Pokémon veteran Junichi Masuda leaves Game Freak for larger role

Masuda hopes to "transcend the boundaries of video games".

Game Freak’s former managing director and co-founder Junichi Masuda announced yesterday he will step down from the role.

Although Masuda will no longer be part of Pokémon’s development studio, his influence will remain pivotal for the franchise. One of the original programmers on the Pokémon franchise, Masuda will now act as The Pokémon Company’s Chief Creative Fellow. Under his new position, he will be responsible for ideas across Pokémon media including the card game and screen adaptations.

In an official statement, Masuda thanks all the fans for their support in helping Pokémon become the cultural phenomenon it is today. He also expresses his dreams for his influence to transcend the games, and pour into other outlets.

I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to all Pokémon fans. 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.

Junichi Masuda

The past, present and future of Pokémon games

Masuda’s legacy is also well cemented across the entirety of the Pokémon gaming franchise. From his programming work on the original Pokémon Red/Blue to Pokémon GO, Masuda had a hand in every mainline game. However, in 2018, he gave his first indication of moving in a new direction. That year, he stated on the official Pokémon website that Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee would be his last games with the studio.

Now, Masuda’s dream of letting the younger generation of developers at Game Freak take the helm will become a reality. The next installment in the franchise, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet was announced in February and will release later this year for Nintendo Switch.

How do you think Masuda will influence the larger Pokémon ecosystem as Chief Creative Fellow? And what changes do you expect to see from new games without his involvement at Game Freak? As always, let us know what you think in the comments!

Via Kotaku

Sam Fronsman

A writer with a love for video games, both new and old. A collector of games, CDs and DVDs. Can sometimes be found behind a camera or playing guitar. The X-Men games for SEGA Genesis will always hold great memories.
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