When a game series is as long-lived and revered as Pokémon, it's always a treat to get a glimpse backstage at its development process. Earlier today, a Japanese fan tweeted some screenshots from an NHK broadcast about Pokémon's beta stage (the "baby" stage of its evolution, if you will), and it's fascinating stuff.
NHK is Japan's national broadcasting organization, and Twitter user "okp108" grabbed photos of what appears to be a special on Pokémon Red and Green's early development. There are early sketches of Red exploring with Rhydon (the first Pokémon), as well as an illustration of a flatter, more saucer-shaped PokéBall.
The broadcast also let us get a good look at some of our Gen-One favorites in their earliest forms, and this is where the real fun begins. The image of the beta-form Pokémon was enhanced and translated by [clears throat] "KingHorseFucker" on the Pokémon subreddit.
These blessed children look like the off-brand "Pokémon" figures you'd see on the shelves of independent toy stores in 1999. Scyther's design is more saurian than insectoid, Lapras is missing its trademark "swirly ears," and Arcanine resembles the mythological kirin more than a lion-dog. Gyrados, though—whew. Gone is the scaly water-dragon we know and love. Instead, we have a larva-like creature with blind eyes and an open, jagged mouth. I think it resembles the sandworms from Dune; Caty says it looks like the monster from Stranger Things. Feel free to supply a description from your own nightmares.
This snapshot of Pokémon Red and Green's beta is a nice compliment to the beta designs we saw for some of Pokémon Gold and Silver's creatures earlier this year. Needless to say, Pokémon's as popular as it's ever been, which makes these backwards glimpses even more fascinating. If you're working through the franchise's most recent release, Pokémon Let's Go, you'll want to consult our guides full of hints, tips, and tricks.