For the past 22 years, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have released 18 core entries in the Pokemon franchise on a near-annual basis, having only skipped releasing a new game in 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2015, since Pokemon Red and Blue's debut in '98. As fans eagerly await the release of the next generation of Pokemon, it's hard not to think about what's coming after Pokemon Sword and Shield?
One major question on everyone's mind is whether Pokemon Diamond and Pearl remakes could be on the horizon? Developer Game Freak has released remakes of the first three generations of Pokemon throughout the years as a way to fill in the gaps between releases, including Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee which is technically the second remake of the first-generation. With the upcoming eighth-generation releasing next month, if there was ever a good time to look at remaking Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, it's now.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl released back in 2007, marking the first core RPG games in the franchise to reach Nintendo's latest hand-held at the time, the Nintendo DS. Set in a brand new region called Sinnoh, Diamond and Pearl were the first games in the fourth-generation and introduced 107 new Pokemon, the new enemy faction Team Galactic, online play, and featured the most Legendary Pokemon the series had seen in a single generation with a whopping 14!
Game Freak followed up with Pokemon Platinum in 2009, described as the "ultimate" version of the game, receiving widespread praise from critics for being more than just a clone of Diamond and Pearl, and one of the best games on the system. Between the three games, the fourth generation introduced a lot of great features into the series that when put together, create one of the most complete packages the franchise has ever seen.
The ability to play online is a standard in Pokemon now for battling players and trading different pocket monsters but there was a time where it wasn't. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were the first games to fully integrate online play and featured a hub-world called WiFi Plaza, similar to Destiny 2's Tower location. As for things to do, Diamond and Pearl saw the return of the Battle Frontier from Pokemon Emerald, added an alternate dimension called the Distortion World, and added the Sinnoh Underground - a new environment used for mining items such as fossils, creating secret bases, and other mini-games.
Unfortunately, not all of the new systems worked. One thing that could be removed entirely is the Pokétch Smart-Watch - a new gimmick made to take advantage of the Nintendo DS' second screen, that could be used as a clock, a calculator, an in-game map, a step counter, or a drawing pad. Since the Nintendo Switch doesn't have a second screen, it wouldn't be hard to work around just like the Link's Awakening removal of the Camera Shop.
Overall, the fourth-generation of Pokemon games were very well received and hold a score of 85 out of 100 on both Metacritic and GameRankings. Sure, the typical Pokemon formula had begun to outstay its welcome and was in desperate need of a shake-up in the next entries, but Pokemon Diamond and Pearl offered the most complete and well-rounded versions of everything that came before them. Not to mention, the Pokemon Platinum National Dex allowed players to own every Pokemon on a single game if they had the means to trade them over.
Which brings us to the reason why Pokemon Diamond and Pearl need to be remade soon. First of all, the fourth generation is next in line to be remade - Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green released in 2004 for GameBoy Advance, HeartGold and SoulSilver in 2010 for Nintendo DS and Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire in 2014 for Nintendo 3DS. The fourth-generation of Pokemon has already been added to the ever-growing Pokemon GO with a new Regigigas event coming soon, and the Sinnoh region is expected to reappear in the next season of the Pokemon anime.
The most convincing bit of evidence that Pokemon Diamond and Pearl remakes are on the way came in the form of merchandise that leaked towards the end of September. According to PokeShopper owner Paul Ryan, multiple retailers have public listings for new merchandise in 2020 that are themed after Pokemon from the fourth-generation. And these listings appear to follow a very familiar trend, as first-generation themed Pokemon merchandise preceded the release of Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee.
The Pokemon Company could release the remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl next year in November 2020, giving Game Freak additional time to work on either a Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee sequel, which would reimagine Pokemon Crystal, or the enhanced follow up to Pokemon Sword and Shield in November 2021.
Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee were the first Pokemon games to reach the Nintendo Switch, releasing over a year after the console released to help with the development time of Pokemon Sword and Shield. Once the eighth generation releases in the middle of next month, remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl could be a great way to fill in the gap before the next big sequel.
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield release on November 15, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.