Game Freak Prioritizing Original Development: "We Are Always Trying to Create Something [...] Equally Exciting, Or More Exciting Than Pokemon"

Game Freak Prioritizing Original Development: "We Are Always Trying to Create Something [...] Equally Exciting, Or More Exciting Than Pokemon"

Game Freak wants its developers to experience life outside of Pokemon.

Game Freak is synonymous with Pokemon, but the studio has ambitions to become known more than just the studio behind one of the world's biggest franchises. In a new interview, Game Freak director Masayuki Onoue reveals how the studio is positioned to focus on creating original games that have as much of an impact as a new Pokemon

At Game Freak, there is an initiative called Gear Project which encourages developers to pitch original games during slow periods. It's through Gear Project that games like HarmoKnight, Pocket Card Jockey, and Onoue's Giga Wrecker were developed. "There are two different production teams here, simply named Production Team 1 and Production Team 2," Onoue says. "Team 1 is fully dedicated to Gear Project, while Team 2 is for the Pokemon operation.

"What that means is that Game Freak as a company is prioritizing Gear Project, which is production team number one, more than Pokemon in general. We are always trying to create something that is equally exciting, or more exciting than Pokemon."

However, this should be taken more as statement of growth more than anything. Onoue says that Teams 1 and 2 work in tandem, and that there is a lot of movement between the two with the goal of giving developers more experience to become better creatively.

For example, while Pokemon games are always on Nintendo platforms, Gear Project games have come out on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. This gives developers on Team 1 exposure to different platforms, and when they return to work on Pokemon they bring that new exposure with them. "I can now bring that knowhow back to the Pokemon team and try to create something different for Pokemon. It's a good synergy between Gear Project and Pokemon creation," Onoue explains.

This year Game Freak has two Nintendo Switch projects on the horizon, one is Pokemon Sword and Shield, the other is a Gear title simply called Town. Both games are going to showcase Game Freak's familiarity with the Nintendo Switch following the Pokemon Let's Go games.

For more coverage, check out our Pokemon Sword and Shield guide for everything we know about Game Freak's upcoming Pokemon Switch title.

Thanks, VGC.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

In other news

Fallout 76 Game Pass Release Welcomed With Open Arms, Suspicious Nuka Brews

PC players have reported tech issues, but things seem to be going well otherwise.

Nintendo Treehouse Stream Set for Friday Will Include a New WayForward Game Reveal [Update]

Fresh off of shipping a new Shantae, WayForward will share a Treehouse stream with Paper Mario.

New Valve Doc Showcases Long-Lost Projects, Including a Dota 2 RPG

On top of Half-Life 3 and Left 4 Dead 3, the studio abandoned something in a new genre.

Need help?

Witcher 3: How to Start the Blood and Wine DLC and Meet Its Level Requirements

We explain how to get to Toussaint and what level you should be when you do.

Witcher 3: All the Correct Play Lines in "The Play's the Thing" Quest

We explain how to perform the Doppler's play with Priscilla, as well as whether to choose tragedy or comedy.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Mystery Gift Codes List (January 2020)

You can get free gifts in Pokemon Sword and Shield by entering certain Mystery Gift Codes. Here’s a full list of all the active codes available right now.

The Outer Worlds Shrink Ray - How to Get the Unique Shrink Ray Science Weapon

This is where you can get the Shrink Ray science weapon in The Outer Worlds, one of the unique weapons in the game.