According to this interview with veteran Pokémon graphic artist Atsuko Nishida, The game’s creators originally had very different plans for everyone’s favorite electric rodent.
First, Nishida revealed that he designed the original Pikachu after a squirrel he wished he could keep as a pet. He says he tried to hide Pikachu at first, making him a rare breed because he “didn’t want to let other people touch Pikachu as much as possible”
That’s understandable, but here’s what has Poke-stans going wild: initially, the evolution of Pikachu was supposed to be Pikachu >>> Raichu >>> Gorochu.
According to Nishida, Gorochu had “fangs and two horns” but the development team removed the character to “maintain game balance” — whatever that means.
Atsuko Nishida (graphic artist who's helped design several Pokemon and key characters) revealed in an interview w/Yomiuri Shimbun that Pikachu was, at the beginning, designed after a squirrel she wanted to keep as a pet https://t.co/bi6AXE2Fgxpic.twitter.com/os7BRh0mpo
omg this interview is the best: in the game series, the game planner "hid" Pikachu (making it a rare pokemon) because he loved it so much he "didn't want to let other people touch Pikachu as much as possible"
also revealed in the interview: initially, the evolution of Pikachu was supposed to be Pikachu→Raichu→Gorochu (wonder what it would've been named in other languages!!). Gorochu had "fangs and two horns" but the development team had to take it out to maintain game balance
Super-stan @lusamine almost lost it when she heard the news. She demanded her followers create visual versions of this forgotten Pokémon immediately in a caps-lock-laden message.
”Apparently pikachu was supposed to have a third evolution called gorochu?!?!,” she typed frantically. “WTF… IT WAS GOING TO HAVE HORNS AND FANGS… ART WORK OF IT HAS NEVER COME OUT THO… SHOW ME. GOROCHU… YOU COWARDS.”
Lo and behold, the tweets responded to her to demands.
Flip the page to see some fan art renderings of what Pika’s future self “Gorochu” would look like if he didn’t get scrapped at the drawing board.