Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were released on November 21st 2002 in Japan, and on July 25th 2003 in the UK. Like Gold and Silver before them, Ruby and Sapphire expanded the total number of available Pokémon to a 386, a number that seemed huge at the time, but is now dwarfed by today's total of 649. They were revolutionary in changing how the Pokémon games worked, from the adding of abilities and natures, to Pokémon Contests and Ribbons.
Both games were well-received, receiving a 9.5/10 from IGN, and 82% from Metacritic. If we count both versions combined, they were the best-selling games on the Game Boy Advance. If we don't, then that title belongs to their "third version", Pokémon Emerald.
They began the "Generation III" of Pokémon. Also included in this generation were FireRed and LeafGreen, updated remakes of the original Pokemon Red and Green, released almost a decade after the originals. HeartGold and SoulSilver recently followed suit in 2010, released 10 years after the original Gold and Silver. This leads many fans to speculate that Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire will have a remake in 2012, and there is a strong case to argue for it:
- In Pokémon Black and White (2011), you can access an online feature called the Dream World. The Pokémon you can catch in the Dream World mostly debuted in Ruby and Sapphire, with a few Generation I, II and IV Pokémon thrown in the mix.
- A Backpacker in the Desert Resort (BW, 2011) tells you that he comes from Hoenn, and that you need Go-Goggles in the desert found on Route 111.
- Both Black and White, and Ruby and Sapphire, have a family you can battle one after the other. The Winstrates in RS, and the Riches in BW.
- In Undella Town during Summer in BW, a boy tells you that he comes from Hoenn, and they visit Undella Town every Summer. A girl also mentions Steven Stone, Champion of the Pokémon League.
- The Elite Four theme tune in BW contains a remixed portion of RS's Elite Four theme tune.
- Both Generations V and III contain cactus-based Pokémon, Cacnea and Cacturne (III) and Maractus (V)
- Both Winona (RS) and Skyla (BW) are the sixth Gym Leader of their respective region, both train Flying-type Pokémon and both live in a rainy area.
- Both Hoenn (RS) and Unova (BW) have text written in a unique language (Braille and Cuneiform respectively)
- Steven appears in HeartGold and SoulSilver (2010) to give a Hoenn starter, and you can trade a Forretress for his Beldum.
- In BW, Dive is a HM, for the first and only other time since RS.
- In BW, there are two rival characters, as in RS.
- In Nacrene Museum (BW) there is a fossil of an Armaldo, as in RS.
- Both BW and RS revolutionised the Pokedex. RS was the first Regional Pokedex not to contain all Pokémon, and BW was the first Regional Pokedex not to contain Pokémon from other regions. Also, both Regional Pokedexes are the only ones (not including DP, which was changed in Platinum) not to include Eevee and its evolutions.
- In the anime (Episode DP189), Ash's party is mostly composed of Pokémon he caught in Hoenn.
- In the anime (Episode SS024), Dawn decides to go to Hoenn to compete in Contests there, much like May decided to compete in Johto contests when she departed at the end of AG Season, before HGSS were announced.
- In RS, one of the Scientists at Devon Corporation says he is "trying to develop a device that visually reproduces the dreams of Pokémon". Players of BW will recognise this as the Dream World used by Fennel in Striaton City.
As you can see, the evidence for these remakes is substantial, but it is all speculation. We shall see whether the games are announced next year, but I for one hope this speculation is correct :)