Umbreon was one of the two Eeveelutions alongside Espeon to be released in the second generation games. While Espeon was of the Psychic type, Umbreon took the Dark typing, one which relied on dirty tricks and fighting techniques (e.g. Feint Attack, Bite, Beat Up, etc.). These two made a decent duo for expanding on the popular Eevee line. However, there’s clear evidence that Umbreon was planned to have a different typing!
Recently, a playable prototype of Pokémon Gold and Silver surfaced. This was dissected by The Cutting Room Floor team in great detail. Only a limited number of Pokémon were present, including those which were never officially released. However, both Espeon and Umbreon were within this prototype. Like the original three Eeveelutions, both required Stones to evolve in the prototype. Espeon evolved through use of a Heart Stone. The Heart Stone never made it to the final release, and the evolution method was substituted out for the Happiness mechanic in daytime. Espeon was also a different colour, but otherwise it was the same as the one we know and love.
Umbreon, meanwhile… evolved via a Poison Stone. That’s right – Umbreon was initially planned to be the Poison typing! Perhaps it got changed because there was a lack of duality between Poison and Psychic type, thematically, with Espeon. It’s not a case of the Dark type being introduced later in development, because Murkrow is within the prototype files with the Dark typing.
Curiously though, despite the typing change to Dark for the finalised version of Pokémon Gold and Silver, one aspect carried over. Let’s look at its Gold Pokédex entries:
When agitated, this Pokémon protects itself by spraying poisonous sweat from its pores.
And a newer example:
When this Pokémon becomes angry, its pores secrete a poisonous sweat, which it sprays at its opponent’s eyes.
These are clear references to a Poison-type basis. Perhaps this aspect appealed to the designers despite the change in typing, even to the present day. The general design remained pretty similar, so the only major change was its evolution method and typing.
Do you want to see a Poison-type Eeveelution in future games? Or would that make it hard to pet in Amie and Refresh?
Edited by Sheep and Zach.