This Fan-Made Pokémon Red Project Is The Remake Of Our Dreams

It's been nearly three decades since the original "Pokémon Red and Blue" games were released on the Game Boy in 1996. Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have remade and re-released these games several times in the form of the "FireRed and LeafGreen" and "Let's Go, Pikachu and Let's Go, Eevee" pairs, though all of those games opted for variations on the usual super-deformed art styles of earlier "Pokémon" games rather than something more fleshed out.

Of course, since they're the original games, the idea of remaking them in any other way may seem a bit uncouth, but modern graphical sensibilities offer more than one way to bring a pixelated game into the modern age. Who says a Pokémon game needs to have either squat pixel characters or big-headed chibis? One zealous Pokémon fan, using the Unreal Engine as their canvas, rendered two of Pokémon's most famous locales in the HD-2D style seen in games like "Octopath Traveler."

Pallet and Vermillion, reborn

YouTube user Dott, a 3D pixel artist and designer by trade, used the power of Unreal Engine 5 to recreate two major towns from "Pokémon Red and Blue," Pallet Town and Vermillion City. While the towns share the same general layout as their original counterparts, they feature fully-rendered buildings populated by detailed pixel art characters. These aren't stock assets, either; Dott made original character models for the protagonist Red and various NPCs, as well as several Pokémon like Machop and Pidgey.

Both locales have been touched up to be more reflective of their surrounding terrain and better showcase the lives of those who live there. Pallet Town is a small, rustic village with only a handful of simple houses broken up by wooden fences and patches of lush grass and flowers. Vermillion City features a bustling port flanked by sparkling waters, with the outside of the Vermillion Gym — home turf of Lt. Surge — on full display.

The future of Pokémon remakes?

Dott has not announced any plans to turn these creations into anything more than a fun personal project. In the descriptions of their YouTube videos showcasing the remade towns, they encourage viewers to appreciate them merely as fan art rather than any kind of promise of a playable game. This is probably for the best, as Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are notorious for issuing cease and desist letters and DMCA takedown orders on fan-produced Pokémon games, mods, and projects. 

But while we probably won't get a full fan game in this style, its simple existence has planted a seed of curiosity in the Pokémon-loving public. After all, games like "Octopath Traveler" and "Triangle Strategy" have been praised for their impressive use of both detailed sprite work and fully-rendered locales, so why couldn't Pokémon do the same? This approach could be the middle ground between its pixelated roots and the modern graphical potential that the series has been looking for. Whether that ultimately happens, though, is up to the whims of Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, so for now, let's just appreciate the effort it took to render Pallet and Vermillion in a whole new style.