Based on the region map art for the upcoming Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, it seems the Battle Frontier will not be appearing.
After the new gameplay trailer and other details were revealed in the Pokemon Presents livestream, many dug into every frame; hoping to learn a little more information. Such as the Lass trainer class being censored (having longer socks covering all her legs), and the Veilstone Game Corner being cut for a clothing Boutique (as we updated in our coverage).
However, it seems fans should have been looking on the official website. Under the story page we see a map of Sinnoh, seemingly quite accurate, to the point individual buildings can be seen. However, this accuracy may also reveal that the Battle Frontier from Pokemon Platinum will not be returning.
The Battle Frontier was first introduced in Pokemon Emerald, and later came to Pokemon Platinum, Heart Gold, and Soul Silver. They were special post-game challenge modes with special rules beyond the back-to-back matches of the Battle Tower.
While fans hoped the Battle Frontier would return in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (remakes of Ruby and Sapphire), it instead was the Battle Maison in the Battle Resort. It functioned almost the same as the Battle Tower, while a replica model of the actual Battle Tower vowed the full-blown Frontier was under construction.
However, based on the map on the official website for Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and layout of Platinum‘s Battle Frontier (via Bulbapedia); we see no Battle Hall or Battle Factory on either side of the Battle Tower. These would be the two larger buildings that would be easy to distinguish. You can find the images below.
Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire‘s promotional image of the map of the Hoenn region had a giant cloud over the Battle Resort, so it should be noted that the Battle Frontier in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl could have been hidden from the map to be a bigger surprise later.
Further, Pokemon that originally only appeared in Pokemon Platinum as opposed to Diamond and Pearl are seen within the new Pokemon Hideouts in the expanded Grand Underground (including Houndoom). This may mean other content from Platinum will appear. Even so, the franchise’ recent notoriety for cutting much loved features and being unable to delay for looming deadlines may mean it will not return.
In an interview with Pokemon Millennium, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Producer Junichi Masuda stated the Battle Frontier was cut from those games because the games were “balanced” for fans being busy, and not having the time to dedicate to just one game. Mobile games vying for attention with younger players was also a factor for both removing the Frontier, and making the games easier overall.
However, with ILCA developing the games, will this attitude continue? Failing to even obscure the smaller island to delay outcry would suggest that fans are not getting the Battle Frontier. ILCA still has to answer to The Pokemon Company after all, and the reigns on budget and time may still be as tight as they were for Game Freak.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Pokemon Shining Pearl launches November 19th on Nintendo Switch.