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Pokémon: Let’s Go could be Junichi Masuda’s last game as director

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An in-depth interview with Game Freak director, Junichi Masuda, reveals more about the upcoming Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Eevee!

In an interview with the official Pokémon website, Game Freak director, Junichi Masuda, and lead environment designer, Kensaku Naban, have spoken about the making of the Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Eevee!, plus the next generation of creatives who will take the series forward.

Of particular interest is Masuda’s decision to potentially hand over the reigns of directing the next full Pokémon RPG. He previously held directorial duties on eight mainline RPGs in the series, including Pokémon X & Y, Black and White, as well as mobile sensation, Pokémon Go.

Masuda says:

“I was the one who worked on the base game concept document for Pokémon Go, and even in that original concept, I had the idea of introducing new Pokémon through the mobile game. Given my involvement in Pokémon Go‘s development, I felt that I was probably the best person to direct these games.

It was also interesting to work with Nintendo Switch. There’s a lot of technology packed into the hardware that we were all trying to discover at Game Freak. For example, developing the Poké Ball Plus and working with Bluetooth to facilitate the connection with Pokémon Go were both very interesting things that I had a chance to work on as the director this time.

But at the same time, it’s important to have the younger generation at Game Freak take over the development of Pokémon as a series. I do believe this will probably be, in terms of the main Pokémon RPGs, the last time that I work as the director.”

Of the Nintendo Switch, Masuda says the hardware is complicated at first glance, but allows for simplicity:

“We took the idea of using a single controller to play the game to make that all feel less complicated, and that also opened the path to having this kind of local two-player multiplayer where you can share the controllers.”

The full interview is well worth a read, and also covers how Masuda approaches solving creative problems, more on the removal of wild Pokémon battles, and how Kensaku Nabana updated the land of Kanto.

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