He’s been working on the series in some capacity since Game Freak’s inception
Game Freak co-founder Junichi Masuda has been with the company since the start, but is now departing for another predominantly Pokemon-flavored role: “Chief Creative Fellow” at The Pokemon Company.
The news was announced today, as the industry veteran, composer, director, producer, and designer is bringing his talents to the overarching joint firm that oversees the entire Pokemon franchise. Here is Masuda’s full statement on the move, provided in both Japanese and English on The Pokemon Company’s official site:
“I have served as the director of the Pokemon video game series, starting with ‘Pokemon Ruby Version and Pokemon Sapphire Version’ up until ‘Pokemon X and Pokemon Y,‘ and was involved in the development of many video games, including Pokemon Go. I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to all Pokemon fans. Going forward, I hope to transcend the boundaries of video games by trying to offer greater surprises, fun and excitement to people all over the world, while doing my utmost to connect people, expand the circle of ‘play’ and to help bring about a richer world for us to share. I appreciate your continued support in my new role.”
Like several other big moves lately in the Japanese game industry, this wasn’t as sudden as it seems. Following Pokemon Let’s Go, Junichi Masuda decided to take a backseat from heading up core Pokemon titles in favor of passing the torch to a new generation.
As for what he’s doing next: well, the corporate speak didn’t help! “Transcending the boundaries of video games” sounds vaguely like a mission statement from a Metaverse-focused studio, but given how weird The Pokemon Company has gotten lately, it could be more stuff like the tooth-brushing app. He also, of course, will still be involved with the franchise directly via his new role.