Early Concept Art

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

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Sprites

The following pictures were gathered from Gamefreak’s official website in Dec. 1997. The authors of our magazine jumped to conclusions, exclaiming “Could these be some of the new creatures appearing in Pokémon 2 [Pokémon Gold & Silver]?!” (Sorry about that!)

From left to right, we see Kokaana, Kasanagii, and a Pokémon whose name is unknown.

From left to right, we see Poliwag, Nyoroppi, and Nyousuka.

An evolution of Dragonair?!

The Pokémon that appear in the pictures are actually Weedle, Poliwag, and Dragonair. It seems that these characters once looked very different from how they appear in the final game. So, why was their design changed…? According to Atsuko Nishida, a designer:

“We wanted to give Weedle a cool final evolution, so we went with Beedrill as it appears today. Poliwag’s final evolution, Poliwrath, as it appears in Picture 2, doesn’t look very tough. Players wouldn’t have been happy if they’d gone to all the trouble of evolving Poliwag only for it to look weak.

Dragonair didn’t undergo many changes, but its final design is cool because it’s more refined and stylish. It must have been the designers’ deep affection towards Pokémon, as well their discerning nature when it came to the details of each creature, that allowed them to create such charming and awesome characters!

Translator’s Notes

Weedle, Kakuna, Beedrill

As you can see from these images, the Weedle evolutionary line went through quite a few changes in both name and appearance. Though Weedle is introduced in this picture as Kokaana, its final Japanese name is Biidoru. Kakuna is introduced as Kasanagii, but its final Japanese name is Kokuun. (蛹 “sanagi” means cocoon in English.)

Poliwag, Poliwhirl, Poliwrath

Likewise, Poliwhirl is introduced as Nyoroppi, but its final Japanese name is Nyorozo. Poliwrath is introduced as Nyosuka, even though its final Japanese name is Nyorobon. The appearance of Poliwag’s evolutionary line did not change as much as Weedle’s. However, Poliwrath’s final design does not feature a crown. Interestingly enough, using the King’s Rock item on Poliwhirl will cause it to evolve into Polytoed, one of Poliwag’s two final forms. King’s Rock looks like this:

Dratini, Dragonair, Dragonite

In this picture, Dragonair lacks the blue baubles on its tail. Instead, it has two antenna-like streamers attached to its head, and a scaly ridge down its back. While we lack early images for Dratini and Dragonite, we have evidence to presume that this ridge was a feature of Dratini’s evolutionary line. Namely, the fact that it is preserved in the sprite art. This is what Dragonite’s front sprite looks like in Pokémon Green the Japanese version of Red:

Its front sprite was redesigned to omit the crest in Japanese Blue as well as English Red & Blue, which are based on it:

However, the developers neglected to change its back sprite. This sprite is used in Japanese Red, Green, and Blue, as well as English Red & Blue:

In Gold & Silver, this oversight was amended and the ridge was removed entirely:

I suppose they wanted to make sure things were consistent. These two aren’t the only ones whose designs have gone through some changes. The sprites of Pokémon such as Vaporeon, Charmeleon, and Arbok have also been altered over time.

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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Comments

Cool Custom Drawing

14 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

  12. […] 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. Etiquetas: Game Freak, Nintendo, PKMN […]

  13. […] there was supposed to be a lot more of the little critters. According to Ken Sugimori, he createdwell over 200 Pokémon for the game, but limited storage space meant only 151 could be stuffed in. Most of the left over ‘mons would […]

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