Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are the upcoming remakes of the 4th Generation Pokemon games. Formally announced in February 2021, fans of the series have been predicting these games were being remade for some time. The Sinnoh-set games are beloved by a large portion of the Pokemon fanbase, and there’s a lot of anticipation surrounding the remakes when they release in late 2021. The remakes have a chance to improve upon certain criticized aspects of the original Diamond and Pearl games while also reintegrating a feature that was dropped by Pokemon Sword and Shield.
Pokemon Sword and Shield were the first mainline Pokemon games to be released on a Nintendo home console, albeit the Switch being a hybrid console. Sword and Shield introduced some new elements to the series, such as the Wild Area, an open world area, and a host of new Pokemon for players to collect. Game Freak did, however, make some changes that weren’t looked upon too fondly by certain aspects of the fandom. The developer decided to remove the National Pokedex, the encyclopedia which encompasses pocket monsters from different regions. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are in a position to bring this feature back.
The National Pokedex is a lauded feature in past Pokemon games. It generally can’t be unlocked until the post-game period after the player has defeated the Elite Four and become champion of the region. However, once it’s unlocked, gamers get access to multitudes more Pokemon to catch, battle, and raise.
It’s commonly considered to be a worthwhile shake-up of available monsters in a given region, providing players with more of a reason to play on after the main story has been completed. With Sword and Shield, fans became limited to Pokemon who were featured as a part of the Pokedex a player gains access to at the start of the game. The controversy around removing the National Pokedex wasn’t lost on Game Freak, who has publicly acknowledged fan frustrations with its removal.
This change didn’t just mean that a wider variety of Pokemon couldn’t be accessed, it also meant that gamers couldn’t bring forward creatures they’ve had for years in previous games. Players have had access to Pokemon Bank for transferring monsters between the 3DS games, and Pokemon Home for the Switch titles and Pokemon Go.
Through careful use of Pokemon Bank and Pokemon Home, gamers can transfer creatures to Sword and Shield, but it can only be a select few available in the Pokedex for the game. This decision removed the ability to use a full Pokemon collection for some players and affected the enjoyment of Sword and Shield for a lot of gamers. Future Pokemon games are unlikely to feature the return of the National Pokedex, but some fans are hoping this only applies to mainline entries in the series.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl look like faithful remakes based on the reveal trailer. The visuals aren’t wildly different and retain a familiar perspective while traversing the overworld. Fans are hoping that the games will be similarly traditional with their features, including the National Pokedex.
A return of the National Dex would allow players to experience Sinnoh in a way that hasn’t been done before, by having a wider variety of Pokemon to access for familiar challenges. Monsters that came after Generation 4 could be integrated into the games, and players would have a chance to experience fresh takes on favorite gym battles, the Elite Four, and the various other challenges that Sinnoh presents gamers with. One of the main reasons gamers want to see the National Pokedex return is the vast collections of Pokemon that some have.
It’s not unusual for active, longtime fans of the franchise to have built impressive monster collections which span generations of games. Sword and Shield hindered the ability for players to completely use their Pokemon reserves, and many gamers would love to see this changed in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Interestingly, the developer of the remakes is ILCA, the same group that developed the Pokemon Home app. While it’s purely speculative, this could bode well for the Diamond and Pearl remakes integrating with the Pokemon Home application.
While it has been stated by a Sword and Shield producer, Junichi Masuda, that future games won’t contain a National Pokedex, it might not be as cut and dry as that. The removal of the feature is known within the gaming industry as a divisive move. Game Freak has also been actively looking for feedback from fans, which could help shape future games in the franchise. While there are few details known about Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl at the moment, it’s not impossible that fan response could have led to a course correction for the franchise. A re-added National Pokedex could help gain even more interest from Pokemon fans in the upcoming remakes.
The future of the Pokemon franchise is anyone’s guess, but the series has continued to have a strong foothold in its traditions dating back to the original Red, Blue, and Green games. While Junichi Masuda has stated that future games won’t feature the National Pokedex, this might have been about mainline games and not remakes or spinoffs. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are set to be the next entries in the series and it’s currently unknown if these titles will be considered a part of the 9th Generation. Many fans are hoping that the National Pokedex will return, and there could be some value in ILCA reintroducing it.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but Pokemon fans remain hopeful for the inclusion of a National Pokedex.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are set for release in late 2021 on Nintendo Switch.