Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl both look rushed. The early buzz surrounding leaked copies is underwhelming, and these DS game remakes seem much less ambitious and innovative than 2022’s Pokémon Legends: Arceus. If you had any doubts about that before, we’ve learned that the game won’t even have vital multiplayer features at launch. If those aspects are what typically appeal to you the most, you’re better off waiting for a post-launch update.
What happened — On November 10, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo detailed the day-one patch and post-launch updates for Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The post-launch patch contains some significant online features, neutering the remake’s multiplayer capabilities at launch:
“On the day of the release, interactions using local and internet communication in the Union Room will be limited to two players. However, future updates are planned to increase the maximum number of players, as well as add greeting and Capsule Decoration functions. Additionally, future updates will enable Link Trades at the Global Wonder Station (GWS) facility in Jubilife City, as well as Link Battles via the Colosseum function in Pokémon Centers.”
No exact date was given for when this post-launch update will arrive. Make sure you download the day-one patch when you pick up Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl though, as it will unlock the Grand Underground, Super Contest Shows, Union Room, Ramanas Park, and Mystery Gift features.
The post-launch update details were revealed alongside this new trailer.
Union Room, GWS, and Link Battles — What stings the most about these features’ exclusion is that they were all in original Diamond and Pearl at release. The Union Room is supposed to be a hub where multiple players that know each other can hang out, battle, and trade. It won’t feel like much of a hangout spot with only two players that can’t use greetings to communicate, though.
Meanwhile, the GWS is a system that will let players look and trade for specific Pokémon with random players instead of just relying on what their friends have. This feature’s absence will be frustrating for early adopters trying to complete their Pokedex but don’t have access to the other version’s exclusive Pokémon.
Finally, the lack of a Link Battle function means that online battles will be limited to the two-player Union Room. In its earliest days, this will hinder the Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s competitive scene and highlights that the remakes’ multiplayer isn’t ready to go.
The Inverse Analysis — Post-launch updates are common in AAA games nowadays, but they should never be used as an excuse to launch an unfinished game. While Pokémon games have been critiqued for what they’ve cut in the past, this is the first time it feels like the actual whole experience won’t be ready until a post-launch update.
These missing features make Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl seem rushed and unfinished before they even launch. The fact that this game was outsourced and Game Freak’s Pokémon Legends: Arceus looks more ambitious doesn’t help that look either.
These titles seem like they are just meant to fill a slot on a release calendar, state of the game be damned. While we’ve seen this happen with titles like Call of Duty: Vanguard, it appears that this terrible industry trend finally caught up with Pokémon.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will be released on November 19.