Junichi Masuda, a legendary figure in the creation and development of Pokémon, is leaving series developer Game Freak.
Masuda was one of Game Freak’s founding members, and over the years had worked on numerous games in the series, beginning as a programmer and composer for the original Pokémon Red and Blue.
With Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Masuda took over as game director – a post he held for numerous other entries such as Diamond and Pearl, Black and White, X and Y, and Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.
On other Pokémon projects he is frequently credited as a producer, composer, advisor or supervior. It’s hard to find a Pokémon game he has not touched.
Now, Masuda is moving on – although not too far. In a statement today, Masuda said he would now serve as “chief creative fellow” for The Pokémon Company, and weigh in issues relating to the overall brand.
“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all Pokemon fans,” Masuda said in a statement.
“Going forward, 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. I appreciate your continued support in my new role.”
In recent years, the role of director for Pokémon projects has gone elsewhere – and soon it will again with the upcoming Pokémon Violet and Scarlet, which are set to usher in the franchise’s ninth generation later this year.