Early Concept Art

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

The Title Page

Translator’s Notes

Let’s start by taking a glimpse at the title page of Capsule Monsters’ project proposal. These unfamiliar monsters may be early designs for existing Pokémon, many of whom went through significant redesigns. (More on that later.)

Another possibility is that they are Pokémon that were not ultimately not included in the final games. Tajiri and Sugimori went into further detail about this aspect in an interview on Nintendo of Japan’s website. (Click the names to see the translated source for each quote.)

Sugimori: “Memory capacity and deciding on a good number of characters became an issue. We actually wanted to have more. We designed around 1.5 times more characters than we actually used.”

Tajiri: We designed more than 200 Pokémon for the first games, then whittled them down to 150. The way we’ve approached things is to develop whatever we want without paying any heed to how much memory is available, cutting down on Pokémon we can’t fit in later on.

Now let’s take a peek at the second page, a preface which outlines what Sugimori and Tajiri were hoping for Pokémon to become.

Design Premise

Caption: Pocket Monsters was named Capsule Monsters in the original planning documents. These include a prediction written by Tajiri in story-form regarding how the game would be received and played after its release.

A (Hypothetical) Story Set in the Not-So-Distant Future…

It’s been a month since the release of Capsule Monsters, a monster game that incorporates RPG elements into a dungeon-covered overworld. You know those vending machines that sit in front of candy stores and toy shops selling capsule toys called “gashapon”, right? I guess I could describe the game as being similar to the excitement you get from collecting those capsules.

In Capsule Monsters, 200 types of virtual monsters live in equally virtual underground dungeons on the Game Boy. The game’s hero can befriend these monsters and win them over to his side by increasing his Charisma, a game parameter not yet widely known among Japanese audiences. Charisma is featured in the Wizardry series, but it seems like Japanese games have yet to make use of it. Naturally, Capsule Monsters also allows you to capture creatures alive rather than defeating them in battle, as you’ve done in RPGs up till now.

The roster of over 200 types of monsters includes creatures that you won’t necessarily encounter, creatures who will choose not to ally with you, and creatures who you’ll miss the chance to encounter entirely, and thus never be able to catch. My friends and I call these “illusory monsters”.

It just so happens that I have three Green Dragons, which only appear very rarely in the corner of an underground dungeon, four levels down. In order to catch just one of these illusory monsters, players of a certain level have to spend an average of 2 hours wandering around a particular area. My friend, Takuji, doesn’t have any Green Dragons, but he is allied with 2 Fireflies instead.

In class, discussion about Capsule Monsters really heats up after the bell rings. Who has which illusory characters? How many? We’re not just bragging, exactly. Once my friends and I come to an agreement, we connect our Game Boys via Link Cable and then we can use it to trade monsters. That’s why we get excited, because we’re negotiating which monsters to trade for what, and how many.

Takuji and I finally finished negotiating. He’d agreed to trade one of his Fireflies for two of my Green Dragons. But I still felt like our exchange was a little unbalanced. I asked if he wouldn’t mind adding 5 Powerkings, monsters with the strength you might expect to see in soldiers, and we finally struck a bargain. Powerkings have a high encounter rate, and you’ll quickly run into them if you wander around dungeons. They’re strong, though, and the theory is that, if you have a lot of them, you can put them to work as soldiers when you run into other monsters. Takuji and I hooked up the Link Cable and traded monsters. The Game Boy plays sound effects as the monster data is being transferred, so we could hear the monsters’ cries.

Word of mouth has turned Capsule Monsters into a hit. While I was riding the train to school, I discovered that students from other schools played too. I pulled my Link Cable out of my school bag as I addressed them. “Excuse me,” I said. “I have a Firefly and a Green Dragon. What do you guys have? How about a trade?”

Translator’s Notes

Regarding the type of gameplay that was intended for Capsule Monsters, Sugimori had this to say:

Sugimori: At first, the game was more RPG-like. It was only in the middle of development that the goal of the game became completing your Pokédex.

You also may have noticed that the design proposal makes no mention of two separate versions. This is because the idea for the split originated later in development, on the recommendation of Miyamoto himself.

Tajiri: In the beginning, the original Pokémon didn’t have different variations such as Red and Blue. I took the advice of Miyamoto and split it into two, something that was a first for us.

As for Miyamoto’s reasons, well…

Miyamoto: I didn’t suggest splitting the games because it would allow us to sell more copies of the same thing. I just thought it would be more fun for the players if, say, there were 3 siblings and they all owned something unique. That way, they’d be able to communicate. I didn’t want to release separate versions of the games just to increase the marketability.


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

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

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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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