In all of the Pokemon Nintendo Switch talk, there’s always a contingent of fans insisting that Sinnoh Pokemon remakes deserve to be in the conversation. Diamond, Pearl, & Platinum brought a fair amount to the Pokemon franchise, namely Wi-Fi battles & trading through the GTS (Global Trading Station,) a deeper story with expanding lore, and one of the most unique regions in the form of the Russian inspired Sinnoh Region. AJ discusses how Game Freak, Nintendo, & Pokémon Company can go about taking all of that a step further for Diamond & Pearl remakes on Switch.
With Generation VII of Pokémon, GameFreak introduced a new way to raise the number of creatures in the game without pushing the number of entries into the Pokédex; Regional Variants. While most looked at this as another way for the company to maybe not have to create new characters I saw it as a completely logical and brilliant way to make the world of Pokémon similar to our own. Just as we have several different breeds of animals such as dogs, cats, horses, etc so too does the Pokémon world have variants of species based on where they are from.
As AJ and I spoke more about what a remake of Generation IV could bring, I started thinking about the region of Sinnoh and how it was the first region to really have a consistent climate that is different from what we have been introduced to in the past. It was a colder, mountainous region. While the idea of regional variants wouldn’t come until much later, they could have easily introduced them in these games and it would have made perfect sense.
So I started building some concepts of what variants I feel could have lived in the region of Sinnoh and how things like environments could effect Pokémon as we move forward into the future of the series. I also started to think about how things like typing aren’t always what should be considered. Owls aren’t only fierce predators in the snow, but snowy owls do have white feathers to help camouflage and blend into their surroundings. With this in mind, I applied both cosmetic and meta changes for several Pokémon.
While many Pokémon in this post will be white in color, this is the only Pokémon on the list that is Ice type. I deliberately tried to not fall into the pitfall of having all of these characters have an ice typing but wanted to make them believable in the colder climate. As much as that was on the forefront of my mind, I could help but want this fast, ExtremeSpeed wielding, Ice Fang destroyer of a Pokémon. I tried to keep as much “iconic” Arcanine features while modeling it after Giant Alaskan Malamutes.
The center of Sinnoh is the dominating peak of Mt. Coronet. This multilayered mountain is home to several unique and interesting Pokémon but I tried to add as many as I could for trainers to find in the area. This lead to Sinnohan Heracross. This Bug/Rock type behemoth is modeled after Cicadas and Horned Beetles. I gave it Skill Link to help with things like Horn Attack and Sturdy for some possible help in the Metagame.
Beartic is a good example of a Polar Bear in the Pokémon world but I really fell in love with the idea of an old Russian bear and decided to remodel Ursaring, the underutilized Pokémon from the Johto region to help fit this need. This is the first example of using coloring and typing to skew perceptions for players. Instead of being ice based like its other artic cousin, Sinnohan Ursaring is a Steel-type Pokémon that has the Ability Sheer Force to really inflict some heavy damage to opponents.
This is another example of trying to subvert players expectations when it comes to typing. Unlike Ursaring, Talonflame keeps its original typing appearing more like a pattern change than anything else. One thing I did change up was its abilities. This Pokémon uses its new colors to its advantage by gaining the “Snow Veil” ability allowing it to raise its evasion while in a snowstorm. Subtle changes like this could really effect the competitive metagame while also tying in with new regions really well.
I really liked Gen VII’s Noivern but the Flying/Dragon typing is one that has been overdone in my mind so for the Sinnohan version, I had this Pokémon adapt to the snowy region by producing some cute cotton ball-like fur on its wings and changed its typing to Flying/Fairy. Not only does it make it a good foil for its Alolan brother but also adds some much-needed variety to the newer Fairy type.
These are just a couple of ideas we kicked around. Aj & I also thought about a possible Bug/Dark Butterfree and a Flying/Ice or Flying/Dark Noctowl on top of many others but to be honest… I ran out of Photoshop time. What do regional variants would you like to see in new Pokémon games? Is there any Pokémon you would like to see in a Gen IV remake or possibly even Let’s Go Pikachu & Let’s Go Eevee? Let us know in the comments below!