Game Freak co-founder Junichi Masuda has departed from his role as Managing Editor to join The Pokemon Company as its Chief Creative Fellow, effective June 1.
A founding member of Game Freak, Junichi Masuda’s history with the ever-popular Pokemon IP dates back to the mid-1990s, wherein he served as a programmer and composer on Pokemon Red and Blue. In the many years since then, Masuda has played a pivotal part in the expansion of the franchise, including designing a whole host of fan-favorite pocket monsters.
After approximately two decades of producing every mainline Pokemon entry, the developer stepped away from directing duties in 2018 following the launch of Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! on the Nintendo Switch.
Junichi Masuda’s latest career change will distance him from the development house he co-founded in 1989, though his place in the world of Pokemon has expanded exponentially.
Junichi Masuda exits Game Freak
On May 31, Junichi Masuda departed Game Freak to join The Pokemon Company in a position that ensures he will play a more pivotal part in the brand’s continued expansion. The Pokemon Company appointed Masuda as its Chief Creative Fellow, a new post he assumes today, June 1.
Masuda’s ascent to Chief Creative Fellow significantly increases his responsibilities within the franchise. Instead of exclusively managing the interactive entertainment side of things, the former game director will also oversee projects related to everything from brand management and the card game to manga and film/TV adaptations.
The newly appointed Chief Creative Fellow expressed the following in a statement thanking 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.”
Notably, Pokemon’s next major gaming release, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, marks the first that will not feature Masuda’s direct input, though his absence will likely prove most notable in future installments.
This may concern some Pokemon faithful, yet it leaves the door open for fresh voices to potentially take the gaming brand to new heights. If so, players may very well notice as much upon the release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet on Nintendo Switch this fall.