Five big questions about the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes

diamond and pearl remakes

During the recent Pokémon Presents, we finally got another look at the Diamond and Pearl remakes. The new trailer revealed the Grand Underground, customization via Style Shops, graphical improvements, and more. That said, we’ve still seen relatively little of the games, and we’re less than three months away from launch. Past Pokémon games, including remakes, got some big last-minute reveals, and I’m hoping we’ll see that again. In the meantime, the new trailer gave us plenty to speculate about. Here are five big questions about the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes!

How do HMs work?

The most recent trailer for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl confirmed the return of two overworld obstacles: cut trees and rock climbing walls. Does this mean HMs are back? The original Diamond and Pearl had a whopping eight HMs to collect, and that often meant swapping Pokémon in and out of your party to progress. Frankly, it was a bit of a nuisance. Game Freak seems to agree because they’ve completely phased them out of the past two generations of games. If they bring them back for these remakes, will they find a way to make them more convenient this time?

Pokémon Let’s Go solved this problem with “Secret Techniques.” Your partner Pokémon, either Eevee or Pikachu, effectively learned Secret Techniques that were identical in function to HMs but didn’t take up a move slot. So instead of learning Fly (good luck with that), your partner Pokémon would summon balloons to whisk the player away. It was… strange, but effective. Will Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl use a similar system, or are we back to the old ways?

Will Megas or Dynamax return?

The Pokémon franchise loves introducing new mechanics to spice up the battle formula. Mega Evolutions were a popular inclusion in X and Y, and they returned in the Omega games and Let’s Go, as well as some spin-off games. In Sword and Shield, Mega Evolution was shelved in favor of the new Dynamax and Gigantamax forms. Will either of these mechanics return in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl?

So far we haven’t seen any trace of them, so it would be easy to say “no” and move on. That said, there’s still plenty of time left for surprises. Considering these games are “faithful remakes” of Diamond and Pearl, I wouldn’t expect either feature to play a major role. However, they could copy the Let’s Go games and introduce Mega Evolution late in the game, perhaps as a reward for beating the Elite Four. Considering there are no Ranked Battles, ILCA wouldn’t have to worry about how they impact the game balance. 

Can we go to the Distortion World?

When the Pokémon Company advertised these games as “faithful remakes,” many players immediately began to wonder what that means for the Platinum content. The biggest change was the inclusion of the Distortion World, the dark, twisted realm of Giratina. I’m excited about the possibility of seeing it recreated in HD on Switch, but so far we’ve seen few hints of Platinum content.

My hope here is that ILCA looks to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire’s Delta Episode for inspiration. This post-Elite Four addition allowed Game Freak to recycle ideas from Emerald in an all-new story. As a bonus, it even tied into other games, like X and Y, further fleshing out the lore of the Pokémon universe. ILCA could stay true to Diamond and Pearl’s plot til the credits roll, then take us to the Distortion World in a new adventure. And if you think it’s too late for something like that to be revealed, the Delta Episode wasn’t announced until one week before the Omega games launched. 

Will Looker return?

diamond and pearl remakes

Pokémon Platinum improved on Diamond and Pearl’s story in many ways, but my favorite was easily the inclusion of Looker. As an agent of the International Police, Looker is investigating the shady dealings of Team Galactic. He was a popular character, and Game Freak chose to bring him back in Black and White, X and Y, the Omega remakes of Gen 3, as well as all of the Sun and Moon games, Ultras included. At this point, Looker has more connections to the greater world and plot of Pokémon than just about anyone!

Strangely, Looker was absent in Sword and Shield. Many players, myself included, missed him and looked forward to his return in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. But if ILCA sticks strictly to the original story, then Looker won’t be there. That would be a shame, especially since he’s grown to be so important to the overall plot of the series. This is another instance where I hope they compromise by including him in a new post-Elite Four mission. Looker could easily be the catalyst for the new story content that takes us to the Distortion World. 

Are there connections to Legends Arceus?

diamond and pearl remakes

While ILCA works on Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Game Freak is working on another adventure set in the Sinnoh Region. Well, technically the Hisui Region. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set in the distant past before Sinnoh had its modern name. Considering it releases just two months after the remakes, it seems likely there will be connections between the two games. And we may already have some hints of what to expect. 

In the original Diamond and Pearl, the inhabitants of Sinnoh believe their region was founded by either Dialga or Palkia, though Arceus is the true creator Pokémon. The Hisui Region map shows people dressed in clothes that look like Dialga and Palkia, which could indicate that we’ll learn more about how these founding myths came to be. It would be easy to make small, subtle changes to the remakes that further flesh out Sinnoh’s history in the context of Legends Arceus. Perhaps a few bread crumbs in the books of the Canalave Library to get us excited for the Hisui Region?

Ben Lamoreux
Nintendo Enthusiast's Managing Editor. I grew up on Super Nintendo and never stopped playing. Been writing video game news, opinions, reviews, and interviews professionally for over a decade. Favorite franchises include Zelda, Metroid, and Mother.