Arceus, as veteran pocket monster fans know, is the Pokémon god who is believed to have created the entire in-game universe. The mythical beast looks the part, too, with a sleek and menacing design that elevates it above mere mortals. But Arceus didn’t always look this way, according to details unearthed from the recent Nintendo “Gigaleak.”
The Gigaleak, as fans are calling it, is a security breach that has given fans access to development repositories of older games, including 2006’s Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Similarly to other Pokémon leaks from 2020, the Gigaleak files house early versions of known and beloved monsters. One of these happens to be Arceus, who in his beta form, looks way different.
The gap between Game Freak’s first crack at Arceus and the final product are remarkable. “Beta Arceus,” as fans have dubbed the design, looks like a ghost or perhaps a cryptid, except imagined by a child. I mean this in the best way possible, though — there’s something endearing and humbling about beta Arceus. Maybe it’s the softer, rounder lines.
Speedrunner Kaitlyn Molinas liked beta Arceus so much that she actually found a way to make the Pokémon playable on her Twitch stream, resulting in the amazing screenshot at the top of this post. The scene depicts beta Arceus entering a contest, for which it dresses up in a top hat. Molinas tells Polygon that while Arceus couldn’t enter the full contest — this is a debug version of the game, where things can be tested — the audience was indeed fond of our godly friend.
This helped catapult Arceus into meme territory, as folks riffed off of Molina’s antics, if not the general idea of sprucing Arceus up.
Bringing your abomination of a God to the super contest (◡‿◡✿) pic.twitter.com/46eKBc8m1B— Phoebe (@TwiIi_Princess) July 26, 2020
absolutely obsessed with this screenshot of beta arceus competing in a contest pic.twitter.com/d5kfBvMSjM— (@primarinart) July 26, 2020
Completely obsessed with beta Arceus. It‘s just a blob i love it pic.twitter.com/nNgGfpCXfg— mintyy (@RandomMinty) July 26, 2020
I can't stop thinking about Beta Arceus pic.twitter.com/zJKJyF7CSr— Shenpai is P4 posting again help her (@AeroViro) July 27, 2020
Since then, beta Arceus has only blown up more within the Pokémon fandom — resulting in an avalanche of fan art. Some of it depicts beta Arceus in a nearly supernatural light, while others defang the design completely, making it no more dangerous than a teddy bear. But regardless of how people look at the unused sprite, one thing seems certain: Fans love beta Arceus.
/////big eyestrain/////— icebox _b.l.m_ (@fridgetwat) July 27, 2020
.͓̻̘͘͞.̧̻̺.̰͍i̸̼̰̫ ̶̯͕͔ẉ̶͙̮a̩̬̙͡s̴̛̗̮̣͙ͅn̰̙̘'͏̵̺̜͉̀t̤̳̳̟̹̠̥̰͓ ̭̞̤͈̳͎͟͡ͅf̗̘̩͞i̙̥̬̳͡n͟͏̵̙̻̟̦i͖̬̥͚͈̺̫͟͞s҉̵͔̮͎͈͘h̨̧̟͓̣̭͉e̷͎͍̖̭͖̲̼̫͢d̶̯.̳̝̻͜.̛̥̭͓͎.̵̛̻.̧̥̠̖̖̫̙̬͙͎ pic.twitter.com/vRP0JfuxT2
"It is described in mythology as the Pokemon that shaped the universe with its 1,000 arms."— (@monica_bares) July 26, 2020
BETA ARCEUS! pic.twitter.com/hfRo6PNobh
I modeled Beta Arceus from the recent DPPt leak.— Zacharia （ザック） (@HeatPhoenix) July 26, 2020
this thing's cursed asf pic.twitter.com/j1JaySQ49S
Y'know, in the right circumstances, I think Beta Arceus could be genuinely terrifying... pic.twitter.com/FSS7r32d46— Plaguecore Galahad (@AtelierNear) July 26, 2020
i think if the beta arceus leak was a thing maybe 7 years ago i would've probably transcended into another plane of existence pic.twitter.com/niNMF0WT6T— Sylvaur (@Sylvaur) July 26, 2020
the new pokemon leaks literally made me cry beta arceus is so funnily pathetic pic.twitter.com/p9teevDjHm— sir gawains wretch (@validtine) July 26, 2020
beta arceus is a gift and i love them pic.twitter.com/DIia9tmHHS— hue (@BootlegCreation) July 26, 2020
Beta Giratina and Beta Arceus by me pic.twitter.com/V5v73rcskf— Startboii (@Startboii1) July 26, 2020
Beta Arceus deserves all the honor and glory the final version gets!! pic.twitter.com/b5aW9HIClz— Lauren (@_RockBomber) July 26, 2020
*looks at beta arceus* i like them pic.twitter.com/IpNmNNyL51— ️⚧️ MAC @ TEAM SUGAR ️ (@candycanidae) July 26, 2020