Rejected Pokémon Designs Show What Could Have Been and It's Terrifying

Pokémon has been thriving franchise for more than 20 years, but it's early development still fascinates fans even after all these years.

There have long been stories regarding early development of the first generation Pokémon games, as well as the reveal of unused Pokémon designs. But a new bit of insight into one of the biggest entertainment franchises in history shows different takes on some Kanto Pokémon.

A special broadcast on the Japanese national broadcasting organization, NHK, had a segment on the early development of Pokémon Red and Green, the first games in the franchise and released only in Japan.

Twitter user okp108 took some photos of the program and showed some concept art for what would become the first Pokémon games. Take a look at the photos below.


— オカピ (@okp108) December 18, 2018

The first image is of your trainer exploring a cave with the early design of Rhydon, who was the first Pokémon created. The next image shows what looks to be a flatter design for the PokéBall. However, the final image reveals the sprites for some Gen 1 Pokémon that were only released in the Red and Green beta.

Most of the Pokémon sprites are recognizable if you've played through Red and Blue before, but fans will get a kick out of some of the more unusual designs.

From the top left, Cubone is fairly similar to his design while Pinsir's sprite is almost identical to what you find in Pokémon Blue. Following Pinsir is Scyther, which is unlike it's final design. This beta version of Scyther is more raptor-like than an insect with smaller wings and dragon-like horns on its head.

Lapras' beta design is close to the final, with the only real difference being the lack of its ears. Following Lapras is Tentacruel, which looks like an oversized Tentacool (so not too different from the final version).

In the next row we have Gastly, which looks similar to what we found in Red and Blue. The same goes with Rhyhorn. Arcanine is close to its final design, but is a bit leaner and has features that make it look more like a Kirin and less like the tiger-dog Pokémon that we've grown to love.

However, the next beta Pokémon is probably the furthest from its final concept. That Dune worm creature is supposed to be Gyarados. That's right, instead of a water dragon serpent monster we could have gotten this massive leech creature.

gyarados_versions pokemon
The beta vs final concept of Gyarados GameFreak/NewsGeek

The rest of the beta Pokémon depict similar designs to Cloyster, Staryu, Blastoise and Tangela.

While these early looks of the first Gen Pokémon and what they could have become are cool, we're pretty glad the final designs turned out the way they did.

What do you think of the beta concepts for this handful of Pokémon? Which of these early designs is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below.