AI-designed Pokémon Gen 4 starters create a beautiful nightmare
When Gen. 4 starts from Shiny Diamond and Shiny Pearl Pokémon are drawn by AI, things can get very weird, very fast. Nintendo Switch remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl take place in the Sinnoh region and feature the starter Pokémon Turtwig, Chimchar, and Piplup. These evolving Pokémon Turtle, Monkey, and Penguin bloodlines follow the traditional Grass, Fire, and Water type triangle and become two Grass / Earth, Fire / Fighting, and Water / Steel types when fully evolved.
There are tools online that allow people to type in words and have an AI generate an image based on what has been written. Different styles and artistic themes, such as pastel or engraving, can also be selected to better distinguish each piece. The results range from unique abstract works to disturbing images of an AI attempting to recreate a human-made design. This is especially the case with Sinnoh’s starter Pokémon.
Entering a particularly popular Pokémon in WOMBO’s Dream app will usually result in the right overall shape and color scheme, as there is more information for the AI to collect. Sinnoh’s entrees, while highly regarded, aren’t as renowned as long-standing classics like Pikachu and Charizard. Letting the Dream app generate images based on the Sinnoh starter Pokémon results in images that are interesting “what if” designs as well as images that are downright outrageous. Whatever the outcome, however, it’s fun to speculate on what types of Pokémon the Sinnoh Starters would have been – or what kind of games. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl would have been – if these designs were the real deal.
AI-drawn Pokémon Turtwig is more aquatic
A quiet starting Pokémon Turtwig looms over a lake. Although it still looks like a plant, it seems to be in more and more contact with its aquatic roots. Water is, after all, a necessity for all life, but especially for this Turtle Pokémon. A starting Pokémon with two starting types is unprecedented, but anything is possible in this fiction Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, including a Grass and Water type Turtle.
Grotle: a smiling Pokémon designed by AI
One of Pokemon ‘The Biggest Unsolved Mysteries: What Exactly Is Grotle Smiling At? As professors have pondered this conundrum for generations, Grotle continues to smile. In reality, Grotle seeks to teach the world an important lesson: why we smile isn’t what’s important, but that they continue to smile and give their whole lives.
This particular Grotle doesn’t seem to have a clear connection to Grass typing right away. That’s not much of a problem, though, as Grotle is one of the “goofy mid-stage” evolutionary Pokémon that tend to show up in the starting lines. Grotle will always fit in and keep smiling all day long.
Torterra, the mainland (floating) Pokémon drawn by the AI
Torterra, known as the Pokémon of the Mainland, has finally taken off. This version of Torterra seems appropriate for the last world of a Final fantasy title as part of the earth rises where only the best airships can reach. Maybe if the Pokemon the series has become a fantastic setting, this version of Torterra might have some relevance to the story at the end of the games. A similar scene featuring the giant Torterra made an appearance in the Detective Pikachu film, so Torterra as a literal continent is not unknown. This Torterra took on an almost fish-like appearance, continuing after the AI-designed Turtwig was connected to the water. So far, Lotad, Shadow, and Ludicolo are the only Pokémon to have both Grass and Water types, making them a rare and exciting choice for this AI-designed Torterra.
AI-designed Chimchar Pokémon bursts into flames
This AI-designed Chimchar appears much more reptilian than simian in nature. His back is turned as he pushes his way through an abyss of fire. What will Chimchar find there? What is he even looking for? A sense of self, perhaps? Or something more? While not entirely unique, as the Fire strike already has an iconic reptilian in the form of the Charizard line, Chimchar’s AI-drawn stature still gives it a Pokémon vibe.
AI-designed Monferno becomes a skyscraper Pokémon
Monferno as drawn by the AI takes all of the “Pokémon vibes” from the previous Chimchar and throws them out a very high window, as even the Shard-inspired Duraludon doesn’t look as architectural as the resulting image of Monferno . Maybe tired of falling into the Fire / Fighting starter pattern that faced the Pokemon games starting with Ruby and sapphire all the way up Black and white, the AI’s take on Monferno would definitely be Fire / Steel. This type is even rarer than Water / Grass, with only one species of Pokémon boasting of it to this day: Sinnoh’s Heatran.
Infernape Drawn By AI is a small cat-like Pokémon
Maybe the Monferno skyscraper days were just a phase because the AI Infernape doesn’t appear to be of the same evolutionary lineage of Pokémon at all. He appears to have the face of a cat and the body of a bird, sitting in a field. It’s actually quite cute, which makes it more appropriate as part of the evolutionary AI-designed Chimchar line rather than Monferno’s.
This scalable line is one where human choice would be required to remove Monferno and possibly use it as a standalone design rather than allowing the stages to remain as is. Without the skyscraper, the AI-drawn Chimchar and Infernape Pokémon feel like they could be an adorable duo of Pokémon. Infernape would be the intermediate evolution, with a final evolution to follow.
Piplup is still an icy penguin Pokémon when designed by AI
The AI’s take on Piplup is a charming penguin surrounded by snow and lights. Although the first stage of the starting Pokémon evolution lines has always been one-design starting with Gold and silver, Red and Blue Pokémon had a dual-type starter with the Grass and Poison-type Bulbasaur Pokémon. It wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented for this version of Piplup to be Water / Ice. The touches of red in the design give it a unique visual element to distinguish it from a simple penguin.
AI struggles to design the Pokémon Prinplup
When the AI tries to draw Prinplup, the Pokémon evolution of Piplup, all that appears is darkness with a glow of light. Prinplup is another “goofy mid-stage” evolutionary Pokémon; like a lot of people’s “awkward teenage years”, maybe the AI-designed Piplup line wants to forget about those often embarrassing moments. Maybe he has already forgotten them. But the bright light promises Empoleon will emerge from the darkness.
AI-designed Empoleon is a more spooky Penguin Pokémon
Maybe Empoleon should have stayed in hiding because this interpretation of AI is quite frightening. Instead of lights like in Piplup’s play, there are dark figures in the distance behind Empoleon. With a stern gaze of a glowing yellow eye, this Empoleon could easily be a Dark and Water type like the X and Y Greninja starter Pokémon. Without the unspoken rule that newbies retain their original type, this Empoleon might even be Dark and Ice type, a combination shared only by Sneasel and Weavile. But even as a dark type, this disturbing design would have to be reworked in the signature series art style to fit into a game like Shiny Diamond and Shiny Pearl Pokémon, where even “spooky” designs like Giratina seem to come from the same environment as cuter designs like Pachirisu and Gible.
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