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Prerelease:Pokémon Gold and Silver

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Pokémon Gold and Silver.

Pokémon Gold and Silver had a long development phase marked by repeated delays and a shift from Game Boy to Game Boy Color. The games went through a significant overhaul between their first reveal in 1997 and their release date, leaving traces of a very different game. Despite the trouble it went through during development, it still managed to be an enjoyable game, as well as one of the most expansive entries in the series.

Development Timeline

Development of Gold and Silver took significantly longer than Game Freak originally prepared for, which as it turns out was due to several reasons. Indeed, much of the staff was allocated to working on localizing the first two games, and the development team of Gold and Silver only had about four programmers, which was similar in size to the development team for Red and Green but with the added challenge of creating several new features for the games.[1]


  • February - Development of the games begins almost immediately after the release of Red and Green.[2]
  • July - Pokémon 2 is first publicly announced.[3]


  • April 1 - The Pokémon anime debuts, with Ho-Oh making an appearance near the end of the first episode.
  • June - Nintendo's official Pokémon 2 page, archived in June 1997, advertises an initial release date of the end of 1997.
  • September 5 - The week's issue of Famitsu reports that Pokémon 2 will be released in Fall 1997.[4]
  • November 15 - The demos for Pokémon Gold and Silver at Space World '97 are compiled.
  • November 21-23 - Playable demos of Pokémon Gold and Silver debut at Space World '97. Around that time, the release date was adjusted to March 1998.
  • December 16 - The "Pokémon Shock" event occurs, causing the anime to be halted and delayed for a significant amount of time, and potentially impacting development of games and merchandise.


  • January-March - The demos of Gold and Silver from Space World '97 are showcased at the World Hobby Fair in various locations around Japan.
  • March -
    • Nintendo's official Space World '97 page advertises a revised release date of the last third of March.
    • The official Nintendo webpage for Gold and Silver announces that the games will be postponed with no definitive end date.[5]
  • May 6 - The original Japan game map featured in Space World 97, alongside all internal Pokémon designs are backed up internally. The original map is scrapped and work by now has begun on the earliest version of the Johto map.


  • April - The May 1999 issue of CoroCoro is released, reintroducing Gold and Silver to the public.
  • April 14 - Pokémon Pinball is released in Japan, where music from Gold and Silver is featured.
  • August 17 - The demos for Pokémon Gold and Silver at Space World '99 are compiled.
  • August 27-29 - The games, reported to be 90% complete,[6] are showcased at Space World '99.
  • October 17 - Final build dates for the Japanese version of Pokémon Gold and Silver.
  • November 21 - Pokémon Gold and Silver are released in Japan.


  • April 24 - Earliest known prototype for the English version of Pokémon Gold and Silver
  • July 7 - Final compile date for the English version of Pokémon Gold and Silver
  • October 11 - Pokémon Gold and Silver are released in North America.
  • October 13 - Pokémon Gold and Silver are released in Australia.


  • April 6 - Pokémon Gold and Silver are released in Europe.


  • April 24 - Pokémon Gold and Silver are released in Korea.


PKMN GS Unknown 1 screenshot 4.png
Early Development
1996-1998. The original incarnation of Gold and Silver, prior to being reworked for the GBC.
PKMN GS rpgamer 1999-11-08 screenshot 3.gif
Late Development
1998-1999. The retooled version of Gold and Silver we're all familiar with.


Legendary Beast

While the legendary beasts did exist in the Space World '97 proto, their designs were wildly different, namely looking much more like dogs. It's then more than likely that these designs were first made by a different designer, before ultimately being reworked by Saitō. For Entei, Saitō seems to have had a clear idea of its design from the start, picturing a regal Fire-type creature which would be based on a lion, but could still stand on its own, having both feline and canine characteristics.[7]


182Bellossom GS.png

Bellossom's Gold and Silver artwork, which was made before the final release of the games, show that it was originally planned to have dark blue skin similar to one of its evolutionary relatives. Given how the earlier version of Bellossom found in the Space World '97 proto even shares this trait, this seems to prove that this was the original intent before it was ultimately changed. While preceding the controversy regarding Jynx's skin color, the design team possibly decided to change Bellossom's in fear it'd be seen as questionable given its Polynesian influences, though this color change could have also been made because the design team wasn't satisfied with how it looked.

Regarding in-game sprites, the color change seems to have happened somewhere after mid-June of 1999, as by the time the Space World '99 demo was compiled the sprite with blue skin and red flowers/petals had already been repurposed as Bellossom's shiny sprite. The anime's model sheet using the design with green skin was shown in a mid-April 1999 release of CoroCoro Comic, and a few issues later merchandise depicting Bellossom's final green-skinned design is shown, implying that the color change probably happened soon after the artwork was finalized.[8]

Unnamed sheep

In an early 2011 interview with @Gamer magazine, Junichi Masuda and Ken Sugimori revealed that they thought about designing a Pokémon after the first cloned sheep, Dolly, but ultimately decided against it in fear that it'd be deemed "too controversial" as a concept for a Pokémon. Given how Dolly's existence was revealed to the world on 22 February 1997,[9] when Gold and Silver had already been worked on for a year, it's then possible they originally intended for this Pokémon to be included in those games.

While no physical description of this Pokémon was provided, it's possible this concept was never given much thought. However, if that isn't the case there is a chance that how they first envisioned this "Dolly-inspired" Pokémon to look ended up inspiring the design of either Mareep or Flaaffy, two sheep-inspired Pokémon introduced in Generation II.

(Source: Bulbanews)


Lugia was solely designed by Takeshi Shudo, who at the time was the head writer for the Pokémon anime, as well as the scriptwriter for The Power of One, the second Pokémon movie, which was released in July of 1999. As revealed by Shudo, Lugia was commissioned for the movie, and he was quite surprised to find out that it was later included in the games.[10] The name "Lugia" was chosen in a large meeting where even game development staff attended, though in order to keep an element of surprise Lugia was only referred to as "Pokémon X" before its public reveal.[11] While Lugia's design was seemingly finalized from the start, a Sugimori conceptual sketch for the second movie does show Lugia with a slightly earlier design. Namely, it is depicted with an X-shaped motif atop its stomach. Given how Ho-Oh has a Y-shaped silhouette, this may have been done to accentuate Lugia's appearance into a more noticeable X, thus making the two more complimentary. Lugia also only has six back spikes, as seen in an internal sprite archive dating to June 13 of 1999.[12]

Lugia was then retroactively envisioned as a partner for Ho-Oh when it came to its inclusion in Gold and Silver, with a Tin Tower event file from March 1999[13] being the earliest known trace of its inclusion in the games. Additionally, in a November 2009 issue of Nintendo DREAM, game designer Morimoto Shigeki gave more details regarding Lugia's significance in Gold and Silver.[14] In this interview, he namely said that while Ho-Oh and Lugia do not have a direct connection in the story, they were envisioned as being "[...] born in the world of Pokémon Gold and Silver for its new feature, the time system, giving us the day and night cycle. Thus, they represent the sun and the moon, day and night."