Image via Junichi Masuda on Twitter
Other than creator Satoshi Tajiri, there hasn’t been a person more important to the Pokémon games than Junichi Masuda, who was the director on the mainline games from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire all the way to Pokémon X/Y and was on the team of the original games. Masuda announced earlier this week that he was leaving developer Game Freak to take up the position of Chief Creative Fellow at The Pokémon Company, overseeing not just the games, but the franchise as a whole.
— 増田順一@Pokémon (@Junichi_Masuda) June 1, 2022
Junichi Masuda was not only a director on the games but composed a lot of the now-iconic music on the series as a whole as well as acting as a producer on the later games and being the Managing Director at Game Freak, where Pokémon is made. Masuda also had a large hand in Pokémon GO, spearheading the concept and bringing it to the Nintendo Switch as the director of Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee.
Masuda is moving to The Pokémon Company, the overseers of the franchise around the world, not just the games and taking up the mantle of Chief Creative Fellow, following in the footsteps of Shigeru Miyamoto at Nintendo with his title and duties. The former Pokémon director said in a statement that he “hope[s] to transcend the boundaries of video games by trying to offer greater surprises, fun and excitement to people all over the world.”
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The Pokémon Company said that “Masuda will utilize his deep understanding of the Pokémon brand to develop new services and products at the Pokémon Company, tapping into his years of experience and creative thinking.”
Masuda started the new role on June 1 with his last day at Game Freak being May 31. Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri continues to be the representative director of Game Freak, while it has not been confirmed what Masuda will work on at The Pokémon Company.
Source: The Pokémon Company
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.