Skip to main content

A fanged and horned Pikachu was almost unleashed on the world

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Does the Pikachu have large talons? No, it does not, but it apparently almost had them. According to original character illustrator Atsuko Nishida, there was originally a third planned evolution for the electric critter, and it would have been truly terrifying.

Speaking to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri (via Siliconera, currently offline) Nishida revealed that Pikachu’s Raichu evolution was originally going to have another evolution, called Gorochu, which had “bared fangs” and “a pair of horns.”

Raichu is a little less adorable than Pikachu — and much less dumb than Pichu — but the Pokémon isn’t exactly scary. A version of everyone’s favorite little electric mouse with bared fangs may have been too much to bear.

The reason behind the character’s omission from the games, however, has to deal with game balance. No one mouse should have all that power.

But is Pikachu even an electric mouse? According to Nishida, the Pokémon’s design was actually based on a squirrel, particularly its longer tail, which was then turned into a thunderbolt shape to make its electric abilities more apparent.

It certainly does seem to resemble a squirrel in some respects, though Pikachu’s round body and squeaky voice do seem to be closer to a mouse or a hamster than an acorn-loving rodent.

Though Gorochu never made it into any games, a terrifying imposter Pokémon did, which might even be worse. Mimikyu is a disguised creature who resembles a three-year-old’s drawing of Pikachu with crayon, and its disheveled appearance and creepy smile make it truly unsettling to encounter. Mimikyu made its first game appearance in Pokémon Sun and Moon, and also appeared in the updated Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

A full-fledged Pokémon role-playing game is currently in development for Nintendo Switch, which will be the first time a main entry in the series has come to a home console. If you want to play with Pikachu on your Switch right now, you can do so in Pokkén Tournament DX, a fighting game that is an enhanced port of the Wii U original. In addition to Pikachu, the game includes such popular characters as Charizard, Mewtwo, and Machamp.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
Play these 3DS and Wii U games before Nintendo shutters their online features
Captain Falcon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

In April 2024, Nintendo will discontinue online services across its Wii U and 3DS consoles. While the eShops for both systems were shut down in March 2023, this will remove the online functionality of many apps and games, making gaming on either of these platforms an almost entirely offline experience. As a result, many games on those systems will lose important features and never be quite the same to play afterward. So, you'll need to get some gaming time in by next April if you want to refresh and preserve the memories of playing online on these two underdog Nintendo platforms.
While the aforementioned eShop closures make it impossible to buy new games digitally, plenty of games that you likely already own physical copies of or already had downloaded have online features that won't work properly come April 2024. As such, we recommend you play the following games online before the discontinuation of those services next year.
Kid Icarus Uprising

Kid Icarus Uprising is mostly remembered for its entertaining story, charismatic characters, and odd controls, but it also features a surprisingly fun multiplayer experience in Together Mode. In multiplayer, up to six players can use powerful weapons and abilities from the main adventure in one of two modes. Free-for-all lets players loose on a map, tasking them with racking up the most kills within a set time limit. Light vs. Dark is more complex, as two teams of three face off until enough players are defeated that one respawns as an angel; when that powered-up angel is killed, the match is over.
While far from balanced, Kid Icarus Uprising's Together Mode is one of the most entertaining competitive multiplayer experiences exclusive to 3DS. It can be played locally, using bots to fill in empty spots, so thankfully it won't stop working entirely. Still, it's not easy in 2023 to come across multiple people near you who have copies of Kid Icarus Uprising and want to play. As such, check out this cult classic 3DS game's hidden gem of a mode before praying that the rumors of a remaster eventually become true.
Nintendo Badge Arcade

Read more
Detective Pikachu Returns: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more
Pikachu with detective cap smiling and drinking coffee cup

One of the more forgotten entries in the monster-catching franchise is also the most unique. Detective Pikachu was originally a 3DS game (and a feature film) that cast Pikachu as a smooth-talking (that's right, he talks!) detective who teams up with a kid named Tim Goodman to solve various mysteries. Rather than play like an RPG, this entry was more of an adventure game, focusing on story and, naturally, solving mysteries. After the success of the game and film, it was only a matter of time before a sequel game was announced. The wait turned out to be quite a bit longer than many expected, but now that Detective Pikachu Returns has been officially announced, we've put on our caps and collected all the clues about this upcoming adventure.
Release date

Detective Pikachu Returns is right around the corner. The game will launch on October 6, 2023.

Read more
Pokémon Stadium 2 and Trading Card Game are now on Switch with online play
Ash holds a Pokeball while a lot of iconic Pokemon stand behind him.

Nintendo Switch Online just added two retro classics, as Pokémon Stadium 2 and Pokémon Trading Card Game are now available on the service. Both games have been updated to feature online multiplayer.

Both announcements come from today's Pokémon Presents stream, which primarily focused on updates to mobile games and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Nintendo Switch Online got a small block during the presentation, when it was revealed that the two games were dropping on Switch shortly after the stream.

Read more