Yep, you read that right. During the localisation of Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue, American staff gave proposed redesigns for Pikachu in the west as “something like a tiger with huge breasts”. This was at a time in the 90s where Japanese developers were unsure whether Pokemon would be received well in the west.
Here’s the quote from Tsunekazu Ishihara:
“… At the time, it was widely believed that American kids would never want to play games with a lot of text, (so) we thought Pokemon only had about 10% chance of success outside Japan. […] The first time we showed off some Pokemon in the US, we were told they were ‘too cute.’
… The staff in America submitted their ideas for replacement designs, but we just couldn’t believe the kind of stuff they were proposing. They turned Pikachu into something like a tiger with huge breasts. It looked like a character from the musical Cats. When I asked ‘how is this supposed to be Pikachu?’, they said ‘Well look, there’s its tail right there’ … Seriously, that was the kind of stuff being proposed.”
This quote and information comes from a new video from Did You Know Gaming?, which can be viewed here: