Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl: Everything we know so far - Dexerto
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Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl: Everything we know so far

Published: 27/Feb/2021 1:42

by Brent Koepp

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The Pokemon franchise is headed back to the Sinnoh region with Gen IV remakes Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Here’s everything you need to know about the wildly-anticipated Nintendo Switch RPG coming out in 2021.

Originally releasing in 2006 on Nintendo DS, Pokemon Diamond & Pearl has grown a massive following ever since. So much so that the community has been begging Game Freak to remake the fourth generation RPGs for years now.

Thankfully, fans won’t have to wait much longer as on February 26, Nintendo officially announced the Gen IV remake’s Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl for Nintendo Switch. Here is everything we know so far about Sinnoh titles.

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Screenshot of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl title.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
The Gen IV Pokemon title is finally getting a remake.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl trailer

Along with its February 26 reveal, The Pokemon Company also provided fans with a quick one-minute debut trailer for Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. The first thing that immediately sticks out in the video is the game’s drastic departure from both 2018’s Let’s Go and 2019’s Sword & Shield.

Instead of reusing a current-gen engine to imagine the games in full 3D, the RPGs are focusing more on being faithful ports and opting for a new “chibi” art style that has never been seen before in the franchise. The closest thing to it graphically is 2016’s X and Y.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl release date

After years of “leaks” and rumors, Game Freak finally confirmed that the Pokemon franchise is in fact revisiting the Sinnoh region once again. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl were officially unveiled during a special 25th anniversary Pokemon Presents presentation.

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Similar to past game announcements, The Pokemon Company did not give the Sinnoh remakes an exact launch date, and instead ended the BDSP debut trailer with “coming soon in late 2021.” Which makes sense given that Gen V, VI, and VII all had a similar rollout with the specific release date being given at a later time.

Since the Nintendo franchise sticks pretty closely to a consistent schedule, we are taking a wild guess that the Diamond & Pearl remakes will launch on Friday, November 19. The past three titles have all launched within that four-day window. Although it should be noted that 2021 has been an unusual year, so it’s unclear how much that has impacted development.

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Screenshot of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
The Diamond & Pearl remake features chibi graphics and up-close battles.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl features

In a major curveball, it was revealed that the Sinnoh remakes are not borrowing anything from Gen 8 – and that includes features. That means we will not be seeing Dynamaxing, the Wild Area, or Raids. As far as what will be included, the trailer was pretty vague, but put an emphasis on it being faithful to the original.

In a press release, Game Freak stated, “People who played Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl can revisit familiar places and relive familiar scenes once more.” While the remake does seem more concerned with sticking to its roots, they also promised that it will have some modern balancing changes.

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“These remakes include easy-to-understand, player-friendly conveniences of the modern Pokémon series, plus up-close-and-personal Pokémon battle scenes,” they said. So we can probably expect things like party XP share and mechanical tweaks. There are also a few multiplayer hints. Here’s the full list of confirmed features so far:

  • Faithful ports of original Diamond & Pearl
  • Modern gameplay tweaks
  • Chibi-style HD graphics
  • Sinnoh Underground
  • Multiplayer lobbies where you can trade and battle (was shown briefly in the trailer)

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl not developed by Game Freak

In a major surprise, Game Freak broke with decades of tradition and handed off the Sinnoh remakes to third-party developer, ILCA. The team had previously worked on Pokemon Home, as well as a list of non-Nintendo releases. Fans shouldn’t be too worried though, as Diamond & Pearl’s original Director Junichi Masuda is leading the project.

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As mentioned above, the Gen IV remakes will have no connections whatsoever to Gen 8. This is surprising because traditionally, Game Freak has used remakes to bring an older title up to date with the latest Generation (such as 2014’s Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire).

Screenshot of Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl new map.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
BDSP promises to be faithful to the original.

There is still a lot we don’t know about Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Given that it’s not even being developed by Game Freak, there are a lot of questions as to how the late 2021 title will shape up to be in its final release.

One thing is for certain is that The Pokemon Company spent most of its debut announcement reassuring fans that this would be a faithful remake, rather than a reimagining like Omega Alpha and Ruby Sapphire.