Pokémon Gold and Silver was released in 1999, introducing us to the Johto region and a new set of lovable pocket monsters and trainers. But before the games’ official release, a demo version debuted at Space World ‘97, Nintendo’s trade show. Now, over 20 years later, the Space World demo has surfaced online after being uploaded by an anonymous user.
The demo includes the original region map, some unseen story elements (the protagonist’s big brother is named Ken, apparently), removed moves, and other details that didn’t make it into the final cut. But arguably the best content to come out of this leak is the early, trashed designs of some of our favorite Pokémon. While some look like they were reused in later games, others just never quite made it.
The full line-up features some never-before-seen designs, including pre-evolutions and evolutions.
Among the originally planned pre-evolutions were baby Vulpix, Paras, Meowth, Doduo, Grimer, and Mr. Mime.
There was also this vaguely terrifying pre-evolution of Girafarig, which only makes sense considering the original Girafarig design. Apparently, instead of being a cute giraffe Pokémon, Girafarig was supposed to have this vaguely creepy second shadow head.
Both the Cyndaquil and Totodile lines were vastly different from their final versions. The Cyndaquil line appears to have originally been bear-inspired.
While the original Cyndaquil line doesn’t look familiar (and they were called Honōguma, Volbear, and Dynabear), the Totodile line (Kurusu, Aqua, and Aquaria) looked vaguely reminiscent of Sun and Moon’s Popplio line.
Another big revelation is that early Remoraid and early Octillery looked like a gun and a tank respectively, which makes infinitely more sense.
The early legendary beasts looked more like scrapped Eeveelution designs. Their early names were also lackluster: Rai, En, and Sui.
And then there were the awesome Pokémon that never made it into the game at all, including but not limited to: a sleek-looking dark kitty (possibly inspiration for the later-gen Liepard), a chubby tiger-esque creature, a well-dressed panda, and a fluffy wolf.
Perhaps the best of the unused designs, however, is Porygon2’s initial look, which was completely different. Like, completely different. Instead of the sleek, rounded design we know, this Porygon2 looks like a little lion man.
More info about the Pokémon Gold demo leak can be found on The Cutting Room Floor, including the original map of the region, unused moves, and the ROM itself.