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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 main 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.
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 made the final cut, 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 was also released, using the Super Game Boy palettes.
Concept art of Silver, Ledyba and the opening cutscene of the games was also published.
The aforementioned 1997 edition of MicroGroup Game Review.
Four of the "new" Pokémon that would be included in Pocket Monsters 2.
The concept art mentioned above.
New Pokémon in the anime
The anime also provided early looks 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.
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.
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.
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.
Since Pokémon Gold and Silver were released, other things have been uncovered that reveal interesting details about their development.
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.
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.
クスリを つくって もらったの
When my POKéMON
got sick, the
ECRUTEAK made some
medicine for me.
One of the most complete prototype maps found in their internal data is a rough version of the Safari Zone. Surprisingly, it has several of its attributes defined, such as music, connections to Fuchsia City and even wild Pokémon found by fishing in a small pool in the area, which other prototype maps do not have. The Safari Zone also appears in the internal list of Pokégear map locations, along with Viridian Forest, Cerulean Cave, and Pokémon Mansion.
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.
A mine cart image was discovered on the cave tilesets. An unused regular sprite was also discovered, and it matches that of the player but it does not depict him carrying his Bag. This sprite may have been originally intended to be used by Cal, but was later scrapped in favor of the player's own sprite. Another hypothesis is that it may have been intended as the sprite used for the player naming screen at the beginning of a new saved game.
An unused event script, complete with text, was discovered. 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:
This unused event was removed from Pokémon Crystal.
There is also unused text strings for an event related with the Burned Tower, where someone's daughter was missing. 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
No... She couldn't
have gone to the
I told her not to
go near it...
People seem to
Oh, what should I
A bunch of text strings refer to
SWEET HONEY, suggesting that Honey was already planned for the Generation II games but that it was scrapped later, until it was thought on again, finally making its debut in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.
My POKéMON is an
expert at collect-
ing SWEET HONEY.
If the unidentified NPC were to give Sweet Honey to the player:
I'll share some
If the player didn't have enough room on his Bag:
I want to give you
some SWEET HONEY,
but you have no
room for it.
If the player had room on the Bag:
Here you go! Have
some SWEET HONEY!
Other text related to Sweet Honey includes:
My little brother
takes SWEET HONEY
and goes somewhere
I wonder what he's
Did you put SWEET
HONEY on a tree?
What happened to
Did you put SWEET
HONEY on a tree?
It takes about a
day for POKéMON to
be drawn to it.
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
GREEN—the protagonist and his rival from the Generation I games.
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.
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.
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.
A second card-flipping Game Corner game was planned.