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Development:Pokémon Yellow

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This page details development materials of Pokémon Yellow.

How about a nice leek in this trying time?
This page or section details content from the April 2020 Nintendo Leak.
Check the April 2020 Nintendo Leak category for more pages also sourced from this material.

Pokémon Pink

The leaked source code for Yellow includes a few mentions of a seemingly never made companion version that would've been called Pokémon Pink. This includes "Pocket Monsters Pink & Yellow", as well as pokemon_type in PM_DEBUG.DEF having the options "yellow package" and "pink package" (although the "pink package" has no effect on the game).

While it is not certain which Pokémon would have been the mascot of Pink, Clefairy appears to be the most likely candidate, given its coloration and the fact it was originally intended to be the franchise's mascot. An image of a frame that was included in the Japanese release of the Game Boy Camera appears to corroborate this.

Early Sprites

These sprites were found at the very end of a list containing several sprites for an early version of Pokémon Gold and Silver, which itself was found within leaked material for that game. This isn't surprising, as Yellow was being developed around the same time as Gold and Silver. These sprites are labeled with the filename format "PMYF_" ("Pocket Monsters Yellow Front") followed by the corresponding Pokémon's Pokédex number. Worth noting is that Squirtle and Kakuna are also found within this listing, but weren't included in this table due to them already being finalized.

Pokémon Name Early Sprite Final Sprite Notes
Charmander PMYF 004.png Pokémon Yellow 004.png Similar sprite, albeit with a different facial expression, and some missing detailing. This early sprite is directly based on this artwork of Charmander from the original series anime, whereas the final sprite made it more unique.
Caterpie PMYF 010.png Pokémon Yellow 010.png Totally different sprite, which is based on this artwork of Caterpie, whereas the final sprite instead used this one as a base.
Butterfree PMYF 012.png Pokémon Yellow 012.png Similar sprite, albeit with less dynamically posed feet, a narrower body and face, and a slightly less refined left eye and mouth. This early sprite is directly based on this artwork of Butterfree, whereas the final sprite made it more unique.
Weedle PMYF 013.png Pokémon Yellow 013.png Similar sprite, albeit quite rougher and larger than the final one. Both based on the same piece of artwork.
Rattata PMYF 019.png Pokémon Yellow 019.png Totally different sprite, which is based on this artwork of Rattata, whereas the final sprite went with a unique pose.
Raticate PMYF 020.png Pokémon Yellow 020.png Totally different sprite, which is rather rough, and appears to be based on Ratticate's Red and Green artwork. The final sprite instead uses this artwork as a base.
Spearow PMYF 021.png Pokémon Yellow 021.png Totally different sprite, which is based on this artwork of Spearow, whereas the final sprite went with a unique pose.
Arcanine PMYF 059.png Pokémon Yellow 059.png Similar sprite, albeit flipped horizontally and less refined. Both based on the same artwork.
Farfetch'd PMYF 083.png Pokémon Yellow 083.png Similar sprite, albeit with less dynamically posed feet and with Farfetch'd holding the leek in one of its hands instead of with its beak. This early sprite is directly based on this artwork of Farfetch'd, whereas the final sprite made it more unique.
Dodrio PMYF 085.png Pokémon Yellow 085.png Sprite almost identical to final aside from some of the shading and detailing being missing. Both based on the same artwork.
Jolteon PMYF 135.png Pokémon Yellow 135.png Totally different sprite, which appears to be based on Jolteon's Red and Blue artwork, albeit with a different facial expression. The final sprite instead uses this artwork as a base, but with a face reminiscent of the early sprite.

These sprites, meanwhile, were found within the Yellow source code leak:

Early Final
Pokémon Yellow Development Sprite PMYF DMY.png Pokémon Yellow Development Sprite PMYF 025.png

An early sprite of Pikachu, which is more directly based on this artwork from the original series anime. Labeled here as PMYF_DMY.DAT (the used sprite instead known as PMYF_025.DAT), likely standing for "Pokémon Yellow Front Dummy", this was likely just a scrapped early sprite the devs decided to keep for some reason.

Early Final
Pokémon Yellow Development Sprite ROCKET1.png Pokémon Yellow Development Sprite ROCKET2.png Pokémon Yellow Development Sprite ROCKETS.png

Separate sprites for Jessie and James, found respectively under ROCKET1.DAT and ROCKET2.DAT. The final game instead combined them into a single sprite, known as ROCKETS.DAT. Instead of both being fought individually, it's more likely the artist just kept the individual sprites in case they wanted to change their arrangement. The sprites themselves are pretty much identical to final, with only the leaf of James' rose being straighter, and Jessie's left eye having one less pixel, while one of her leg reaches further back.

Pokémon Yellow Development Sprite Magby Test.png

A cropped sprite of Magby's early design from the Spaceworld '97 demo of Gold and Silver. Given how it is known as TEST.DAT, it was likely used as some sort of placeholder.

Pokémon Yellow Development Sprite NidoranF.gif

A sprite of Nidoran taken from the old official Game Freak website, even reusing the same filename, 029NIDO.GIF. Likely used as reference for Nidoran♀'s updated sprite.


(Headphone warning: these audio clips are loud and harsh!)

Found in the SOUND folder of the leaked source code. As it turns out, 74 of the original 151 Pokémon had their Japanese anime cries recorded and digitized, but none of them made it into the final game besides Pikachu. This is likely due to the very poor quality of the converted clips, the fact many of the clips are pretty harsh on the ears, and the lack of space to fit them all in. Moreover, since many Pokémon have different names and/or voice actors between languages, this would also mean they'd have to be re-recorded in every language they wanted to release Yellow in (and even then only if the anime was dubbed into said language and had already determined which Pokémon would be dubbed over).

Small wonder the idea was scrapped!

Pokédex 001-050

Dex # Japanese
Voice Clip
001 Fushigidane Bulbasaur
002 Fushigisou Ivysaur
004 Hitokage Charmander
007 Zenigame Squirtle
010 Caterpie Caterpie
011 Toranseru Metapod
012 Butterfree Butterfree
013 Biidoru Weedle
014 Kokuun Kakuna
015 Supiaa Beedrill
016 Poppo Pidgey
017 Pijon Pidgeotto
019 Koratta Rattata
020 Ratta Raticate
021 Onisuzume Spearow
023 Arbo Ekans
024 Arbok Arbok
026 Raichu Raichu
027 Sando Sandshrew
035 Pippi Clefairy
036 Pikushii Clefable
037 Rokon Vulpix
041 Zubat Zubat
042 Golbat Golbat
043 Nazonokusa Oddish
044 Kusaihana Gloom
046 Paras Paras
048 Konpan Venonat
049 Morufon Venomoth
050 Diguda Diglett

Pokédex 051-100

Dex # Japanese
Voice Clip
051 Dugtrio Dugtrio
052 Nyaasu Meowth
053 Persian Persian
054 Kodakku Psyduck
056 Mankey Mankey
057 Okorizaru Primeape
063 Keshi Abra
064 Yungeraa Kadabra
066 Wanrikii Machop
069 Madatsubomi Bellsprout
070 Utsudon Weepinbell
072 Menokurage Tentacool
073 Dokukurage Tentacruel
074 Ishitsubute Geodude
075 Goroon Graveler
079 Yadon Slowpoke
080 Yadoran Slowbro
081 Koiru Magnemite
082 Reakoiru Magneton
085 Dodrio Dodrio
086 Pauwau Seel
088 Betobeta Grimer
089 Betobeton Muk
092 Goosu Gastly
093 Goosuto Haunter
094 Gengar Gengar
095 Iwaaku Onix
096 Suriipu Drowzee
097 Suriipaa Hypno
098 Kurabu Krabby
100 Biriridama Voltorb

Pokédex 101-151

Dex # Japanese
Voice Clip
104 Karakara Cubone
106 Sawamura Hitmonlee
107 Ebiwaraa Hitmonchan
109 Dogaasu Koffing
110 Matadogasu Weezing
113 Rakkii Chansey
114 Monjara Tangela
116 Tattsuu Horsea
118 Tosakinto Goldeen
120 Hitodeman Staryu
121 Starmie Starmie
129 Koiking Magikarp

Title Screen Mockup

Hidden in /yellow/Document/pika.bmp is a possible mockup image of the unique title screen found in the English version of Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition:


The image is 409 pixels wide and 429 pixels tall, originally a 515 kilobyte BMP file. Worth noting is that Pikachu's sprite, while being blocky, appears to have been scaled through an algorithm different than nearest neighbour, as Pikachu's sprite in the image has colour blending along edges.