Pokémon games are about collecting everything. The tagline, after all, exhorts the player to capture the entire population of pocket monsters. That's why there's something so tantalizing about the hidden content lurking in the code of one of gaming's most beloved franchises.
Many long or complex games have a lot of content that was cut out from the final release due to budget or time constraints. Other times content ends up being cut because an idea just didn't work out. But content that was cut during development is still accessible from the game code by those with the proper know-how.
In the true obsessive spirit of #Pokemon, technically adept fans know they've gotta hack, debug and comb through 'em all for any unused assets! This can end up revealing things about the game before release, but also aspects of the games that never saw the light of day.
Pokémon is a seriously long running franchise, with a ton of unused assets throughout the generations. Here's a selection of some of the most tantalizing titbits and weird secrets:
Generation 1 (Red and Green, Blue, Red and Blue, Yellow)
Professor Oak wants To fight?
- A battle with Professor Oak is programmed in, although it never actually occurs during regular gameplay. The battle can be triggered with GameShark or by means of a glitch in the game.
- Oak is programmed with three different teams, each consisting of a Level 66 Tauros, a Level 67 Exeggutor, a Level 68 Arcanine, and a Level 70 Gyarados. His fourth Pokémon is Level 69 and is either a Venusaur, Blastoise, or Charizard. It's a safe bet that the game would choose the team with the final evolution of the starter Pokémon that neither the player nor the rival chose.
- Additionally, based on the levels, it's likely he was intended to appear at the very end, perhaps even as a bonus boss after the final rival battle at Indigo Plateau. Professor Oak can be defeated in battle, but he has no unique post-fight dialogue programmed for him.
- The concept of battling a Pokémon professor would later be reused in Pokémon X and Y.
The Glitch City
- Unused map data exists for another area, accessible between Pallet Town and Viridian City. You can fly out of it if accessed by hacking, but not to it. And once you get there, you'll see the so-called 'Glitch City' screens seen above. You must fly out of it or restart the game without saving, or you'll be stuck there.
They took my surfboard!
- A surfboard also exists in the game data, apparently intended as the the original method for Surf outside of battle. But this was scrapped and replaced by surfing using a Pokémon.
A Rare Bird
- The generation 1 save file contains an apparently unused Bird-type, which must have been replaced by Flying-type in the game.
- However, there is one Pokémon with Bird as one of its types - the bizarre glitch Pokémon, Missingno.
Generation 2 (Gold and Silver, Crystal)
How you named your mother
- Leftover code exists that allows the player to enter a name for their mother, who was probably initially intended to serve a larger role in the plot.
- Although this function is never used for its intended purpose in the game, strangely enough the player's own name is saved to the same RAM location in the tutorial, when their name temporarily becomes DUDE.
Secret Celebi encounter
- There is an event programmed into Pokémon Crystal in which giving Kurt a GS Ball would trigger an encounter with Celebi.
- However, the event flag that causes Kurt to recognize the GS Ball was disabled in the American release (because it was part of a special giveaway event in Japan).
- Celebi is still present in the game but can only be encountered with cheats.
Hidden memory game
- The Game Corner in Gold, Silver, and Crystal has two kinds of machines: a slot machine and a card flip table. However, the above video from MrTauwasser shows an unused third game in almost working order – namely, a memory game, which can only be activated with a Coin Case and some coins.
- The game involves flipping cards around and then remembering their location in order to find matching pairs.
- The puzzle is playable but there is no process to win or exit, the only way to quit is to reset the game.
Generation 3 (Ruby and Sapphire, FireRed and LeafGreen, Emerald)
Cut connection with Pokémon Colosseum
- FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald feature a location called Altering Cave, which normally contains only Zubat. However, its data has Pokémon that correspond to the Shadow Pokémon (Mareep, Aipom, Pineco, Shuckle, Teddiursa, Houndour, Stantler, and Smeargl) in Pokémon Colosseum, along with text that indicates it was intended for a crossover event connected with those games.
Easter egg sprite from Mendel Palace
- Ruby and Sapphire contained unused overworld sprites resembling a character from Mendel Palace, which was Game Freak's first game. Possibly included as in-joke for the devs and testers, it's never seen in-game.
Generation 4 (Diamond and Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver)
The Lost Quest For Arceus
- Superpowered Pokémon Arceus was originally intended to be accessed in-game with an item called the 'Azure Flute.' Using it at the Spear Pillar would have allowed access to an area called the 'Hall of Origin', where you could battle and capture Arceus, but the event never occurs. It can only be triggered by hacking and comes complete with music not used anywhere else in the game.
- Apparently this quest was deemed too complicated for players, and so Nintendo distributed Arceus directly via an event instead.
Generation 5 (Black And White, Black 2 And White 2)
Unused battle occurrences
- Unused text indicates an interesting game mechanic which would involve the Pokémon fully restoring all its PP for all moves at once, but this is never possible in-game.
Hints at the sequel
- Data for the moves 'Ice Burn' and 'Freeze Shock', the signature moves of White Kyurem and Black Kyurem respectively, can be found in Black and White, despite the fact that Kyurem's alternate forms were not introduced until Black 2 and White 2 and there's no information for the alternate forms themselves in Black and White.
Face down the protagonist of Black and White
- The Pokémon World Tournament in Black 2 and White 2 has dummied out data for a battle with the protagonist of the first game, Hilbert/Hilda.
Generation 6 (X And Y, Omega Ruby And Alpha Sapphire)
Hidden Zygarde moves
- Pokémon X and Y have two moves called 'Thousand Arrows' and 'Thousand Waves', but Pokémon can normally learn them. In Pokémon Sun and Moon they're shown to belong to Zygarde, whose other forms may have been scrapped from the earlier generation.
Eternal Flower Floette and Light of Ruin
- AZ's Floette, known as the Eternal Flower Floette, is briefly seen in a cutscene during the ending of X and Y, but is not obtainable by any normal means, nor has it been distributed in any event. It was clearly intended to be a special form of Floette to be obtained by the player in some way.
- Unlike normal Floette, Eternal Flower Floette cannot evolve into its next stage: It is also in the Undiscovered egg group, so it cannot be bred.
- It has higher stats than a normal Floette and has a unique signature move, Light of Ruin. Light of Ruin is a special Fairy-type move with 140 power, 90% accuracy, and 5 PP. It also deals 1/2 of the damage dealt to the user. This move has the highest base power out of all Fairy attacks, making it the most powerful Fairy attack in the game.
Generation 7 (Sun And Moon)
Walking and running Pokémon
- Pokémon Sun and Moon's files contain unused running and walking animations found for every single Pokémon. YouTuber KazoWAR compiled them all for our viewing pleasure.
- It's likely that this may have been for a cut 'following' feature where the Pokémon would visibly accompany our hero on his journey.
More golf-related content coming for Pokémon Stars?
- There's an inaccessible golf course near Hano Beach, visible in the drawn map of Alola.
- There is a golfer class of trainers, and Guzma's dad has a golf bag full of clubs.
Secret Z-Crystals and Z-Moves
- Some Pokémon like Snorlax or Alola-Raichu have special Z-Crystals in the game, but there are a couple that have gone unused, likely reserved for event-related Pokémon giveaways.
- These are Pikashunium Z and Marshadownium Z, and they unlock the Z-Moves 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt and Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike, respectively.
A secret gift for playing Pokémon GO!
- There's text in the game files that indicate some kind of reward for playing Pokémon GO!
Thank you for playing Pokémon GO! Please pick up your gift from the deliveryman in any Pokémon Center.
Gotta Hack 'Em All
Combing through the Pokémon data files provides a revealing insight into the creative process behind the games. Aside from facts described above, there are plenty of unused moves and shiny variants, cut weather effects and graphics.
Check out Usain Bolt shill for Pokemon Sun and Moon in this Japanese ad. Maybe 'running' will be implemented in the sequel?
After peeking behind the scenes, it seems a shame that some content like the Azure Flute in Diamond and Pearl and the follow function in Sun and Moon were cut, but it's also apparent that cut ideas from one generation will usually be re-visited in later titles.
Are there any cut features from Pokémon you wish had made it to the final games?
(Source: The Cutting Room Floor)