Collecting Gym badges in the Pokémon series is just what you do, but it wasn’t always planned to be this way.
‘Did You Know Gaming?’ has gone to great lengths to dig up some new information about the popular RPG series – translating 100 pages of the “Japan-only” book ‘Game Freak: The Creative Group Rewriting the Rules in the World of Play‘, written by Game Freak developer Akihito Tomisawa.
Instead of badges, the initial plan for the original Pokémon games was to represent ranks of trainers through coloured belts – similar to martial arts. These belts at one stage were also going to be used as the trainer’s Pokémon whips.
“…The development staff decided humans should have ‘ranks’ as monster trainers. The initial idea was that as the player’s Pokémon reached a certain level of strength, they would earn ‘belts’ like a martial artist.”
“Not just white belts and black belts like in Judo, there should be more colours. Well if you can receive a belt, what if you could use it as a training whip? Like a red whip, or a black whip, or a yellow whip.”
In the end, the team decided it wanted trainers to develop a closer and “friendlier” connection with Pokémon – like a pet, and so it axed this idea and went with badges.
“…ultimately, it was too cruel to make the player whip their Pokémon, so the idea got scrapped. Their relationship with the player should be friendlier, like a pet owner. So eventually it was decided you’d earn badges [instead].”
Although the belt idea didn’t make the cut, whips were still featured in the original game. Red’s didn’t make it in, but various other trainer sprites in the game still featured whips in the final build.
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