As Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (a.k.a. “BDSP“) are designed to be faithful remakes of the original Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, it’s uncertain whether there will be any truly “new” Pokémon or characters in the games.
However, it may still be many players’ first experience in the Sinnoh region, and the established characters and Pokémon may have new artwork or features, so whether you’re new to Sinnoh or just looking to see what’s changed, here’s a list of some of the more important characters and Pokémon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
Characters of Sinnoh
Player Characters / Professor’s Assistant
The two main playable characters are canonically named Lucas (the boy) and Dawn (the girl). Whichever one you don’t choose to play as will be Professor Rowan’s assistant with their canonical name and will help you throughout your adventure by giving you items, giving you tips, and running into you a few times across your journey, although, if it’s anything like the original games, you don’t actually battle them—although you will battle alongside them every now and then.
Your Rival (Barry)
Your Rival, who is your childhood friend in Twinleaf Town, is hyper, energetic, and almost never sits still. He has a knack for wanting to fine you numerous amounts of Poké Dollars if you’re late (you never have to pay him, don’t worry!) as well as running off. His canonical name is Barry, but you are also free to name him whatever you’d like (well, within reason) at the start of your adventure.
Unlike the Professor’s assistant, you will fight against your Rival. A lot. You’ll also team up with him at certain pivotal points throughout the adventure.
Professor Rowan is the region’s Pokémon Professor and is charge of researching Pokémon in the area. He is a famous Professor even outside of the Sinnoh region, with a particular interest in the field of Pokémon evolution.
After clumsily forgetting his briefcase while at Lake Verity with his assistant, you and your Rival will bring it to him in his lab in the neighboring Sandgem Town, where he will agree to let the both of you keep the Pokémon you borrowed to defend yourself so long as you travel the region and catalog Pokémon for his Pokédex.
Cynthia is a “mysterious person” that you’ll meet at several points throughout your journey across the Sinnoh region. She’s big into Pokémon mythology and loves investigating old ruins and lore—and strong, iconic piano tunes, of course.
Roark is the first Gym Leader you’ll face off against in the Sinnoh region. He specializes in Rock-type Pokémon and is the Gym Leader of Oreburgh City. However, when you first arrive in Oreburgh City, you’ll find that he’s not at the Gym—you’ll have to track him down in the depths of the Oreburgh Mine to get him to do his job and battle you at the Gym.
Roark’s Pokémon (in Diamond/Pearl):
The main antagonizing force of the Sinnoh region are a group known as Team Galactic. While they may have rather comical and bumbling dialogue, they also steal people’s Pokémon and want to use them to further their goals.
They are led by the Team Galactic Commanders, and by their leader, Cyrus, the Boss of Team Galactic. Their goals involve capturing the trio of legendary Pokémon in the region’s three lakes to aid in bringing forth a new universe by awakening Dialga (Brilliant Diamond) or Palkia (Shining Pearl).
Pokémon of Sinnoh
At the beginning of the game, you’ll have to make the choice of which of the following three “starter Pokémon” (or “first partner Pokémon”) you’ll want to take with you for your adventure.
Turtwig and its evolution line have great Physical stats, with both good Attack and Defense stats. It’s a very sturdy Pokémon that can take a lot of hits—so long as you keep its final evolution, Torterra, away from Ice-type moves—although its whole evolution is remarkably slow when it comes to its Speed stat.
Although its full move list in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is not yet known from the prerelease information, it has been shown to use the move Leafage in early game fights, which was not available in the original games and should give Turtwig a much better damaging option in the early game.
Chimchar is the Fire-type starter Pokémon and it makes a solid choice for players looking to maximize on offense and speed over defenses. It evolves into the Fire/Fighting-type Monferno fairly early on and finally into the Fire/Fighting-type Infernape later in the game.
Chimchar’s entire evolution line has great Speed as well as Attack and Special Attack, allowing it to hit first most of the time and hit hard. As mentioned earlier, its defenses are subpar, so when it takes a hit, it will hurt quite a bit; but thankfully its stats and moves will often times allow it to knock out foes in a single hit without taking damage, and as you go through the game with Chimchar, that should be your overall strategy.
Although its full move list in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is not yet known from the prerelease information, it appears to have been shown using the Fighting-type move Mach Punch in early game fights, even before evolving into Monferno, which was not an option until after it evolved in the original games.
It and its evolution line focus more on Special Attack, though is still fairly balanced aside from that. It lacks a good Speed stat, similar to Turtwig and its evolution line, and its final form actually winds up being only a few points faster than Turtwig’s final evolution. Empoleon also benefits from the amazing Water/Steel-type, giving it a wide variety of good resistances.
Although its full move list in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is not yet known from the prerelease information, it has been shown to use the move Water Gun in early game fights, which was not available to Piplup in the original games—it had the laughably weak Bubble early on (which has since been buffed, then removed in Sword & Shield), and one major weakness Piplup and Prinplup had in the original games was a very poor move pool, so if they are able to gain access to better moves before evolving into Empoleon, that will make them substantially better than they were in the originals.
Dialga (Brilliant Diamond)
The Legendary Pokémon Dialga controls the very fabric of time itself and is exclusive to Pokémon Brilliant Diamond. Not only is it exclusive to the game, but it is the Pokémon featured on its box.
It is a powerful Steel/Dragon-type Pokémon with the signature move Roar of Time, that does heavy damage to the foe but prevents Dialga from attacking on the following turn. It has incredibly high base Special Attack.
Palkia (Shining Pearl)
The Legendary Pokémon Palkia is instead responsible for the fabric of space and dimensions. It is exclusive to Pokémon Shining Pearl and is also the Pokémon featured on its box art.
It is a strong Water/Dragon-type Pokémon that also has very high Special Attack and overall very similar stats to Dialga. Its moves and typing are what help separate it from Dialga; it has the signature move Spacial Rend, a strong 100-power Dragon-type move that also has a high chance of inflicting a critical hit.
Below you’ll find other Pokémon native to the Sinnoh region, with their updated official artwork. Click any of the pictures to open up a larger version of it.
If you’d like to view more information about these Pokémon, you can find their entries over on the Marriland website’s Pokédex (links below!), although keep in mind that their moves may not be accurate to what they will be in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl until the games are released: