It's out in English on the 22nd April and since Pom and Pete were asking me questions, I figured I may as well start a new topic for it instead of invading the pet peeves one:
Is this game going to have 8 Gym leaders, Elite 4 and your rival as the only adversaries (bar the taking down of Team Whatever as you progress through the gyms) as usual?
More or less, but this time you have two rivals. One is your childhood friend, the other is the son/daughter of Professor Rowan. You don't battle the second rival all that much within the game, but it is a nice addition.
There are plenty of trainers across Sinnoh though, and you can rebattle everyone bar the Gym Leaders, as well as going to places like the cafe for a number of different battles every day.
You can also team up with other trainers at 5 points during the game and battle wild Pokemon in a 2-2 format. A bonus of doing this, aside from the obvious exp boost, is that after every battle they'll heal your whole team. Doing this will also get you the eggs for Happiny - the Chansey pre-evolution and Rioru, the Lucario pre-evolution (this is the only way you can get Rioru/Lucario).
He's also a videogames journalist and has access to sources we don't. Rebattling trainers sounds great. Can you expand on the cafe thing? Is this just effectively different random trainers 'respawning' in cafes, and being the level appropriate for that city, or perhaps have levels appropriate to your own, or...? I always just found that the game kinda ended after you'd beaten the Elite Four with your standard team... you'd build up your uber strong team, but all you could do with them would be to fight the Elite Four again, without them being any harder than when you beat them with your comparably rubbish team. Obviously online versus matches will alleviate this problem significantly, but is there a single player alternative, that'll offer battles more challenging than the Elite Four?
Well in LG and FR, after you beat the Elite Four, they change their squad (to some degree), and make 'em a good 10-20 levels stronger, which is a bit more of a challenge. Also the player has access to the Sevii Islands, which all have puzzles, trainers, as well as Pokemon that could only have been caught in Gold and Silver. One of the Legendary Dogs was released after you beat the Elite Four as well, so there was plenty to do. I'd imagine there'd be similar incentives to back to Pearl and Diamond afterwards.
Unfortunately, there is no second Elite 4 team this time around - which I consider a great pity as it was a very good feature in Fr/Lg. Just like being able to rebattle Gym Leaders in Emerald - something else not present.
There is another island you can get to after beating the Elite 4 that houses the new Battle Tower, another contest hall and a few new places to explore and catch new Pokemon on. There are also quite a few Pokemon you can only get after beating the Elite 4, including almost all the new evolutions of old Pokemon.
Obviously, with D/P being online, there's a lot more reason to continue training/train new teams after the Elite 4 but as far as in-game goes, there's still quite a bit to do, but probably not as extensive as the Sevii Isles or the Battle Frontier.
Also, my journalism doesn't really have anything to do with this, there was quite a lot of material published in magazines like CoroCoro and on official Pokemon websites in Japan before the games came out. Generally, the Pokemon community spends the entire year before the release of a new game chasing up bits of news every month or so.
You can rebattle a lot of trainers, including gym leaders, in Emerald (though not at any time if that's how it'll work here). Like I did with the third-gen games, I'll probably buy one of these once they're old. Right now I don't have time to deal with another hundred-and-seven of the buggers.
Is there anyway to transfer FireRed/ LeafGreen pokemon to Pearl/ Diamond?
Yes. You can transfer 6 Pokemon from R/S/E/Fr/LG per day. (6 per game per day). You have to 'recapture' them in the Pal Park facility though - presumably an in-game way to avoiding any complications in transfering from the GBA games to the DS games. It's not hard to do though, kinda like the Safari Zone with a higher encounter rate and Master Balls instead of Safari Balls.
It's a one-way trade though, and you can't trade Pokemon back to the Advance games.
Is there any way to swap pokemon from the original Red to the newest? Could you set up some kind of complex game chain going from version to version?
No. The original Gameboy/Colour games, R/B/Y/G/S/C are only compatible with eachother. Because the GBA wasn't able to communicate (easily/affordably) with the GBC/GBC tech, R/S couldn't communicate with them and thus none of the other Advance games could. And thus neither can D/P (not to mention the fact that GB/C games wont fit in the DS).
Basically, it works out like this compatability wise:
R/B/Y <> G/S/C (Via Time Machine) /=/ R/S/E/Fr/Lg > D/P
Sounds barely any different from the rest. The ability to re-battle Gym Leaders is a nice addition, though.
And what's the point in having two rivals if they're both "friendly" anyway?
You can only rebattle the Gym Leaders in Emerald, it unfortunately hasn't been carried across to D/P.
As for the two rivals, your childhood friend is your real rival but he doesn't really know an awful lot and he's a bit dense. The son/daughter of Prof. Rowan is a lot smarter, knows a lot more about Pokemon and basically fights you as a friend more than a rival. He/She doesn't really play a massive role rival-wise, but along with the Prof, they are quite involved with the Team Galactic plot.
Which, by the way, is definitely the best plot yet in these games. And the Team isn't led by some crime lord or a guy trying to take the power of a very powerful Pokemon to make more land or more sea - this team is based around a full on crazy plot lead by a true madman who wants to harness the power of a Pokemon God to destroy the world and create a new one at his leisure.
Most of the grunts in the team don't even have a clue what they're fighting for, they only seem to be on the bad side for fear of their own safety/lives.
It is a pretty whacked out plot and while not exactly Final Fantasy levels, it is deep and interesting enough - and certainly far exceeds anything before.
No, importers as in the people selling the American games to the Europeans. Not the people actually buying them.
Incidentally, there's no chance of us being lumed together with America, Nintendo Europe needs to control the UK because they need to do PAL conversions for the home system games. It's just not a feasible option to have it any other way, and it's certainly not something they ever, ever plan on doing.
And it's not exactly as if they're alone, every other company's the same.
Handheld games don't require PAL conversion, but they require translation into German, Spanish, French, Dutch, etc and we essentially just have to take it up the ass and wait. :/
Although, with D/P - we don't yet know if European GBA games will be compatible with the American D/P games, which could provide a problem for importers if it turns out that you can only use the European versions together just as you can only use a Japanese GBA game with Japanese D/P.
Yes, any WiFi Connection game will work whatever region it's originally from and whatever region it's being used in.
You can also tell the game you're from any location at all by selecting where you are on the globe in the Global Trade Station. I'm not sure if European locations will be available - it's being expanded at the weekend to include America (It's been limited to choosing JUST from Japan since September), but if not the European locations will be available the next time you play the imported game following going online with it.
This doesn't really have that much use, but every time you trade with someone using the Global Trade Station, a pin will be added to the map corresponding to the location they said they're from. So you can check the map and see where you've been trading with.