Game Freak Is Moving Away From Pokemon Games
We've been catching 'em all for the past 27 years, but as all good things must come to an end, we're questioning what's next for the long-running Pokemon franchise.
While we're not saying Game Freak is hanging up its red hat and giving up on being the best (like no one ever was) just yet, the gaming developer has confirmed it's ready to tackle a new project away from Professor Oak's lab.
Is Game Freak Giving Up On Pokemon?
Known as the primary developer of the Pokemon game, Game Freak has been the Elite Four of the franchise on everything from 1996's Red & Blue through to 2022's Scarlet & Violet.
It's no secret that the latter soared to the top of the charts but was panned for glitches, graphics, and gameplay, meaning accusations of Pokemon fatigue have been thrown Game Freak's way.
We guess a mythical Gen X and brand-new region is being sketched out somewhere at Game Freak HQ, but in an interview with VGC, Development Department 1 General Manager Masafumi Saito said the team wants to explore different avenues.
"It is very important to Game Freak to keep taking on the challenge of creating original games," said Saito. "I think that creating a game from scratch, putting it out there, and getting a good reception is a great motivator for creators and is also very significant in terms of its meaning for the growth of the company."
While the studio has had great success with Pocket Monsters, Saito reiterated, "It has been ten years since we established a department that deals with original games. Initially, team members did the same thing while also developing Pokémon, so it was hard to concentrate on developing original games.
"Now we work with external companies so that we can start experimenting with moving on projects on a similar scale simultaneously. We want new titles to come out of Gear Project that are beloved by lots of people across the world, like the Pokémon series has been."
Away from Pokemon, Game Freak is known for Mario & Wario, Drill Dozer, and Little Town Hero. There's the upcoming release of Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!, and while Pokemon will likely continue to be a cornerstone, you can't blame Saito to expand Game Freak's horizons.
What's Next For Pokemon?
Although Game Freak has largely gone to ground since Gen IX left fans angrier than Jigglypuff when someone takes a nap, there are growing reports about an upcoming Scarlet & Violet DLC.
Hopefully, a well-thought-out and actually finished DLC will win around some of those who've written Scarlet & Violet off so soon after launch.
Beyond that, we can realistically mark the next mainline Pokemon game in the diary for a few years' time. Like clockwork, a new gen usually comes around every three years.
There are also more Pokemon games presumably in the pipeline, and like Pokemon Legends: Arceus last year or ILCA handling Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl as remakes of Game Freak favourites, Pokefans can rest assured the Pokeverse is only getting bigger.