Blaziken's design was meant to 'push the envelope' and see what fans would accept from Pokémon designs
The one that started it all
There are hundreds of Pokémon in the official Pokédex, and a number of them are pretty outlandish. There are designs that utilize a number of human elements, Pokémon that look exactly like real-world items, and others that are extremely outlandish. There’s no fear of experimentation with Pokémon designs at Game Freak, and it seems we have the design of Blaziken to thank for this direction.
In the latest episode of Did You Know Gaming, we get to hear a lot about the creation of Pokémon for Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. This includes talk of Blaziken, which was created by long-time Pokémon artist Ken Sugimori. According to Sugimori, Blaziken was created with the purpose of seeing if fans would accept a Pokémon with more human-like features.
“I thought about how wide the variety of Pokémon could be and wanted to push the envelope of what would be accepted. So the first one I made was Blaziken. I wondered if people would go for such a humanoid Pokémon, I was intentionally testing the waters. Over the years we’ve developed an image of what a Pokémon looks like, but this time we decided to push those boundaries and weaken the idea of what can’t be a Pokémon. Ruby and Sapphire was [about] taking on new inspirations for Pokémon unlike anything we used before.”
Fans definitely accepted Blaziken, so the push to be more bold with Pokémon designs continued from thereout. If fans met Blaziken with major backlash, you have to wonder what today’s Pokémon designs would look like!