Unown asks:

There are rumors that (well by the time you answer this maybe it’ll be announced) this month will reveal diamond and pearl remakes. What would you hope to see implemented in the remakes?

So… I am on the record as not seeing any particular need for remakes of Diamond and Pearl, and I don’t think I’ve changed my mind about that.  But we’ll probably get them eventually, whether that’s this year or at some later point, so just for the sake of argument let’s talk about it.

The whole notion of a Diamond and Pearl remake poses a couple of challenges to me, conceptually.  For one, other than the addition of the Fairy type there haven’t really been any fundamental changes to Pokémon’s battle system since generation IV, so there isn’t really a pressing need to update the gameplay; for another, generation IV’s sprite graphics are kinda fine, they’re in full colour and have some 3D perspective, so I don’t think there’s a pressing need to update the graphics either.  At the same time, these remakes, if they are indeed coming (and incidentally I’d like to point out that we have no official confirmation of this yet), will be part of generation VIII and have to use the same style and features – and… well, where in Sinnoh do you put a “wild area” (maybe the “battle frontier” island in the northeast?)?  How do you work Dynamaxing into Sinnoh, when it’s so closely tied to the physical landscape of Galar and the Galarian culture of Pokémon battling as a mass spectator sport?  Will the cities of Sinnoh have Galarian stadiums to accommodate Dynamax battles?  Will all the grid-based area maps from Sinnoh have to be redesigned completely with naturalistic curves like those of Alola and Galar? As a designer, why put yourself through that?  Honestly if Nintendo wants to cash in on Diamond and Pearl nostalgia my first inclination would be to just put out a virtual re-release for the Switch (and, y’know, bring the 3DS virtual console releases of Red and Blue and Gold and Silver to the Switch too while you’re at it; I promise I’ll buy them).  The trouble is the Switch doesn’t have a separate lower touch screen and you’d have to rework all those interactions.  I mean, you’d have to do that for a remake too, but it probably feels like less of a pain in the butt if you’re committed to rebuilding the whole UI anyway.

I’m prepared to be wrong about all this; like, I was also sceptical that there was any point to Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, but ultimately the result worked and I think I enjoyed it better than either X and Y or the original Ruby and Sapphire.  So maybe it’s worth looking at what those games did right: they revised the story and gave the characters more depth (which the previous two sets of remakes, for the most part, didn’t do); they integrated the generational flagship mechanic, Mega Evolution, into the story surprisingly effectively; they completely redesigned a couple of areas like Mauville City to make better use of the 3DS’s more advanced graphical capabilities.  The story of Diamond and Pearl, in particular, is something I have a few issues with – the central conflict feels very abstract in the same way as Ruby and Sapphire’s did; Team Galactic’s motives are vague and confusing; there seem to be background themes of energy and evolution that don’t go anywhere; the legendary Pokémon represent all these big, powerful concepts like Time and Emotion that seem like they ought to mean something significant, but I’ll be damned if I know what it is. I almost think Timey Diamond and Spacey Pearl would have made more sense as part of generation VII, because then you have an opportunity to do something interesting by tying Dialga, Palkia and Giratina in with the dimension-bending Ultra phenomena (maybe they planned to do this and just had too much other bull$#!t on their plates for those three years, which frankly I can empathise with). I guess in generation VIII you have Dynamaxing, which… comes from space (???) and makes Pokémon really big, which… is sort of like manipulating dimensions (???).

So I suppose what I’m saying is that I don’t really give a $#!t about remaking Diamond and Pearl and Game Freak can put in whatever nonsense they like as far as I’m concerned, I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I could be persuaded to give a $#!t about rewriting them.

8 thoughts on “Unown asks:

  1. I’d just really like if gen 4 remakes could be a chance to give unloved mons some evolutions, as gen 4 did. Also I’d appreciate unown coming back in the sinjoh ruins, and hopefully getting a better deal than appearing outside any story and only learning hidden power… their whole learnset on the backburner is just sad.

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    1. I dunno if I see that happening; none of the other remakes have introduced new Pokémon. Still, anything’s possible; Ultra Sun/Moon set the precedent for new Pokémon partway through a generation, and the most recent set of remakes came before that.

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        1. Depends what you mean. Deoxys is in the code for Ruby and Sapphire; it always existed, it just wasn’t legitimately obtainable until several years later. I believe the first event distribution was after the release of Emerald, which was later than the gen I remakes (because the whole point of Deoxys was it had that gimmick where its form changed when it was traded to different games), so in a sense it was “introduced in Emerald.” I don’t think there’s any logic by which it makes sense to say it was introduced in the gen I remakes.

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          1. The important difference in my mind is that there was always backward compatibility with those mythical Pokémon event distributions. Ruby and Sapphire “know” that Deoxys exists. Sun and Moon don’t “know” about Blacephalon or Stakataka; they can’t be traded to those games or used in battles against players with those games.

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      1. The most recent set of remakes, LGPE, did introduce two new Mythical Pokémon that weren’t in USUM for what that’s worth!
        It’s sort of hard to say if that counts (we *still* don’t have any completely normal Pokémon being introduced mid-Generation – we’ve had forms, Mega Evolutions, Ultra Beasts, Mythical Pokémon, and most recently Legendary Pokémon and regional variants, but I don’t think there’s *ever* been… just… a regular old evolution line, has there?), but I could see a remake doing something and would actually be surprised if the hypothetical Sinnoh remakes didn’t at least follow suit and introduce a Mythical of their own.

        (not as a response to you but as a response to the general topic here)

        On one hand, I would consider introducing new crossgens to be a logical extension of having gotten Mega Evolutions in a previous remake and having gotten regional variants in the DLC, both of which are associated with cross-Generational evolutions in their own way.
        But… on the other hand, as much as I dislike this, I don’t really know if I believe Game Freak does crossgens any more?

        We got *one* in Generation VI – one single evolution that came by itself; a branching evolution that didn’t affect any already-fully-evolved Pokémon (and didn’t even affect Eviolite compatibility, which I would consider to be a stupid concern but I do have the impression that Game Freak cares); one that came from the Evolution Pokémon that’s all but designed around being a special case; and one that clearly served as a very calculated decision and gameplay necessity to highlight the new Fairy type rather than being “a crossgen for its own sake.”
        And uh… that’s the only one we’ve gotten in 14 and a half years; I’m kind of just unconvinced that Game Freak is interested in pursuing regular evolutions any more?
        Particularly since they’ve become more focused on competitive changes, buffs and nerfs ever since and have been making a clear effort to leave every new line feeling “complete” the first time around, to some extent, there’s just… less *room* to have them for anything that’s been introduced since they stopped.

        That said, there are a handful of unfortunate souls in the first three Generations that could use the attention (and I’m beyond frustrated with regional evolutions for trying to do this while leaving the originals behind completely – Galarian Farfetch’d in particular just contributes nothing except to lock the Farfetch’d that already wanted an evolution out of Sirfetch’d), but it gets harder and harder to find fully-evolved Pokémon that really “need” crossgens as you get further in the series, and I think this probably contributes to that.
        Unless they can tie them into a new mechanic, like Mega Evolutions (which I think were totally fine as a substitute while they were around and filled the void well in my eyes, but that makes it a more frustrating regression that those lines now have to exist without them) or regional evolutions (many of which I think almost completely miss the point of having crossgens from a gameplay perspective, though I’m definitely more than fine with the direction Perrserker and Runerigus took), I don’t really expect regular crossgens to be on the table any time soon.

        Gen IV remakes *would* be an absolutely perfect chance to turn that around and I would be super happy if they did (and honestly there really aren’t *that* many Pokémon that I feel even deserve them, so I wouldn’t even mind if it was just a one-time revival for the occasion), but I don’t really have my hopes up for it, unfortunately;;

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        1. There hasn’t been an evolution of an existing Pokémon introduced AT ALL since Sylveon, and it’s been presumed that Eviolite and their insistence on backwards compatibility thereof are to blame. Dexit makes everything possible, though…

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  2. One nice thing with remakes is that they’re an opportunity to fine-tune and embellish an already “finished” work, as well as correcting mistakes and adding all the stuff you were probably intending to put in the game but didn’t have time to do. You’ve also got the benefit of audience feedback to guide you.

    With that in mind, I would personally not be too interested in buying DP but with 3D models instead of sprites. Why don’t they spice things up and remake SwSh?

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