What’s your opinion on the Beta Sinnoh Pokemon? (especially arceus)
I’m not sure I have an opinion on them, or feel I need to. I mean, a lot of them are placeholders, right? Many of the leaked sprites are just… clearly unfinished; that’s what a beta is. Arceus especially; people meme on beta Arceus, but it seems pretty clear to me that no one ever planned for it to go into the finished game looking anything like that (likewise Rotom). They knew they wanted Arceus to exist, and they had a rough idea what they wanted it to look like, but they hadn’t finalised the design or done proper sprites yet. The only Pokémon that seem to me like they had a genuinely different design in the leaked beta materials – not just unfinished art – are Rampardos, maybe Hippowdon, Lumineon, Lickilicky (back sprite only), Togekiss and the Garchomp line, and most of them… well, yeah, they just kinda look like first drafts of the Pokémon that they are. Beta Rampardos seems a bit less naturalistic, maybe a touch more manic? Beta Togekiss has shades of Latias and Latios, and I do think it looks pretty cool, but I’m not sure it works as an evolution from Togepi and Togetic. Beta Gible, Gabite and Garchomp have different colour palettes and are… I guess my instinct is maybe a bit simpler, a bit more gen I-II-like? They’re fine, I suppose; I think the final designs are more visually interesting.
The one thing I do think is kind of interesting is the mystery Pokémon, Kimairan, that seems to have occupied Giratina’s slot, whose sprite is clearly a draft but looks like a kind of six-legged griffin thing. My guess is, Game Freak knew they were going to have another legendary Pokémon in that slot, but hadn’t quite figured out what the third piece of Space/Time/??? ought to be, or what role they wanted this Pokémon to have in the mythology of Sinnoh. Even the final release of Diamond and Pearl is, in my opinion, pretty noncommittal about what Giratina actually represents (compared to, say, Rayquaza in Ruby and Sapphire or Kyurem in Black and White), so I honestly wonder how much, if any, of Giratina’s role in Platinum was sketched out in advance. Kimairan might have represented… dreams, maybe, or the world, or life, or a fixed point of reference within space-time. Maybe at this stage of the beta they didn’t even know they wanted this mystery Pokémon to be part of a trio with Dialga and Palkia yet, and it was just something completely different. The point is, I think they probably ditched Kimairan and created Giratina because something clicked about the way they wanted to tell the story of generation IV, and they realised that the Pokémon they’d made wasn’t right for the role they needed.
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