Pikachu now stands as the world's most famous electric rat, but had Nintendo been more inclined to accept outside advice, the little yellow cash cow may have been less "cuddly" and more "hideously terrifying."

During the initial development of Pokemon, the company was repeatedly warned away from the series' now-trademark adorable aesthetic, according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. "This cute yellow thing is not a monster, everyone told us," Iwata recalled. Concept art of a muscular, more vicious Pikachu was drafted, but Hiroshi Yamauchi, the president of Nintendo at the time, refused to change the initial design to make the creature a more traditional (pocket) monster.

"When you adapt too much, you lose what's unique about you," noted Iwata.

Despite his anecdote about the power of sticking to one's guns, Iwata told the Wall Street Journal that Nintendo has to make more of an effort to cater to stereotypically Western tastes if it hopes to survive the company's current dire financial straits. "We need to work even more closely with the U.S. team," Iwata said, noting that "[i]t's all about balance."
[Image: The Pokemon Company]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.