Beta Pokémon Games are the first trial games. Since Generation I there has been many beta versions of all the games. There can be some notable differences when looking at the beta versions and the officially released versions.
With the first games having taken so long to develop (Six years in total) Pokémon Red and Green was released. There were however some beta Pokémon in the games files found through various glitches. The most well known one was Missingno. Shigeki Morimoto had revealed that the original Pokédex had included 190 Pokémon, but they didn't have enough time or space to complete it, explaining the 39 different types of MissingNo found in game. It was also discovered that the producers had originally intended that the player character could battle Professor Oak, supposedly at the end of the Elite 4 or as an after-story event, but it was most likely scrapped due to timing, but one can glitch the game in order to actually battle him.
Many concepts for unused Pokémon were used including a beta Charizard known as Dragon4. Concept art also tells that the PokéBall had acted very differently, acting like two-halves of a ball that could be switched like a bowl to release a Pokémon. In a meeting at GameCenterCX, Satoshi Tajiri had showed off finalized pictures for the Pokémon Slowbro, Nidoking, & Kadabra. There were also many changed Pokémon names, for instance, Gastly was originally called Spirit.
According to glitches, there was originally a planned Bird-type (possibly a beta Pidgey or Doduo). This Bird-type seems to be a default for all glitch Pokémon, as the great majority of them have this type, either by itself or with the Normal-type.-type for Pokémon like
There are unused move animations for certain moves due to rapid flashing. The unused move animations include Blizzard, Thunderbolt, Spore, Bubble Beam, Rock Slide, Selfdestruct, Dream Eater, Confusion, Reflect, Mega Kick, Mega Punch, Psychic, Explosion, Hyper Beam, and Guillotine.
Generation II was the most thoroughly covered games. There was also to be a different female trainer one had the option to choose. There was also a trainer that was scrapped in the official release. There was also originally a function to name the Mother, similarly to naming the Player or the Rival. The beta name wasn't even Pokémon Gold and Silver it was originally called Pocket Monsters 2. There were many prototype towns/cities. Goldenrod City was drastically changed in the beta version, Ecruteak City was originally meant to have a medicine shop instead of Cianwood City.
The player character's hometown was first called "Silent Hills". Maps were a bit incomplete after post-release, they showed what most of Johto looked like when it was still in development. The Safari Zone was also very different in the beta version. Strangely, the Safari Zone holds no Pokémon in the grass, but you are able to use a Fishing Rod to hook Magikarp, Krabby, Kingler, Staryu, & Corsola. A woman also refers to a pharmacy in Ecruteak which was possible that the pharmacy was meant for Ecruteak. Cinnabar Island was originally going to have a lab like the previous generation. It wasn't intended for the island to erupt.
A beta version had a few Pokémon that were later scrapped. Initially Ledyba was slightly gray-ish, there was to be a Pokémon resembling a turtle (It resembled Tirtouga), a Pokémon resembling a mix between Clefairy and Tyrogue that had a similar form to that of Hitmontop, Tyranitar initially was going to be slightly lighter and had its arms similar to Nidoking's. In 1997, a convention was held named Space World 1997, which hosted a playable Beta Version of Pokémon Gold & Silver. In an official teaser art, the art of the Pokémon Slowking, Ampharos, Donphan, & Ho-Oh were revealed. Along with this, early art of Bellossom, Marill, & Hoothoot was also revealed. In early 2018, the entire beta Pokédex of the Space World Beta for Pokémon Gold & Silver had been found. Many scrapped or altered designs were included with names and typings, many of which were evolutions or baby forms of existing Generation I Pokémon.
Lots of changes happened during this generation especially with Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Route 104 was playable in the beta version (Pokémon Festa 2002), the Pretty Petal shop was also noted as being "Not Yet Open". In early shots there were Poké Marts that had the same colored designs as Pokémon Centers. There was also supposed to be wild double battles but the idea was scrapped later on but it did return in the 4th Generation. There was also a weather effect which was snow. Albeit only 3 snowflakes came at a time it wasn't used.
Originally, there were quite a bit of Pokémon that were designed differently. Two concepts of Torchic were made, one had Torchic in an eggshell (just as Togepi) another had Torchic with a flame symbol on the backside of its head and big ears. There was also a few scrapped versions of Treecko. There was also a prototype Latias/Blaziken fusion, and Groudon was also altered a bit to have visible teeth and less black lines. Shellos and Gastrodon were originally meant to appear in Generation III but were moved back to Generation IV, as early back-sprites depict the South Sea form of both of them. Shellos originally had pink frills on its back. Gastrodon was originally very lumpy and had a completely brown body. In the debug sound menu, two unused cries can be heard, possibly also used for Shellos & Gastrodon. During the Beta release, it is notable that Sharpedo possibly didn't have a pre-evolutionary form because it can be found at a very low level. Sharpedo also didn't have an ability. Upon catching a Sharpedo, it said "It doesn't have an ability", possibly saying that not all Pokémon were going to have abilities. There is also an unused Pokémon Contest stage that includes early sprites for Azurill, Shroomish, Sharpedo, Duskull, Wynaut, & Wailmer.
An early ability known as Cacophony is found in the game files but goes unused. It acts the same as the Soundproof ability, making the user immune to sound-based moves, which is possibly why it was scrapped. It may have been intended for the Whismur evolutionary line, seeing how they often make noise.
According to an interview with Junichi Masuda, he stated that the player was originally able to alter the amount of Pokémon in their party past 6, and the player could also alter how many moves a Pokémon could learn, past 4. This was scrapped possibly due to data storage, overpowered teams, or just because the concept might have overpowered the player.
In the Beta release of FireRed and LeafGreen, early sprites for Charmander & Bulbasaur can be seen. There is also an early sprite for Professor Oak in the "Welcome To The World Of Pokémon!" phase of the game. There are also scrapped overworld sprites for Mew, Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Celebi, Deoxys Attack Form, & Deoxys Defense Form.
In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen there were more Sevii Islands to be explored, but it was later scrapped. A ton of the unused maps are small islands where, apparently, nothing was supposed to happen. Most of the unused islands are small pieces of land with sand and one giant rock in the middle.
In Pokémon Colosseum, there are unused Shadow Pokémon that are not obtainable in the final game. These Pokémon are Minun, Spoink, Castform, Porygon2, Psyduck, Wailmer, Kecleon, Whiscash, & Wobbuffet, which can all not be obtained in the final game. Strangely, in the Beta, Natu & Magcargo are not present, but in the final game, Natu, Xatu, Slugma, & Magcargo are all present. Also, since the E-Reader is bugged out in the international releases, some Shadow Pokémon are unobtainable. These Shadow Pokémon are Scizor, Mareep, & Togepi.
Strangely, there is a line of text in the game that goes unused and says "Eh!? Chimecho isn't a Grass Pokémon... It's a Psychic Pokémon." This strange quote goes unused and doesn't seem to have been used for anything.
In the Beta release of Diamond & Pearl, early sprites for the Pokémon Weavile, Munchlax, Cherrim, & Scizor can be found. Deep in the game files is an early grey sprite of Charmeleon, with a flat head and no horn. However, in the games files, there are unused sprites for the Hoenn starters, the Ralts evolution-line, Jirachi, the Sinnoh starters, the Shellos evolution-line, Bronzor, Manaphy, & Arceus, along with their Shiny Forms. The Shellos & Gastrodon sprites still have their beta design found in the Generation III files. There are also early map designs for Route 219, Jubilife City, & Route 203. In December 2019, old sprites for all of the Pokémon were leaked, shown to have many gender differences. It was revealed that the majority of Pokémon were planned to have gender differences, but were scrapped.
There are several unused items including the Azure Flute, Contest Pass, Lost Sack, Magma Stone, Seal Bag, Red Chain, & many more.
In a special presentation featuring an early version of Pokémon Platinum, an early sprite of Garchomp can be found. It seems to be in a running pose with a hunched back. In the game files for Pokémon Platinum, there are also unused sprites for Shaymin (Land Form) and Giratina's two forms. Strangely, Giratina's unused Alternate Form sprite has much shorter wings. There are also unused overworld sprites for the material used to change Rotom's forms (fridge, lawn-mower, etc.), but instead of orange, they are all grey.
A strange but funny glitch, the game is able to detect if it is a pirate or not. The game is supposed to connect to an official machine, but if the game does not send a signal to any official game format, this glitch may execute. Once you go into a battle, the game will freeze and your team of PokéBalls will start spinning, forcing to reset the game.
In concept art, it is revealed that the players Pokémon were originally going to turn around and look at the screen or would make a noise if the Trainer had "formed a bond with the Pokémon" during battle (possibly meaning if the Pokémon had high friendship).
In an official released image, it is shown that Excadrill originally had more dark-blue fur rather than brown fur.
Through several interviews, many Pokémon were revealed to have different designs, but without the use of visuals:
- Tornadus and Thundurus were planned to be the colors red & blue, with Landorus not being planned at the time. This eventually caused confusions with the designs of Throh and Sawk, so Tornadus was changed to green instead of red, while Thundurus kept its light-blue color. Due to this, Throh and Sawk were also changed. Originally, they had horns, looking more like oni Yokai, but the horns were removed and changed into eyebrows in order to differentiate them from the Forces of Nature Trio.
- Deino, Zweilous, and Hydreigon also had changes as well. Instead of being based on dark dragons, they were meant to be based on tanks and warfare machines such as guns. The designs were entirely scrapped early on, but the game was still in need of a three-stage Dragon-type (like the Dratini-line or Bagon-line). The tank designs were remodeled and eventually became the current design of the Deino-line. Little aspects of the tank motif can be seen on Zweilous' and Hydreigon's stomachs, where they have tread-like markings. It was also stated that their purple-coloring wasn't until late in development, suggesting they may have had a different coloration before.
- Durant was originally planned to be a smaller ant Pokémon, which was to be considered the smallest Pokémon. This title may have been handed to Joltik instead, as it still has motifs of a small bug Pokémon and was the smallest Pokémon at the time of the interview.
- Petilil and Lilligant were planned to be a three-stage Pokémon line, but one of the stages was scrapped to balance out the amount of Grass-type Pokémon. This may have also been done to make it more similar to Cottonee and Whimsicott, which became its counterpart. It is unknown which stage was scrapped. Whether it was a pre-evolution to Petilil, an evolution between the two, or an evolution for Lilligant is unknown.
- Stunfisk had a different typing originally, instead being a Water/Electric-type and being based on more of a goosefish. It may have been redesigned to differentiate it from the Chinchou-line, but the reason stated for the change was due to balancing, so it was changed to a Ground-type Pokémon instead.
- Frillish and Jellicent weren't always meant to be scary of harmful, but were given the Ghost-type late in development due to balancing. Though the artist of the two is uncredited, it was stated that the designer for Frillish and Jellicent was disappointed that they became scary Pokémon.
- Dwebble and Crustle were originally referred to as 'Furnace Pokémon' and originally had a pottery and oven motif. This may suggest that they were originally Fire/Rock-types or Bug/Fire-types before the switch to the stone-shell motif. The reason for the scrapped design was because they looked slow and awkward.
- Chandelure was designed later in development, due to the Litwick-line originally starting off as a flame. The concept was that the first Pokémon was a flame or wisp, then evolving into a candle (Litwick), and finally evolving into a lamp (Lampent). The idea was stating as not working or not having any flow when going between a flame to a candle, so Litwick was made as the first part, then Lampent, and Chandelure being last.
In Pokémon Black 2 & White 2, there were originally supposed to be consistent visual effects for snow and rain, but it goes unused, possibly due to vision obscurity. There also seems to be a weather effect for fog, but it is unknown if this was supposed to be used as an overworld effect or as a move effect (like Sandstorm or Sunny Day).
In the PokéStar studios, many unique "Pokémon" can be found. However, most of them have an unused "Shiny Sprite" in the form of their silhouette. There is an unused texture for the Brycen-Man boss in PokéStar Studios that depicts a palette-swap of Victini, using purple and blue instead of Victini's normal orange and tan colors. There is also a placeholder image of the Monster boss in PokéStar Stuiods depicting a white blob with a red eye and multiple arms, which slightly resembles Dark Matter from the Kirby series. There is also an unused Shiny Sprite for Shiny Smeargle in PokéStar Studios.
In the beta of Pokémon X & Y, there are two scheduled/required battles in the files that go unused, one for Abomasnow, and another for Scatterbug. Scatterbug may have been used for the Catching Tutorial and Abomasnow may have been used on Route 17.
There are several unused Training Mission courses, all in which include some form of Mega Evolved Pokémon. The unused Training Missions include Mega Evolved version of Mawile, Scizor, Banette, Mewtwo, Alakazam, & Gyarados.
There is an unused battle sprite for AZs Eternal Flower Floette. It is unknown if the player could either battle or obtain such a Floette. The Floette also has built-in stats that are higher than a normal Floette and it is also programmed to not evolve into a Florges, further implying that the player could obtain it somehow.
Along with the unused Eternal Flower Floette, it also has its own signature move that is also unobtainable. Its signature move is Light Of Ruin, a Fairy-type move with 140 base damage that has 1/2 recoil damage. There are also two other unused moves for Zygarde including Thousand Waves and Thousand Arrows, which make a return in Generation VII.
In the Japanese version of the game, when the player enters a PokéCenter on their birthday, a music-box version of the PokéCenter music plays. However, in the Beta, it was originally supposed to play a music-box version of Happy-Birthday-To-You instead.
In the beta of Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, there are unused Mega Rings that come in the form of appliances that include glasses, pendants, tiaras, and others. These were later used in Generation VII.
In the beta of Pokémon Sun & Moon, players could originally transfer Pokémon from Pokémon Go to Sun & Moon. This was later scrapped, but reappeared in Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu & Let's Go Eevee.
All of the Pokémon in the game have an overworld walking and running animation. This may have implied that Pokémon were originally going to follow the player or appear in the overworld. Either way, both features were scrapped and reappeared in Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu & Let's Go Eevee.
The unused Eternal Floette from Pokémon X & Y is still unused in this game and its sequel, Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, even including a Shiny sprite, which is entirely useless due to the normal form not even being obtainable. It also has its unused signature move, Light Of Ruin. However, in Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, Eternal Floette has its own PokéDex entries for both games:
- Ultra Sun: The flower it's holding can no longer be found blooming anywhere. It's also thought to contain terrifying power.
- Ultra Moon: Terrifying energy is concealed within its ominous flower, but Floette still swings it about innocently.
There is unused code that allows Silvally to learn Grass Pledge, Water Pledge, and Fire Pledge, all at the same time. Due to Silvally not being a Starter Pokémon or being part of the Elemental Monkeys Trio, this is entirely useless.
In the beta of Magikarp Jump, there are 6 unused decorations that could be used. These include an Oddish Kokedama, a Dedenne Blush, a Pikachu Pocket Watch, a Camerupt Volcano, a Gyarados Slide, and a Pikachu Bed.
In the beta of Pokémon Sword & Shield, there are many unused items, abilities, and transferable Pokémon that are still coded into the game.
A lot of the unused items in the game and old items that could be obtained in the previous games, usually used for Legendary or Mythical Pokémon events, evolutionary items exclusive to one Pokémon, or different types of Poké Balls. Items such as the Sacred Ash (associated with Ho-Oh), the three different orbs (associated with The Creation Trio), and the different type plates (associated with Arceus) are all coded in, yet aren't used. All of the old fossils are also coded into the game, but the only ones obtainable are the Bird, Fish, Drake, and Dino Fossils.
There are three unused models for Trainer classes. They are unused and don't have any animations, so they immediately go into their T-Pose. The first is of Chairman Rose in his shorts and glasses, implying that the player may have fought him in Hulbury before fighting the Water-type Gym. The two other models are of an unused Preschooler class, one for male and another for female.
Currently, there are some unused Pokémon from previous games that are meant to be transferred. They are possibly coded in as Pokémon Home may be set to release in 2020. Below is a list of Pokémon coded in, but unobtainable:
- Bulbasaur ➞ Ivysaur ➞ Venusaur
- Squirtle ➞ Wartortle ➞ Blastoise
- Cobalion, Terrakion, & Virizion
- Reshiram, Zekrom, & Kyurem
- Rowlet ➞ Dartrix ➞ Decidueye
- Litten ➞ Torracat ➞ Incineroar
- Popplio ➞ Brionne ➞ Primarina
- Cosmog ➞ Cosmoem ➞ Solgaleo/Lunala
- Meltan ➞ Melmetal
Strangely, Ultra Necrozma is not coded in, though its other forms are coded in.
There are currently two unobtainable Gigantamax Pokémon in the game. These Pokémon are Toxtricity and Melmetal. Toxtricity is possibly being planned to release as a Wild Area Event and Melmetal might be able to Gigantamax when it can be transferred from Pokémon Home.