Pokemon community divided over Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s graphics

Brent Koepp
Screenshot of chibi Dawn from Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Pokemon.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl were finally announced on February 26 after years of fans dying to return to the Sinnoh region. But not everyone is happy with the reveal, with the chibi-style graphics being a hot topic.

After months of “leaks” and rumors, The Pokemon Company finally confirmed that they have been working on a Gen IV remake set to release in late 2021. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl were officially unveiled during a Pokemon Presents conference for the franchise’s 25th anniversary.

Despite the community begging for a Sinnoh reimagining for years, some fans were left disappointed after Game Freak revealed the project’s chibi-art style. The unique graphics have left many furious over what they argue is a major step backward for the series – though equally, a lot of players are excited about the game.

Screenshot of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl chibi protagonists.
The Pokemon community is torn over the Sinnoh remake’s chibi graphics.

Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s graphics divides Pokemon fans

In the 25 years of Pokemon titles, Game Freak has traditionally used remakes to bring older games to the current generation. Take Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire in 2014 for example. The Nintendo 3DS games saw the Hoenn region re-imagined in X & Y’s engine while also incorporating Gen VI features such as Mega Evolutions.

Many fans expected the Sinnoh remakes to similarly be created in the same vein as either Sword & Shield or Let’s Go. However, in a complete curveball move, The Pokemon Company revealed Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl were instead going to be “faithful” ports and not a current-gen update.

Most striking of all is the chibi-style graphics the project is using for the Gen IV makeover. The bold new style sparked backlash from many fans who argued that it was cheap looking, and a step backward compared to ORAS. The debut trailer was quickly met with a flurry of social media posts critical of the graphical direction.

“ORAS on par with Gen 6 and “true to the original”. Diamond and Pearl Remakes – Somehow worse graphically than Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee,” one user wrote. “Okay as much as I really am mega hype for the Diamond & Pearl remakes, I totally thought it was gonna be a mobile release based on the graphics,” another player tweeted.  “Comparing this s**t with Links Awakening is obscene. LA looks like a beautiful toy box. This looks like a bad cellphone game,” someone else said.

Pokemon fans criticize Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl graphics.
Many fans were let down by the Sinnoh remakes using chibi-style graphics.

Popular forums like the r/Pokemon subreddit were flooded with classic memes, many of them mocking the Gen IV remake’s tiny character models. Even those that were excited about the game couldn’t help but pack a few punches at the new art direction.

Screenshot of Reddit memes about Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl graphics.
Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s art style became memes online.

Not all fans were disappointed by the chibi style in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, though. Many in the community praised it for sticking closer to the originals. “Me when I see the Diamond and Pearl remake went with nostalgic style instead of cutting edge graphics,” a Pokemon fan celebrated on Twitter alongside an image of an excited Cinderace. “They’re keeping it true to how DPP was. It’s honestly a damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation. I’m glad they kept it close to the original,” another player tweeted in defense of the project.

Pokemon fans love Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl graphics.
Not everyone was down on the 2021 Gen IV title’s art style.

The reaction the remake’s debut trailer received ranged from players calling the character models “horrifying” to others praising the art style as being “charming” and “nostalgic.” While fans have been waiting years for a Gen IV reimagining, it appears opinions are divided over how it’s being approached.

In another first for the series, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are not even being developed by Game Freak, but are instead being worked on by third-party studio, ILCA. Only time will tell whether the majority of the community will eventually come around to the Sinnoh region’s newest look.

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