Earlier this year, The Pokemon Company finally announced Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the long-awaited remakes of the fan-favourite Nintendo DS games that dedicated Pokemon trainers have been waiting for since the release of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in 2014.
These games will be the first in the mainline series – remake or not – to be developed by a studio other than Pokemon creators and wardens, Game Freak. Instead, Game Freak has outsourced development to a Japanese studio called ILCA (or ‘I Love Computer Art’, actually started as an animation, film and TV studio, moving to incorporate game development later). Devout Pokemon fanatics, don’t worry too much, though: Junichi Masuda will be overseeing production of the remakes, and is charged with making sure ILCA doesn’t deviate too far from what made generations of people fall in love with Pokemon in the first place.
Though we’ve got a new studio looking after the reinvention of the highly-regarded fourth-generation games, Nintendo and Game Freak are ensuring that these titles are faithful to the original Pokemon Diamond and Pearl releases. That means they will feature the same story, and have the same mechanics and features, but will come fully equipped with the latest improvements in gameplay, higher-fidelity graphics, and more. It’s everything you loved about the originals, retuned and upgraded for modern hardware.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl release date
The Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl release date is set for November 19, 2021.
This date was announced when Nintendo revealed the pair of Sinnoh remakes during its Pokemon 25th-anniversary presentation. At the same time, we heard about the more experimental and fascinating open-world Pokemon game, Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
The games will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
What are the Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Starter Pokemon?
As in the original games, you will be able to choose from three starter Pokemon:
- Piplup – A Water-type penguin Pokémon
- Chimchar – A Fire-type monkey Pokémon
- Turtwig – A Grass-type turtle Pokémon
The game will reintroduce creatures such as Drifloon, Arceus, Lucario, and more besides. It is not yet confirmed whether gameplay mechanics introduced in later generations – Z Moves, Mega Evolutions, and so on – will appear in the games.
Once you’ve progressed in the game to a certain point, you can choose just one Pokemon that you’ve befriended at a time to walk along behind you (a feature first introduced in Pokemon Yellow).
Any Pokemon that appears in these games can walk with you, so choose your favorite to travel with you through the Sinnoh region as you visit lots of places and make memories together – whether this is your starter or not, you’ll get to see them follow you and interact with you as you explore the world.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl trailers
The announcement video shows the game evolving from the Nintendo DS version to a fully 3D experience with a more interactive interface. Many familiar faces make a brief appearance, albeit with updated character design.
Some users have criticized the new ‘chibi’ art style, and mentioned that it is something of a deviation from what we’re used to seeing in Pokemon, whilst others have complemented the change in direction and applauded the new approach to the series.
What do you think? Check out below to see it for yourself.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl – New features
There’s a couple of new things coming to the remakes that mean they will not be 1:1 redos of the original.
Customization: First up, there’s player customization. Similar to the majority of other modern Pokemon games, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will allow you to alter your outfits and your Pokeballs. By slapping stickers and other items on your balls (careful now), you can alter the appearance of your Pokemon when they appear in battle. Sending a Chatot in? Make some musical notes appear around it. Flinging in a Pikachu? Lil’ zaps of electric.
The Grand Underground: The Grand Underground area has also been altered. You can drop down into the underground area from outside areas in the above map, and from there you can establish a secret base. In the remakes, you’ve been given the opportunity to place various Pokemon statues in your secret base, and how you decorate your lair will affect the Pokemon that show up in the Grand Underground hideouts areas. As per Nintendo, this is the only way you’ll be able to catch certain Pokemon in the game (the video shows off a Houndoom as an example of this.
Some of the walls in the Grand Underground can be dug into, using a sledgehammer and a pickax. By digging into them, you can find things like useful items for your adventure and valuable Pokémon Fossils, as well as new Pokémon statues that have been added to these games.
“The Underground from Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl has been powered up for these games, and is now called the Grand Underground,” says a note on the game site. “The Grand Underground is a vast subterranean world that spreads out like a maze beneath the entire Sinnoh region.”
Pokémon Hideaways come with a variety of different terrains ranging from still-water caverns to volcanic landscapes, with different Pokémon living in each type of environment. Among the Pokémon that inhabit the Sinnoh region, there are some Pokémon that can only be found in these Pokémon Hideaways.
You can interact with Trainers all over the world through your Nintendo Switch system’s local communication or online communication. As well as adventuring together in the Grand Underground, you can also dig for Fossils together with other Trainers, too – possibly letting you find and recover rare Pokemon in the process.
Updated Super Contests: Super Contest Shows are popular performances in Sinnoh, each put on by four performers and their Pokemon, who work together to show off their performance skills. During the show, you can dress up in your favorite outfit, and your Pokemon will dance, making for an altogether different experience from their usual battles of strength. Up to four people can participate together, so you can show off your best performance with your friends to really wow the crowd!
Super Contest Shows are judged based on a Visual Evaluation, a Dance Evaluation, and a Move Evaluation. You can receive Hype Points based on your evaluations, and if the combined total of all four performers’ Hype Points reaches a target score, the show will be declared a success – it’s a similar (but more involved) version of how the whole thing worked back in the original versions of the games.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl – Gameplay differences
There’s plenty of major and minor additions coming to the games, revealed through various previews, so we rounded up the details in a dedicated article back in October. We’ve included a quick rundown for you below, too.
By far the biggest is that the fairly recent change to Exp. Share – where experience is evenly distributed between the whole party – is present in both the Diamond and Pearl remakes. It’s available from the start of the game and can’t be disabled, just like in the Sword and Shield games.
Pokémon storage will also come with an updated change, as players will be able to switch out their team with Pokémon in the PC at any time. There’s even an autosave feature, which wasn’t present in the 2006 originals, but this can be switched off.
HMs are also back, but you won’t be needing to catch a Bidoof and turn it into a vehicle for world traversal this time, as HMs will call on a wild Pokémon to perform the action instead. TMs will be going back to being single use, but players can obtain more of them to use throughout the game.
Some other quality of life changes from the 15 years since Diamond and Pearl are also present in the remakes, such as having discovered type effectiveness displayed during battle, meaning once players figure out what is super effective, the game will keep them informed.