Original Pokémon games initially planned with 65,535 versions, buying Pokémon, no multiplayer battles

New translations of Pokémon developer interviews have revealed some interesting ideas that never made it past the drawing board.

Would you have wanted over 60,000 versions of a Pokémon title, or to only be able to watch Pokémon battles rather than fight your friends? At various stages of planning and development, this was how Pokémon Red and Green (Pokémon Red and Blue in the West) was looking! Recently published translations of old developer interviews, such as one with Tajiri and another with Masuda, have been made available to the general public on Lava Cut Content (run by Dr. Lava).

A summary video by Did You Know Gaming? below gives highlights. This included some depth into the idea that initially, each copy of the game would have a slightly different experience such as how locations looked, and what species of Pokémon appeared to the player, all tied to the Trainer ID number.

This inevitably was whittled down to 2 versions, due to various issues in practicality. Other changes include a lowered focus on cash, as noted by Dr. Lava:

But what Tajiri says in this interview is particularly interesting — that every Pokemon was originally planned to have a pre-determined monetary value assigned by Game Freak, and if you traded two Pokemon, one player would have to whip out their in-game wallet to pay the difference in value. That would also signal to players which Pokemon are better than others based on their price — essentially ranking Pokemon with an official tier list. It’s also interesting this idea wasn’t scrapped voluntarily, but because Game Freak’s amateur programmers lacked the ability to code the feature into the game. Just think how that could’ve evolved into players hunting for wild Pokemon, then selling them to the shop for cash — kinda like a bounty system. With lots of Pokemon to buy and sell, cash could’ve been a lot more valuable in the Pokemon world. Pretty fun to think about.

Multiplayer battles were originally not even planned. Game Freak staff hadn’t been keen on the idea and wanted to scrap it due to a lack of time, but Nintendo higher-ups encouraged them to make it happen.

Morimoto: “President Tajiri had wanted us to implement battling for a while, but I personally didn’t find the idea very interesting, and just thought it would be a pain to program. (laughs) It looked like we’d run out of time and would have to scrap the battling feature, but Nintendo made it clear they wanted battles in the game, so we had to make it happen. So I just thought, ‘well no choice then, it has to be done,’ and the early battles were something you just watched. You would just see there was a battle and who won and who lost. We showed that to Nintendo and the surveys we got back called it ‘boring.’ (laughs) I guess they were right, but we were cutting it close to the deadline trying to add in battles that the player commands. Ultimately, it’s what everyone wanted, so we got it to work with the link cable and made it a reality.”

Other aspects such as text serving the role of a HP bar, and the idea of losing your Pokémon as a punishment for losing a battle, are revealed in detail from the interviews – they are worth checking out!

It wasn’t far away from “Gotta buy ’em all!”

How much money would you spend in the games to buy your favourite Pokémon? Are there any scrapped ideas you wish had been realised in the first generation Pokémon games?

Edited by Sheep.