Screenshot: The Cutting Room Floor

There’s still a lot to sort through in the big leak of a demo for Pokémon Gold and Silver from yesterday. But let’s talk about this early version of Remoraid, who used to look like a gun.

In the release version of Gold and Silver, Remoraid is basically just a fish.

Screenshot: Pokémon (OLM, Inc.)

Remoraid evolves into Octillery, which is a large octopus. This doesn’t make too much sense, but there’s also a Pokémon that’s a pile of garbage, so whatever.

Screenshot: Pokémon (OLM, Inc.)

In the Gold and Silver demo, however, both of these Pokémon look much different. Remoraid is literally just a gun, while Octillery is a tank.

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I didn’t spot these sprites on my own—there’s a lot to get through in the leak—but Kinja user Sub Judice pointed this out to me and I just had a whole host of questions. Do you, like, hold this version of Remoraid in your hand? Do you shoot other Pokémon with it? Does Remoraid have bullets? I showed this early Remoraid prototype to Tim Rogers and he asked me if its baby form is a knife.

Octillery made more sense to me. It’s in the name—artillery. Where did the gun fish come from then? Well, another helpful Kinja user, D. Walker, pointed me to a species of triggerfish common to Japan. “Triggerfish get their names from collapsible/extendable defensive spines they have on their dorsal fins,” D. Walker wrote. “The front spine physically locks in place, and can’t be unlocked without depressing the rear spine, allowing both to retract.” Thanks for the helpful fish fact!

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Looking back to the Pokémon as they exist now, you can see the weaponry inspirations in their designs. Octillery’s snout always looked pretty tank-like, while Remoraid’s dorsal fin kind of looks like a trigger. Still, without seeing these concept designs, I don’t think I would have spotted those details.

The old designs help one of the many ridiculous aspects of Pokémon make sense, but it’s also easy to see why they changed it. Pokémon is a children’s game, after all, and it’s generally frowned upon to put a gun in a children’s game. But in my heart, whenever I see this doofy fish, I’ll always know that I can pick it up and fire it.