Early Concept Art

Posted By at 1:15 PM on Wednesday May 29, 2013

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This article takes you through a brief history of the inspiration for Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green, and provides translations for concept art.

Index

Page # Category Title
Page 01 Intro Life Before Pokémon
Page 02 Design Doc Tajiri’s Pokémon Vision
Page 03 Concept Art Adventuring With Pokémon
Page 04 Concept Art A Battle Between Trainers
Page 05 Concept Art A Day in the Life
Page 06 Concept Art A Battle Between Pokémon
Page 07 Concept Art Trading Pokémon
Page 08 Concept Art At the Pokémon Hotel
Page 09 Concept Art Catching Pokémon
Page 10 Concept Art At the Pokémart
Page 11 Concept Art Status Screen
Page 12 Concept Art Battle Screen
Page 13 Concept Art Opening Sequence
Page 14 Concept Art The Overworld
Page 15 Sprite Art Sprites
Page 16 Outro A Brief Conclusion

Life Before Pokémon

In 1989, two events happened that were important for the development of Pokémon. First off, Nintendo released the Game Boy. 5 days later, future Pokémon developers Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori turned Game Freak, their self-published gaming fanzine, into a video game company.

The Game Boy was originally seen as a system geared towards puzzle and action games. Indeed, the handheld saw many releases that fell into these categories. Then came the release of a Square RPG known in English as The Final Fantasy Legend. When Tajiri saw how successful it was, he realized that even non-action games were possible on a portable system.

What Tajiri really had his eye on, however, was the Game Boy’s linking functionality. This data transfer system inspired the developer to dream up a game in which players would be able to trade with each other. Tajiri was also a fan of Ultra Seven, a TV fantasy series that was a followup to Ultraman, from which he got the idea of capsule monsters. He adopted the name Capsule Monsters for the RPG he set out to plan. The game, he imagined, would have monsters in containers similar to capsule toys travelling back and forth via the Game Link Cable. In the fall of 1990, Tajiri brought the project proposal he’d created to Nintendo, who decided to fund its development.

Tajiri was unable to trademark the name Capsule Monsters due to copyright issues, and the shortened version of the game’s name, Capumon, just didn’t sound very nice. Accordingly, he revised the title to Pocket Monsters, which was then shortened to “Pokémon”.

Capsule Monsters

So, just what did that original project proposal for Pokémon look like? In 2009, a book was released in Japan that provided us with a glimpse. Known as Satoshi Tajiri: The Man who Created Pokémon (ISBN: 4840127751), it covered the development history of a number of Game Freak games, including the early Pokémon titles.

I initially found a cache of images from this book on an alternative gaming news site called Tikisaurus. I searched around the web to find a couple more, and combined it with previously-translated developer interviews to bring you a look at Pokémon’s early history!

Index

Page # Category Title
Page 01 Intro Life Before Pokémon
Page 02 Design Doc Tajiri’s Pokémon Vision
Page 03 Concept Art Adventuring With Pokémon
Page 04 Concept Art A Battle Between Trainers
Page 05 Concept Art A Day in the Life
Page 06 Concept Art A Battle Between Pokémon
Page 07 Concept Art Trading Pokémon
Page 08 Concept Art At the Pokémon Hotel
Page 09 Concept Art Catching Pokémon
Page 10 Concept Art At the Pokémart
Page 11 Concept Art Status Screen
Page 12 Concept Art Battle Screen
Page 13 Concept Art Opening Sequence
Page 14 Concept Art Overworld
Page 15 Sprite Art Sprites
Page 16 Outro A Brief Conclusion
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Cool Custom Drawing

11 Responses

  1. Freezair says:

    “The Celadon Hotel and the player’s house are also the only buildings in the game, aside from Pokémon Centers, to have PCs” Nitpick: That’s not exactly true. There’s also a PC on the top floor of Silph Co.

  2. Gojiguy says:

    Should mention that Gojirante is a portmanteau of “Gojira” (the japanese name for Godzilla) and “Biollante” (one of his enemies from 1989).

  3. samm says:

    On Page 14 on the map, there is squares in 8 towns. I’d say these are where the gyms were located, showing that the gyms stayed pretty much the same apart from the removed city gym was moved to Cinnibar/Seafoam.

  4. maggiedroid says:

    C looks like the entralink in how it isn’t connected to anything else and the fact it was in the dead center of the map, maybe a precursor to the dream world?

  5. TB says:

    The term “illusory monsters” is interesting because it is an actual term in the Pokémon series. In Japan, “illusory Pokémon” is a term, distinct from “legendary Pokémon”, that refers to the Pokémon that you can only get from an event. (Mew, Celebi, etc.) This was just translated as “Legendary” until recently. For the past few years, you’ll notice that Pokémon no longer officially calls these Pokémon “Legendary”. Now they use the term “Mythical”, which is equivalent to the Japanese “illusory Pokémon”.

  6. Pinky says:

    Just wondering if anyone else caught the teenage mutant ninja turtles reference with blastocyst being called ‘caravaggio’

  7. [...] guess I could talk about that Double Fine Kickstarter, but I’d rather note Pokemon concept art.  If only because of my desire to imprison the original creative team, along with most people at [...]

  8. [...] Todas essas curiosidades foram tiradas de um livro em japonês: Satoshi Tajiri: The Man who Created Pokémon. A tradução das páginas desse livro foi feita pelo site Glitter Berri’s Game Translations. [...]

  9. [...] está el libro Satoshi Tajiri: The Man who Created Pokémon (ISBN: 4840127751) y por supuesto la traducción de Glitterberri del documento como base de este artículo. var dd_offset_from_content = 70;var [...]

  10. Tenko says:

    Pinky, I noticed that too. The creators must’ve been TMNT fans.

  11. hey ya’ll

    where be all da updates on games n shizz

    i dont see anythin’ new for almost a dang year yo

    diggity dog dig

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