The Pokémon 25th anniversary kicked off in earnest today with the 20-minute Pokémon Presents video stream (above). The Pokémon Company showed new gameplay footage of New Pokémon Snap, announced remakes for Gen 4, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and revealed an all-new prequel to Gen 4 called Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
“Trainers caught their first Pokémon in 1996 and began an adventure that has lasted 25 years. Through eight regions, many different platforms, and countless Pokémon encounters, they have strived to be the very best,” said Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO, The Pokémon Company. “We hope that fans of all ages will enjoy creating new memories while exploring the Sinnoh region in these new games.”
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
We knew they were coming but it’s no less exciting – official remakes of the fourth generation of Pokémon games, Diamond and Pearl, which originally launched in 2006 on the Nintendo DS. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl features the 3D, top-down graphical facelift we saw in the Gen 1 remake Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee.
Despite the vastly improved visuals, the world of Sinnoh and classic Pokémon gameplay is largely unchanged, though the website teases new encounters and surprises. Trainers choose one of three starter Pokémon and begin their journey through the region, battling Gym trainers, collecting badges, and training their team.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are due Late 2021 for Nintendo Switch.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
And now for something completely different and unexpected. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is an original adventure that also takes place in the Diamond and Pearl region of Sinnoh. However, it’s set in the past, when the region was first being settled and before the Pokémon League, or even a Pokédex, existed. Even the Pokéballs were made of wood and steam, rather than plastic and metal.
The region is filled with wild roaming Pokémon, similar to the Wild Area of Sword and Shield. For the first time, players can throw Pokéballs outside of combat by sneaking up on Pokémon, while still preserving the classic turn-based battle system.
The three starter Pokémon represent an interesting remix of previous games and regions: Rowlet (Gen 7), Cyndaquil (Gen 2), and Oshawott (Gen 5). Pokémon Legends looks like an exciting new evolution of the Pokémon formula, though we’ll have to wait until Early 2022 for its release.