Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl together arrive on Nintendo Switch on November 19, yet for unknown reasons, at least one Pokéfan out there received a copy early. And they were kind enough to leak some of the details onto the internet. We’ve got some (mostly) spoiler-free details about the leaks, but are also ready to dig into Nintendo’s storied history clashing with gaming leaks at large. Most importantly, here are some hints about what fans should expect when they begin their Gen 4 journeys.
What happened? The Pokémon community was set ablaze in the early morning hours of November 6 after a Redditor claimed on the Pokémon Leaks subreddit that they had received a retail copy of the game weeks before its above-listed street release date. After other Redditors pressed the user about specific details, the original poster began providing uncut photo and video evidence. Before long, many others on Twitter shared their own pictures of the game’s box in the wild, proving that a number of copies had been delivered — or at least acquired — prematurely.
What are the leaks? As we want this recap to be a spoiler-free version of the leaks, we don’t intend to go into too much detail on what those who have copies of the game have been able to discover. That being said, sources like CENTRO Leaks have spent the past few hours highlighting details about BDSP’s gyms, leveling system, characters, movesets, and more.
If we were to sum up the findings, however, the general consensus amongst fans seems to be that Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are fairly unremarkable remakes that are more or less exactly what was advertised and nothing more. They incorporate some limited elements from Pokémon Pearl, which was the third version of the original Diamond and Pearl.
While the source leakers have yet to describe what the product’s post-game looks like, its main narrative and gameplay loop is extremely faithful to the original source material with only a few modern accouterments to make the overall experience more breezy and less grindy.
Why are some fans upset? As is the case in most passionate fandoms, Pokémon fans have high expectations for the franchise they hold dear. With that in mind, there’s been a lot of discussion within the community about just how much these upcoming remakes might expand on their source titles. For example, will features found in the related Pokémon Platinum be featured in these games? Will the games’ existing Pokédex possibly be expanded or reduced to accommodate new additions? As of right now, it appears such cries for a more ambitious remake have been completely disregarded.
Those who are okay with the games’ mostly untouched state may be feeling more ambivalent about the title’s supposed litany of glitches and unfinished music as well, though those issues may be partially or fully remedied by a day-one patch closer to launch.
Piling on to the controversy is also the fact that Pokémon’s traditional development studio, Game Freak, isn’t involved at all in making these upcoming ports. Instead, Nintendo has contracted Japanese support studio ILCA to handle the entirety of the project. Previously ILCA provided support to larger titles like Yakuza 0 and Ace Combat 7, but its experience with the Pokémon franchise is strictly limited to creating the much-maligned Pokémon Home mobile app for Android and iOS. The app functions as a method for trainers to move their creature collections across generations, but its unwieldy interface has been the focus of much scorn from those who use and pay for the service. In other words, fans are feeling doubly let down by BDSP and those who made it.
As of now there is still hope for something exciting, though, as the aforementioned leakers slowly uncover the truth behind the titles’ post-game. But, with so much of the main game left untouched, many former zealots aren’t feeling so enthusiastic.
What’s Nintendo doing about the leaks? Nintendo is no stranger to leaks prior to a major game’s release, as some retailers recently broke street date on Metroid Dread when that game was released on October 8. But, given its immense popularity, the Pokémon franchise has possibly been the hardest hit with regard to leaks. When Pokémon Sword and Shield debuted in 2019 the Pokémon Company sued 4chan leakers to the tune of $150,000 in damages from each person who provided advance details about the game.
In one instance, Nintendo completely severed ties with Portuguese website FNintendo for uploading advance screenshots of the 2019 title that were originally intended for an embargoed review.
When it comes to BDSP, it’s no surprise Nintendo and the Pokémon Company are furiously issuing DMCA takedowns to any fans who share photos or videos from the finished product. That still leaves text descriptions of the leaks, however, which appear to be mostly protected under fair use as long as they don’t link back to or use any illicit materials.