even towns, if you want to check those out, head on over to the sources below. Tune in next time when we tackle the infamous Space World 1997 demo and take a look at all the beta Pokemon from Gen II's Gold and Silver.



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