Pokémon announces remakes ‘Brilliant Diamond,’ ‘Shining Pearl’ and new ‘Arceus’ game

Icons for the Pokemon games 'Brilliant Diamond' (left) and 'Shining Pearl' (right), remakes of the popular generation four Pokémon games 'Diamond' (2006) and 'Pearl' (2006), are pictured. Courtesy Wikipedia
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The Pokémon Company finally announced its most anticipated games of the past 25 years on Feb. 26. The franchise celebrated its 25th anniversary with many things — like the surprisingly fun virtual Post Malone concert — but the crown jewels of the commemoration were the “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond” (2021), “Pokémon Shining Pearl” (2021) and “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” (2022) game announcements.

While the first two have long been on fans’ wish lists, the “Arceus” game came as a welcome surprise.

“Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” are remakes of the popular Generation IV Pokémon games, “Diamond” (2006) and “Pearl” (2006). Both are set in the Sinnoh region, a gorgeous environment with a large and expansive mountain, Mt. Coronet, that spreads throughout the land.

“Diamond” and “Pearl,” along with their enhancement, “Pokémon Platinum” (2008), were well received by fans and critics alike. They’re the third highest selling Pokémon games ever and caused key features of the franchise, like worldwide competitive battling, to take off.

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Over the past decade, the love for “Diamond,” “Pearl” and “Platinum” has only grown (see communities online like Sinnoh Shitpost on Twitter). Their successful releases were certainly boosted by the extreme popularity of the Nintendo DS system, which is still the bestselling handheld game console. But Sinnoh’s legacy sprouted in many ways: Fans online and in person share memories, enjoy the absolutely perfect soundtrack, compare the games to subsequent Pokémon endeavors and pray for remakes.

That last aspect is crucial: Since the franchise remade the original “Red” (1996) and “Green” (1996) games into “FireRed” (2004) and “LeafGreen” (2004), each generation has received a remake series with updated graphics, layouts, features, gameplay and Pokémon. After “Omega Ruby” (2014) and “Alpha Sapphire” (2014) — remakes of the Generation IIIHoenn games — were released, the countdown for Sinnoh remakes began. It was only a matter of time.

And with each Pokémon announcement and fake rumor, the hype continued to build. The fan speculation became so widespread that it fueled countless memes; “Sinnoh confirmed” became a way to not only poke fun at desperate fans, but also acknowledge that the success of “Diamond” and “Pearl” had spawned dedication and impact unlike any previous Pokémon game, except for the originals.

After 15 years, the remakes finally came: “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” were announced for the Nintendo Switch console via a Pokémon Presents video. They were described as “faithful” remakes, which led to confusion over whether they were the originals remastered or would include new features to differentiate them.

It makes sense that Pokémon would focus on providing Sinnoh fans a faithful remake, especially considering the company’s most recent mainline games “Sword” (2019) and “Shield” (2019) were released amid controversy surrounding their graphics, available Pokémon and story. For Pokémon, playing it safe with Sinnoh is a smart way to move past that.

But even with safety, there’s still backlash. Some fans disliked the remakes’ cute “chibi” art style, especially after the impressive graphics of the recent Kanto remakes “Let’s Go, Pikachu!” (2018) and “Let’s Go, Eevee!” (2018). The style was criticized as “cheap,” and the overworld’s small chibi players have already become a meme.

But with Pokémon’s goal of faithfulness comes a focus on the more classic look of past games, which did often feature 2D, almost chibi-like graphics and style. The art is less so unappealing than it is a reminder that the franchise is trying to make “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” nostalgic and lovable remakes of the popular original games.

Of course, fans were not expecting Pokémon to follow the remakes with a second game (well, unless they read the pretty accurate leaks before the late February announcement). “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” is a new type of Pokémon adventure, an open-world game set long in the past. It is seemingly feudal Japan-inspired, with gated towns and an objective to create Sinnoh’s first Pokédex.

“Arceus” has already been compared to “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (2017), as both have similar art styles and gameplay.

But the key aspect of “Arceus” is its mysterious connection with the titular mythical Pokémon, who is — in Pokémon canon — thought to be the creator of the Pokémon universe. Will fans finally be able to catch Arceus outside of a special event? Or is the Pokémon’s role much more mysterious and important than that?

The game doesn’t release on the Nintendo Switch until 2022, so there’s plenty of time to speculate and guess.

Regardless, Pokémon’s announcement finally confirmed Sinnoh remakes. All three games, “Brilliant Diamond,” “Shining Pearl” and “Arceus,” serve as exciting new chapters in Pokémon that both acknowledge the nostalgic past and point toward a bright future.

 

 

 

 

 

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