Ah, Pikachu. The adorable, innocent electric mouse is the mascot of the hugely popular Pokémon franchise, appealing to a wide range of fans. Even the evolved form, Raichu, is cute (if not as resonant).
However, it has come out that one point in time a third evolution was being planned for Pikachu, and one that sounds a bit less… cuddly.
Key Illustrators and Designers on the series Ken Sugimori, Atsuko Nishida, and Koji Nishino recently spoke the the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri on the topic of, well, Pikachu. The following excerpts are from the Siliconera translation (there is plenty more intriguing details over there; I would recommend giving the piece a look):
Siliconera: “In the game Pikachu only evolves to Raichu, but I hear that at first there was three stages. Why did it end up being only two stages? (Or one evolution)”
Nishida: “Yes. It was “Pika(chu),” “Rai(chu),” and “Goru(chu).” The Pokémon known as Gorochu bared fangs and even had a pair of horns.
Sugimori: “There wasn’t any problems with its appearances, but it was omitted due to matters surrounding game balance.”
Interestingly, “Goro” comes from the Japanese “Goro-Goro,” which is a Japanese onomatopeia for rumbling – and sometimes associated with thunder. As “Rai”, as in Raichu, also comes from a relevant word (in this case, the Japanese word for thunder) this doesn’t seem like a coincidence.
Furthermore, the reply from Sugimori makes it seem as though Gorochu could have been overpowered, leading to it not making it into the final game. In that case, would it have been the original 152 otherwise? Or would another Pokémon have missed out?
Would you like to see this evolution of Pikachu appear in a future game?