Game Freak has been working on the Pokémon series of video games for nearly three decades. The studio’s first Pokémon title, Red and Blue, was released in 1996 for the Nintendo Game Boy. In between, they developed work on other titles but it was a rare occurrence. Now, the studio wants to expand its horizons more often, saying that its growth lies in creating "original games."
In a recent interview with Video Game Chronicles, Game Freak’s general manager Masafumi Saito described the importance of working on original titles for the studio’s growth. Saito said that making new games is a great challenge and is a great motivator for creators.
"It is very important to Game Freak to keep taking on the challenge of creating original games," Saito said in the interview. "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. With that said, we do not think in terms of limiting original games to small-scale projects."
Saito reveals that the studio has created a team to work on original games but is composed of developers who are also working on Pokémon titles. This has been proven ineffective and the studio has chosen to create an external company to work on new titles.
"It has been ten years since we established a department that deals with original games," Saito explains. "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," Saito adds.
Game Freak just recently released Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The newest Pokémon game is a commercial success and sold over 10 million copies in just three days. However, the game has been criticized for performance issues and graphical glitches leading to Scarlet and Violet being review bombed by unsatisfied gamers.
Game Freak recently released Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On on the Apple Arcade, which is a remake of a 2013 title with the same name for the Nintendo 3DS. Pocket Card Jockey was well received by fans when it was originally released.
Game Freak could start by porting its other popular titles from the Nintendo consoles to mobile. Hopefully, the studio is working on porting Giga Wrecker and HarmoKnight to the Apple Arcade next.