Ah, Pokémon remakes. We complain that new entries in the series are too afraid of change, then we line up to buy the old games repackaged. And right now the taste of yesteryear that we’re all craving is Diamond and Pearl. But it’s not just that we want Sinnoh remakes. It genuinely seems like they’re just around the corner. Many fans have felt that way for a while, and some new clues in The Crown Tundra have only amplified that feeling. Let’s count down (in no particular order) 10 clues that Game Freak is remaking Gen 4.
10 clues we’re getting Sinnoh remakes
Spoiler warning: Many of these clues and teasers will fall into spoiler territory. And I mean, come on. It’s Pokémon. But if you’ve missed any of these games, understand I’ll be discussing important plot points. That said… let’s dive in!
Game Freak’s trail of breadcrumbs
Okay, so I’m going to cheat a bit here and start off with my first clue being… Game Freak’s history of giving us clues. Game Freak loves dropping clues about what’s coming next, especially in recent years. So if we can establish what kinds of clues Game Freak has left us in the past, that will better help us understand what kinds of things we should be looking for.
Past remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were teased ahead of time in Pokémon X and Y. People all over Kalos make references to the Hoenn region, but the biggest clue is an old woman on the second floor of Hotel Richissime. If you talk to her, she’ll bring up the concept of ruby and sapphire wedding anniversaries. Meanwhile, her husband muses about their first date at the Oceanic Museum in Hoenn.
X and Y also feature an item called the “Strange Souvenir,” which is said to depict a protector in some far off region. Sure enough, the next generation would explain this as a common ornament in the Alola region. That one’s going to be important to remember for later.
More recently, Game Freak just couldn’t stop themselves from teasing things about the Galar region in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Peruse Poni Breaker Coast and you’ll bump into Sightseer Jamie who asks if you’re standing on a “power spot.” When you defeat her, she becomes disappointed that her Pokémon wasn’t infused with power. At the time, it seemed like a strange throwaway line, but we now know this is a direct reference to Dynamaxing and Power Spots in Pokémon Sword and Shield. Speaking of which, if you head into the Game Freak office building in Alola, you can actually find a picture of Gigantamax Toxtricity, a Pokémon that wouldn’t officially be revealed until over two years later.
Finally, in the Hau’oli city ferry terminal, you can find a woman who speculates that in the future, Rotom will possess PC boxes. This, of course, came true with Sword and Shield’s Rotomi, found in every Pokémon Center in Galar. It was all out there in the open for us to discover. I’ve got no reason to think Game Freak suddenly stopped leaving us bread crumbs, so let’s take a close look and see if we can find teasers for Sinnoh remakes.
The time is right for Sinnoh remakes
Getting a bit meta here, let’s establish the obvious: it’s time. I don’t just mean that the games are wildly popular and fans have been begging for them for years. Game Freak has a clearly-established pattern. Fire Red and Leaf Green released in 2004. Heart Gold and Soul Silver followed in 2009 (2010 outside of Japan). Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the most recent remakes, launching in 2014.
Every five or six years, Game Freak returns to the deep well that is nostalgia and remakes a generation of Pokémon games. You could count 2018’s Let’s Go as filling that role, but it’s quite a different beast, and it doesn’t follow the trend of remaking the next generation in line. Instead, it was meant to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original games launching outside of Japan. Pokémon began in 1996, but 1998 is when it became a global phenomenon.
Speaking of anniversaries, that’s exactly why 2021 is the perfect year for Sinnoh remakes. Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise as a whole, as well as the 15th anniversary of Diamond and Pearl. I’d be shocked if Game Freak doesn’t go all out in celebration next year, and Sinnoh remakes would be a perfect complement to New Pokémon Snap to round out the anniversary.
Now, let’s dig into the games themselves!
Hop’s Croagunk statue
One of the biggest clues hits you right out the gate, so long as you look closely. Just down the road from where you start, you’ll come across the house of Hop, this generation’s undyingly-enthusiastic rival. If you’re the nosey type, you might poke around his room to see what kind of rival you’re dealing with. Here you’ll find the essentials in life – Pokémon posters and a Nintendo Switch – but there’s something else that should catch the eye of series veterans. Sitting on top of a drawer next to Hop’s TV is a small wooden statue of a Croagunk.
Now, at first glance, this isn’t too out of place. Hop is never seen to own a Croagunk at any point in the game, but he also doesn’t own the Pokémon featured in his posters. However, the in-game text specifies Hop chose them because they’re “the top three most popular Pokémon in Galar.” So why Croagunk?
Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this statue. It’s identical to the statue found in the Pastoria City Poké Mart in the Sinnoh region. Croagunk is quite the local celebrity in Pastoria, as evidenced by both the statue and a photo stand-in where tourists pose to take pictures as the Pokémon. The anime takes this even further, giving the town an elaborate, annual Croagunk Festival. Croagunk doesn’t get nearly that kind of respect in Galar, but it would seem that a Sinnoh souvenir somehow made its way into Hop’s bedroom. Exactly like the Strange Souvenir in Kalos that ended up being a teaser for Alola.
The Pixie Plate and Gen 4
Another clue hidden in plain sight in Sword and Shield is the inclusion of the Pixie Plate. Introduced in Gen 4, the Plates are holdable items that boost the power of a certain type. For example, the Dread Plate boosts Dark-type attacks. However, the Pixie Plate corresponds to Fairy-type moves, which didn’t exist in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. It was added to the series in X and Y, which means it’s the only Plate that doesn’t exist in the Sinnoh region. And oddly enough, it’s the only plate that does exist in the Galar region, and for seemingly no reason. Unless it’s a clue.
But it could actually be even more than that. You see, the Plates have an even more important function that most players have never gotten to experience. Their true purpose is to be held by Arceus, the creator God of the Pokémon universe. Each Plate will transform Arceus and its signature move, Judgment, into that type. However, Game Freak never released the Event item that would have made it possible to catch Arceus in Sinnoh. Gen 4’s most important Legendary Pokémon would remain unobtainable until years later and on another platform. But Sinnoh remakes would provide the perfect opportunity to fix that.
What better way to celebrate the 25th anniversary than with a new and improved Arceus event? Tossing the Pixie Plate into a random spot in Galar means Game Freak doesn’t need to come up with a new spot for it in Sinnoh. They can just encourage players to trade it over, enticing them to buy Sword and Shield if they haven’t already. In fact, they could even make a complete set of Plates required to trigger an Arceus event. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I hope they pull that greedy stunt. But there’s precedent. Which reminds me…
Heading to The Crown Tundra, we have one of the most obvious clues possible. The DLC boasts the return of every past Legendary Pokémon (not all Mythicals though), most of which are found in the Dynamax Adventure cave. We’ll get back to that later, but for now, I want to focus on the Legendary Pokémon that are catchable outside of the new mode. Specifically, I’m talking about the Regis.
Regice, Regirock, and Registeel originally debuted in the Hoenn region of Ruby and Sapphire, but their greater purpose wouldn’t be revealed until the next generation. In Diamond and Pearl, players can find the original and most powerful of the Titans, Regigigas. However, you could only activate the encounter if you had all three of the other Regis in your party. Thus, players who caught them in Ruby and Sapphire were rewarded. Or if you want to look at it a bit more cynically, it means players who didn’t buy the previous generation were penalized. And wouldn’t you know it… The Crown Tundra introduces two brand new Regis that you can only get in the DLC.
By now there are plenty of ways to catch the original Regi trio and trade them into Pokémon Home. But Regieleki and Regidrago are exclusive to The Crown Tundra. I think this is a clear sign of history repeating itself, with Game Freak rewarding (and/or punishing) players based on whether or not they bought the DLC. Just to hammer in the point, the temples where you catch Regice, Regirock, and Registeel in The Crown Tundra… are identical in both look and name to their locations in Pokémon Platinum.
One counterpoint to this hypothesis is the fact that Regigigas itself is also obtainable in The Crown Tundra. So who cares about catching it again in Sinnoh remakes? Well, as we’ve seen from past remakes, Game Freak is fond of revamping and improving its old Legendaries. Mewtwo, Kyogre, Groudon, and Rayquazza all have new, more powerful forms these days, while The Crown Tundra introduced regional variants for Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno. It would make perfect sense for Regigigas to follow suit.
Mythicals and Fossils held back for Sinnoh remakes?
Who could possibly forget about “Dexit,” the controversial decision by Game Freak to slim down the Pokédex? Sword and Shield launched with 400 monsters, and the DLC has added around 200 more. That said, there are still missing Pokémon from each generation, and Gen 4 in particular really seems to get the short end of the stick.
There are currently 44 Sinnoh Pokémon left out, but the bigger issue emerges when you realize what’s missing. Remember how I said Game Freak’s “all Legendaries” promise didn’t include Mythical Pokémon? Well, many of these rare Pokémon (most of whom were originally only available via special event) do appear in The Crown Tundra, but none of them are from Sinnoh. Every other generation in Pokémon history has at least one Mythical representative in Sword and Shield. But none from Diamond and Pearl.
Similarly, now that the DLC is out, Sword and Shield contain every fossil Pokémon in franchise history… except the ones from Gen 4. You can even find living fossil Pokémon roaming around in The Crown Tundra as if they never went extinct, but the Shieldon and Cranidos lines are nowhere to be found. All of these strange exclusions make perfect sense if Game Freak is holding them back for Sinnoh remakes.
What’s up with Max Honey?
Honey was included as an item in Sword and Shield at launch, but it served no real purpose beyond making a little cash at the Poké Mart. Many fans at the time questioned if this could be a subtle nod to Gen 4, as that’s when honey and honey trees were first introduced. It’s an interesting thought, but it’s not much to go on. Then Game Freak stoked the fires in the Isle of Armor DLC.
At the Master Dojo, you can feed certain Pokémon a special soup to unlock their latent Gigantamaxing abilities. However, that’s not enough for your new Urshifu. In order for it to Gigantamax, it must also eat Max Honey. This initially seems to be a matter of taste (Urshifu can’t stomach the soup on its own), but as the quest unravels, something strange happens.
Hop, ever the genius, first tries to get honey from Lilligant and Applin before realizing that bees make honey. When the two of you head to Honeycalm Island, Hop’s Power Spot Detector goes wild as you near the tree in the center. Shaking the tree causes a tremendous amount of Dynamax energy to burst out, then Dynamax Vespiqueen attacks. Defeating it grants you the Max Honey you need, and it also triggers some interesting text. Hop confirms that it’s the Max Honey itself (rather than the nearby dens) that triggered his Power Spot Detector. This sweet stuff is soaked in the power of Dynamax.
Honey trees were a staple in the Gen 4 games, and if you wanted to test the waters on revamping them for Sinnoh remakes… this is pretty much how you’d do it. The Dynamax phenomenon is exclusive to Galar because it’s derived from the power of Eternatus. But if Dynamax Vespiqueen can create honey that unlocks the power of Dynamax (and even Gigantamax), then what’s to stop other regions from importing that honey to slather on honey trees? There are some timeline questions here, but frankly, the Pokémon timeline is a multiverse mess that will never make complete sense.
Dynamax Adventures and The Underground
When you’re not exploring the open world of The Crown Tundra, chances are you’re deep underground enjoying a Dynamax Adventure. These cave missions immediately reminded many players of The Underground in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, but with a new focus on multiplayer combat.
As with the honey tree event above, these underground Dynamax Adventures just feel like Game Freak testing the waters for a revamped mechanic from Gen 4. The Sinnoh Underground is an iconic component of the generation, and the remakes need to make it bigger and better than ever. A new multiplayer raid mode would be a good step in the right direction.
The Crown Tundra and Mount Coronet
Alright, one last clue in the “this is all feeling really familiar” category. This may be reading too much into things, but Mt. Coronet is literally a “crown tundra.” A coronet is a type of crown, and the frozen peak serves as a Celestial Crown (its name in the original Japanese) for the whole region. As a bonus, the Crown Tundra is also ruled over by Calyrex, a Pokémon that can use its psychic powers to see through all of time and space. Much like Dialga and Palkia. Maybe Game Freak’s just running out of ideas… or maybe they’re hinting at something.
Additionally, having an area like Galar’s Crown Tundra gives Game Freak the ability to experiment with a snowy open world environment. If they’re ever going to do Sinnoh remakes, they’ll have to decide if they want to keep the world how it is, or redesign it with “Wild Areas” where players can roam freely, controlling the camera at will. The Crown Tundra gives Game Freak an opportunity to see how players would react to the new style before committing to changing up a beloved classic.
Ultra Space and Type: Null
Alright, last one. Buckle up. Ever since Gen 4, Game Freak has seemingly been building toward something. In Platinum, Team Galactic’s Cyrus summons the Pokémon gods of space and time from mysterious portals and plans to harness their powers to create a new universe. Unfortunately for him, another portal opens unexpectedly, and Giratina drags him into the Distortion World. But once that can of worms is opened, there’s no closing it. The whole incident caught the attention of the International Police, and special agent Looker became something of a specialist in investigating space-time disturbances.
While the Black and White games had little to say on the subject (despite bringing Looker back), space-time disturbance became a major theme again soon after. X and Y tell the story of the ancient king AZ and his ultimate weapon powered by the spirit energy inside countless sacrificed Pokémon. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire then revealed that this energy blast was so devastating to the fabric of space-time that it created an entire alternate universe. How could Pokémon souls do that?
According to various Sinnoh myths, Arceus is the physical embodiment of the “spirit” that now exists in all Pokémon. In other words, all Pokémon souls are just tiny fragments of the power of Arceus. When King AZ used Pokémon souls to create the Ultimate Weapon he was generating concentrated Arceus energy. It’s no wonder it could do things like rip space-time in half or create Mega Stones that cause Pokémon to evolve beyond their natural state! Then 3,000 years later in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the Devon Corporation followed in his footsteps. Fortunately, their potentially universe-destroying plan was scrapped when Mega Rayquaza saved the day.
But we’re not done with all of the Omega weirdness yet, because Looker shows up here too. Although he wasn’t in the original Ruby and Sapphire, you can find him on the beach, apparently suffering from amnesia in the remakes. What’s up with that? Sun and Moon clued us in to the answer: Ultra Wormholes. These pesky things have started popping up all over the place, and if you fall through one, you can wake up in another universe with amnesia. This suggests that after the events of Platinum (and Black and White), Looker continued his space-time investigations and they led him to an Ultra Wormhole.
Throughout the Alolan games, Ultra Wormholes play a huge role, and you eventually get to explore Ultra Space, fighting the powerful Ultra Beasts within. But despite all of these dimensional rifts, we don’t run into any of the Gen 4 Legendaries out in Ultra Space. Did Arceus create Ultra Space? Is there one Arceus for each universe, or a single Arceus that created all universes and the Ultra Space in between? All of this is left unanswered.
Is Ultra Space even really connected to Arceus at all? Well, the Aether Foundation sure thinks so! Before poking around in Ultra Space, Faba studied those same Sinnoh myths I mentioned earlier. And when they realized Ultra Space was full of powerful creatures, they set out to create an artificial Arceus to counter them. That’s exactly what Type: Null, user of the RKS System (read that out slowly) is.
This finally brings us back around to Sword and Shield. After beating the main story, you can get your own Type: Null at the Battle Tower. What in the world? Where did it come from? Based on its Pokédex entry, someone (seemingly Macro Cosmos, Rose’s company) hacked into the Aether Foundation and stole their research. Then when The Crown Tundra DLC launched, we found out that there’s also an Ultra Wormhole in Galar. That’s why all the Legendaries from all over the world can suddenly be found underground in one area.
Was Chairman Rose looking to pick up where the Aether Foundation left off? His brother Peony is quite knowledgeable about Dynamax Adventures, and we even see some of Rose’s technology just outside the cave, so he is almost certainly aware of the Ultra Wormhole. Hell, the very name “Macro Cosmos” suggests an interest in the multiverse. And with portals opening up and artificial gods popping up all over, where in the multiverse is Looker? Space-time investigations have been his priority since Gen 4, so why didn’t he show up in Galar to investigate?
Unfortunately, we don’t get any definitive answers. Just more questions. But as we’ve established, Game Freak loves raising questions and dropping clues in one game so that they can elaborate on them in the next. And Sinnoh remakes would provide the perfect opportunity to tie together all the lore about Ultra Space, Arceus, Type: Null, Looker, and Infinity Energy. Here’s hoping they make the most of it.
Special thanks to the PokéTuber theorizing community, as many of these Gen 4 remake clues are only known thanks to the collaborations of many eagle-eyed fans. Bird Keeper Toby, Almighty Arceus, and Lockstin & Gnoggin were all useful in researching some of these clues, and I recommend them if you’re interested in learning more about the vast and complicated Pokémon canon.