Junichi Masuda Leaves Game Freak

Photo courtesy of Junichi Masuda.

Junichi Masuda, an original founding member of Game Freak, has left the company.

In an announcement post made on June 1, The Pokemon Company revealed that Masuda has been made Chief Creative Fellow, effective immediately. Masuda leaves behind his role as Managing Director at Game Freak to take up this new position at The Pokemon Company, a role in which he will be responsible for not just the production of the Pokemon games, but the franchise as a whole.

Junichi Masuda, alongside Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori, founded Game Freak in 1989. Some of the first games they developed included Yoshi, Mario & Wario, and Pulseman. It was in 1996, however, with the creation of Pokemon Red and Blue, that company found its niche. Since the release of the first Pokemon game, Game Freak has only occasionally deviated from creating games for the mainline Pokemon series.

Masuda is perhaps best known for his work as a composer; he has played a part in the music composition of almost every mainline Pokemon game created. However, music is not his only talent. He has also worked as programmer, producer, and was the director of the main series from Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire up until Pokemon X & Y. It's not far-fetched to say that without Masuda, there would be no Pokemon as we know it. He has been at the heart of its production since the very beginning.

At the time of his departure, Masuda has been with Game Freak for over 30 years. This marks a new era the development of Pokemon games, as the upcoming Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will be the first mainline games to not be created with direct help or supervision from Masuda.