Long time Pokemon Director Junichi Masuda revealed in an interview with the official Pokemon website that he’ll be stepping down as director after Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee.
Masuda has worked on several Pokemon titles, most recently as the Director of Pokemon X and Y along with several Producer roles on the most titles titles.
In the interview he revealed why he would be stepping down from his position as well as revealing that he helped come up with the original concept for Pokemon GO.
Pokemon.com: It’s been five years since you last served as director—on Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Why were these the right games for you to return to that role?
Masuda: 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. I wanted to realize that goal by creating games that could connect with Pokémon GO and feel somewhat similar to it without feeling like we were copying it. 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.
This leads us to believe that next year’s Generation 8 Pokemon game will be most likely directed by Shigeru Ohmori, who recently directed Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and Sun and Moon.
Pokemon games before Ohmori were mainly directed by either Masuda or Game Freak CEO Satoshi Tajiri. Since Tajiri has seemingly retired from Directing games for a while now, Ohmori is the most likely candidate to take over the series.
There are two other directors who could be directing the game but changes are pretty slim as they’ve both only directed one game so far. Takao Unno who worked on Black and White 2, which is my favorite game in the whole series and Shigeki Morimoto who served as director on HeartGold and Soul Silver. I’d personally be fine with either of them, their games were something really special.
Masuda caters to the casual audience more, especially with his recent efforts, so this is overall a good decision in my books.