Another major content leak shows cut content from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl that would have included multiple other gender variants for other Pokémon that didn’t make the final games.
This is a very interesting development because the fourth generation of Pokémon really pushed the idea of gender differences between certain species, but the actual number of those variations didn’t seem to match the level of commitment to the concept. So these cuts would make it seem more plausible that the idea was going to be expanded upon more, but it fell apart late in development and was scrapped bar the limited number we did get.
Well-known cut and lost Pokémon researcher Dr. Lava compiled a list of all of the since-deleted leaks that show off all of the form differences, including some that are more drastic than the ones we actually got.
Almost all of the changes relate to the ears or horns of each species, differing greatly between the Male and Female variants and showing just how big the feature was going to be. Namely, both the Pikachu and Wobuffett sprites look way different from the ones we actually got in the final games and still see in Sword and Shield.
Instead of just the tail going from the original shape to that of a heart, the cut Pikachu sprite also had the electric mouse with its ears completely flat. Likewise, Wobuffett only kept the lipstick like markings that the female form has around its lips, but the alternate image shows a much longer extension on the back of its head that resembles long hair.
Pokémon like Charizard, Arcanine, and Umbreon also have alternates that were not included in the game at all.
Charizard’s female form would lose the second horn on its head, becoming a mono-horned dragon. Arcananine would have had a less wild mane for the female species that would tame some of the spikey nature the fur on its neck and tail usually has.
Umbreon seems to be one of several Pokémon that would have received shorter ears for the female variant, which doesn’t seem to alter the overall appearance that much. Plusle, Raichu, and Psyduck all received similar changes that barely alter their appearances.
According to Dr. Lava, there is a very high probability that these leaks are legit, not only because of how accurate some of these sprites are to others we have already seen, but also because making sprites this detailed would take hundreds of hours.
“Everyone was looking through old Diamond & Pearl pre-release screenshots, as well as unused sprites found in Gen 4’s internal data,” Dr. Lava said. “The leaked sprites seemed to jive with all known material. If the leak is bogus, and someone made these sprites as a hoax, it must have taken them hundreds of hours, and they must have gone to great effort to make sure their fake sprites matched all the Gen 4 beta sprites currently known.”
You can also see a previously discovered female variant of Mudkip that has a shorter head fin, which is found in the game’s data within the leaks. This matches up with some of the beta information and a lot of the cut forms, so the leak’s legitimacy is pretty high.
Overall, it isn’t a surprise that the gender variations were scaled back so heavily for Diamond and Pearl.
Game Freak would have had to have a team separately develop each different form, get the design approved, and then also make partially animated sprites for each of the 400 plus Pokémon that are capable of having genders in the game. There likely wouldn’t have been any increase in sales just because of the gender variants, and as Dr. Lava points out, it would also make it seem like every Pokémon up to that point was male in the games and anime.
There are currently just over 100 Pokémon with gender variations in the series, with the most recent addition being Indeedee in Sword and Shield.
This isn’t as big as discovering all of the lost Pokémon from the gen one and two games that have been leaked over the last few years but is still a really cool find that adds some depth to a seemingly trivial component of Diamond and Pearl that was still included and continues to stick around.