Revealed: Pokémon Legends: Arceus & Pokemon Brillant Diamond and Shiny Pearl
Over the past weekend, the multi-billion dollar media franchise Pokémon celebrated its quarter century on February 27th.
During the celebrations, Pokemon fans were treated with major announcements, returning the series to the Sinnoh region (a fictionalised Hokkaido).
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Set in a Meiji period of Sinnoh (the setting of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum), Pokemon Legends: Arceus ushers in the series’ first-ever open world adventure.
Comparisons have been made to Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in its art direction, cinematic cut scenes and open-world design. Fans have long clamored for an open world Pokemon that steers away from the linear progression design of previous series entries over the past twenty years.
Little is revealed about the story, expect that the titular Pokemon Arceus will play a central role. The trailer gave viewers glimpses of starter Pokémon from various generations: Cyndaquil (Generation 2), Oshawott (Generation 5) and Rowlett (Generation 6). The male and female protagonists are dressed in Meiji period clothing and bear resemblances to the Diamond and Pearl playable characters.
Developed by Game Freak, it is unclear of whether Legends will supersede the series’ tradition of dual titles (i.e. Sun and Moon or Sword and Shield) or begins a new spinoff series.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus has a release window of early 2022 for the Nintendo Switch.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shiny Pearl
Widely speculated and long anticipated by fans, the remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl titled Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shiny Pearl were announced for the Nintendo Switch for late 2021.
The original titles released in Japan in 2006 and worldwide in 2007 on the Nintendo DS, brought many changes to the series such as a physical/special split to battle mechanics, wireless multiplayer and 107 new Pokémon.
The influence of Zelda is again witnessed, as Brilliant Diamond and Shiny Pearl have been compared to the remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Adventure on Nintendo Switch. It boils down to their Chibi-inspired art direction (Chibi is Japanese slang for short), that has polarised fans, with derision arising for not adopting modern art styles established by Pokemon Sword and Shield or Pokemon Let’s Go: Pikachu and Eevee. Previous Pokemon remakes had built upon the then-current generation’s graphic/art style.
For the first time, remakes as well as being mainline entries have been outsourced to another studio to develop the titles. Founded in 2010, ILCA is a Japanese support studio for developers, working on titles such Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, Dragon Quest XI and NieR: AutoMata. Specialising in CG rendering, concept art and game development, ILCA were also responsible for Pokemon Home.
Considering Game Freak has its hands full on the large scale Pokemon Legends: Arceus, outsourcing development on the remakes would come as no surprise. Veteran series director Junichi Masuda will oversee development.