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Pokémon Gold and Silver beta

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The original logo of Pocket Monsters 2

The development cycle of Pokémon Gold and Silver, released in 1999 in Japan and 2000 elsewhere, is probably the most discussed and researched of all releases in the core series games during the history of the franchise. A relatively broad amount of official material in combination with later investigations reveal a lot of details about incomplete and unreleased elements. Several aspects from the development stages are proof of the over two-year period in which Game Freak undertook with the sequels to the Generation I games.

Pre-release

First mention of Pocket Monsters 2

In 1997, Nintendo announced the first details about the then-next generation of Pocket Monsters games, to be titled Pocket Monsters 2: Gold & Silver (Japanese: ポケットモンスター2 金・銀). The games were intended to be released at the end of the year for the original Game Boy, while supporting the Super Game Boy enhancements that the Generation I games have.

One of the many notable additions promised was a skateboard that could be used in addition to the Bicycle of the previous games, and which would allow the player to travel to "unusual places". Though this never appeared in the released game, other things announced, such as the time system with its real-time clock, as well as 100 new Pokémon, including new evolutions of old Pokémon, and new TMs and HMs containing new moves, were included. The communication abilities of the games were also to be improved, and backwards compatibility with the Generation I games was also announced.

A 1997 edition of MicroGroup Game Review showcased some prototype Pokémon and characters that were later scrapped.

Sprites of Donphan, Ampharos, Slowking, and Ho-Oh were also released, using the Super Game Boy palettes.

Concept art of Silver, Ledyba and the opening cutscene of the games was also published.

New Pokémon in the anime

The anime also provided early peeks at the new Pokémon. Ho-Oh, the eventual version mascot of Pokémon Gold, appeared in the first episode. Later, Togepi hatched from an Egg Ash himself found, and Misty became the first main character to own a Generation II Pokémon. Snubbull and Marill made their first appearances in Pikachu's Vacation, and Donphan appeared at the start of Mewtwo Strikes Back. During the second season of the English dub, Ash and Misty also encountered Tracey, who owned a Marill; Lugia, the version mascot of Pokémon Silver, was the focus of the second movie, in which Slowking also appeared. Bellossom, Ledyba, Hoothoot, and Elekid also made an appearance in Pikachu's Rescue Adventure.

First screenshots

The color scheme in these screenshots corresponds to the Super Game Boy palettes, as the games hadn't been developed with the Game Boy Color in mind yet. It also sported the palette-swapping functionality that is also present in the Generation I games.

At this time, the initial game screenshots released didn't look all that much different from the Generation I games. The pictures clearly show the games' engine being in a more developed, but still early, stage. The lack of battle screenshots would seem to indicate that a redone battle system had not been implemented yet.

As can be seen on one of the screenshots, whirlpools were originally randomly interspersed across sea routes to serve as obstacles.

On some other screenshots of different stages of development, part of a city resembling Ecruteak City is seen. Whether it was an actual prototype of Ecruteak City, or a completely distinct location, is not known.

A screenshot depicting an earlier design for the Pokémon Center also shows an Unown ruin on the upper-right corner, which was possibly related to the Ruins of Alph, or an equivalent location at that point in development.

A simplified version of the northwestern-most section of Route 35, near the gate to National Park, also appeared on one of the screenshots. The differences from the final design of the route include water instead of trees and fences, with the path to the right not being open.

Another screenshot also depicts possible prototypes of Goldenrod Radio Tower, as well as of a gate-- possibly the gate that leads to Route 35, or rather, the Magnet Train station in Goldenrod City.

Delayed release

The second logo of Pocket Monsters: Gold & Silver, with the number 2 being dropped from the title

The end of 1997 passed without a release for Pocket Monsters 2: Gold & Silver. The potential release date was removed, and things generally stayed quiet until March 1998, where it was officially announced that the release would be delayed.

It was at this time that the games were re-announced as Pocket Monsters: Gold & Silver. Though the number 2 was dropped, the games remained as sequels to the Generation I games. Much of the year was quiet with regard to information about the games, as Pocket Monsters: Pikachu was on its way out in Japan, and Pokémon Red and Blue and the Pokémon anime were on their way to the United States.

More information

The final logo for Pocket Monsters: Gold
The final logo for Pocket Monsters: Silver

Following nearly a year without press releases, the Nintendo of Japan website was finally updated with new information on Pocket Monsters: Gold & Silver. A revised release date of June 1999 was given and it was announced the games would be compatible with the then soon-to-be-released Game Boy Color.

Ken Sugimori's artwork for Slowking, Marill, Bellossom, and Hoothoot was also released, as were several screenshots of the new battle system, featuring fully-colored sprites.

The battle screens are very similar to the final ones, but the absence of gender notation is apparent. Pokémon gender was a previously announced feature, and the graphical indicator of the gender during battle was likely added later as a convenience to players.

The move stats screen, which, in the final release, shows players the remaining and total amount of PP for each move, as well as its type, was apparently not fully completed at this point in development.

The battle system, nearly complete, was demonstrated, including wild Pokémon encounters. The new Pokédex, while close to completion, was still missing several features, such as the footprint and National Pokédex number of the Pokémon. The location, cry, and printing functions were also missing.

The screenshots released look very similar to the actual footage of the final release. The locations shown do not appear to be part of the final map, though they look similar.

Post-release

Since Pokémon Gold and Silver were released, other things have been uncovered that reveal interesting details about their development.

Locations

The final releases have a large number of incomplete maps that detail what most Johto towns looked like during the development stages. Some data pertaining to Kanto locations that are not available is also present.

Ecruteak Pharmacy

Inside the unused house in Olivine City

Another complete map is a house in Olivine City, where a woman refers to a pharmacy in Ecruteak City instead of Cianwood City on both Japanese and English releases. This possibly suggests that the pharmacy was originally planned for Ecruteak City. Oddly enough, she has a Rhydon inside her house, which uses a bugged overworld sprite that intermittently changes between its own and the one resembling a Clefairy.

The following text is from the woman's speech:

Japanese
あたしの ポケモンが びょうきに なったときは エンジュの クスリやさんに クスリを つくって もらったの
English
When my Pokémon got sick, the Pharmacist in Ecruteak made some medicine for me.

Interacting with the Pokémon's overworld sprite will yield:

Japanese
サイドン『ぐごーおお!
English
Rhydon: Gugooh!

Safari Zone

An unused Safari Zone (or 'beta' Safari Zone) appears in Gold, Silver, and Crystal that was meant to be located at Fuchsia City in the same building as Red, Blue, and Yellow. Though a warp into the Safari Zone gate exists (where the door would normally be), it doesn't work without hacking, and there is no door into the unused Safari Zone.

In the Generation IV remakes, it is replaced by Pal Park and an actual Safari Zone was newly added to the north of Route 48.

Pokémon

No wild Pokémon exist within the grass of the unused Safari Zone; however, a few Pokémon can be found by fishing (the usual set of Pokémon found by fishing in many places in the game).

Generation II

  Pokémon     Games     Location     Levels     Rate  
Morning Day Night
Fishing
129 Magikarp
G S C
Old Rod Fishing
Old Rod
10 85%
098 Krabby
G S C
Old Rod Fishing
Old Rod
10 15%
098 Krabby
G S C
Good Rod Fishing
Good Rod
20 55%
129 Magikarp
G S C
Good Rod Fishing
Good Rod
20 35%
222 Corsola
G S C
Good Rod Fishing
Good Rod
20 10% 10% 0%
120 Staryu
G S C
Good Rod Fishing
Good Rod
20 0% 0% 10%
098 Krabby
G S C
Super Rod Fishing
Super Rod
40 60%
222 Corsola
G S C
Super Rod Fishing
Super Rod
40 30% 30% 0%
120 Staryu
G S C
Super Rod Fishing
Super Rod
40 0% 0% 30%
099 Kingler
G S C
Super Rod Fishing
Super Rod
40 10%
A colored background means that the Pokémon can be found in this location in the specified game. A white background with a colored letter means that the Pokémon cannot be found here.

Area

The map data of the entrance hall still fully exists, with an exit warp back to Fuchsia City and an entrance warp into the unused Safari Zone. The Safari Zone area itself is rather small, with several tiles of long grass, a small pond, and other features. Oddly, the water tiles have no outline surrounding them, unlike other pools of water in the game. There are no regular exit warps from within the Safari Zone area, but two normally inaccessible warps back into the entrance hall exist at the two positions that the player initially appears after taking the left or right door into the Safari Zone.[1]

Pokémon Lab

Full maps without events programmed in exist for the Pokémon Lab in Cinnabar Island, indicating that Cinnabar Island was originally planned to make an appearance without the erupted volcano, or at least that the Lab was going to remain.

Prototype maps

Graphics

A mine cart image was discovered on the cave tilesets. The player character's early sprites, which depict him without his Bag, are still present in the games' code as well.

Events

An unused event script, complete with text, was discovered.[2] In it, a different event for a level 40 Entei, analogous to the birds in Generation I, was planned. The script consists of three events: output text on-screen, play Entei's cry and initiate a battle with a wild level 40 Entei. The output text is: "Entei: Bufuu!"

This unused event was removed from Pokémon Crystal.

There are also unused text strings for an event related to the Burned Tower, where someone's daughter was missing.[3] It is possible that this event made its final debut as the missing granddaughter in the S.S. Aqua.

Oh, no. Oh, no…
My daughter is missing.

No… She couldn't have gone to the Burned Tower. I told her not to go near it… People seem to disappear there…

Oh, what should I do…?

Sweet Honey

Several text strings refer to Sweet Honey, suggesting that Honey was originally planned for the Generation II games. It eventually made its debut in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.

My Pokémon is an expert at collecting Sweet Honey.

If the unidentified NPC were to give Sweet Honey to the player:

I'll share some with you.

If the player did not have enough room in his Bag:

I want to give you some Sweet Honey, but you have no room for it.

If the player had room in the Bag:

Here you go! Have some Sweet Honey!



{Player} received Sweet Honey.

Other text related to Sweet Honey includes:

My little brother takes Sweet Honey and goes somewhere with it.
I wonder what he's up to?



Did you put Sweet Honey on a tree? What happened to it?



Did you put Sweet Honey on a tree? It takes about a day for Pokémon to be drawn to it.



Butterfree: Freeh!

Naming the mother

Data, including text strings, remain for yet another forgotten feature: the ability to name the player's mother. Space is reserved in RAM for two other names as well, which default to Red and Green—the protagonist and his rival from the Generation I games.

Bird type

The Bird type from the Generation I games remains in the internal data. This is presumed to be a carryover from the Generation I games' engine, as Pokémon Gold and Silver were developed on an upgraded version of it.

Items

The Town Map and Poké Flute from the Generation I games are also present. Both are named Teru-sama (Japanese: カビチュウ Kabichū) and are otherwise unusable. However, if their data is modified so that the Use option in the Bag appears, the Poké Flute will still function, and the Town Map will attempt to, but fail, as the data it would access was relocated or removed altogether.

Cal

There is unused battle data for Cal, the default opponent at the Trainer House. There are two parties—one with the initial evolutionary stages of the Johto starters and one with their second evolutionary stages. As Viridian City and its Trainer House cannot be legally accessed until much later in the player's adventure, it is unknown what purpose these parties would have served.

Game Corner

A second card-flipping Game Corner game was planned.

Status Prevention Items

Located in the code are six unused held items that would have prevented the Pokémon holding it from being inflicted with a status effect.

These items work perfectly except burned and frozen. While they still create the correct effect, the other four bring up the text "<Pokémon>'s protected by <item>!" These items aren't consumed after use, so they can be used indefinitely, much like the Leftovers. Burn and Freeze simply do the effect without telling the player anything.

It is unknown why these were left out, as it is likely these items are the precursor to Abilities introduced in Generation III that would prevent certain status effects, such as Immunity and Insomnia.

References

  1. Gold/Silver/Crystal - how to easily access unused warps - Glitch City Laboratories
  2. Entei Event
  3. Ecruteak Daughter

External links


Beta versions of Pokémon games
Generation I
Red and GreenYellow
Generation II
Gold and SilverCrystal
Generation III
Ruby and SapphireFireRed and LeafGreenEmerald
Generation IV
Diamond and PearlPlatinumHeartGold and SoulSilver
Generation V
Black and WhiteBlack 2 and White 2
Generation VI
X and Y
Unreleased
Pocket Monsters RPGPokémon Picross


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