A new interview with the director of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, Junichi Masuda, and the lead environment designer, Kensaku Nabana, has been published on the official Pokémon website. What’s most startling about this publication is this section of the interview, regarding game directing from Masuda (bold emphasis added):
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.
While this doesn’t rule out spin-off titles, this is a big announcement, if it holds true. Masuda has directed several Pokémon titles, such as Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Pokémon Black and White, and Pokémon X and Y.
There are other interesting parts within the article, such as a discussion of the differences between Let’s Go and the other Kanto remakes, Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen. Masuda notes:
At the same time, probably because of the popularity of Pokémon the Series, I think most Pokémon fans prefer the less scary, kind of cuter, and more inviting look that the animated series provides. So the feel of the world changed to be a little less scary, and the Pokémon started to look less monsterlike and more like the impression that people get from Pokémon today. We’re taking those ideas and continuing to implement them in these new games.
A particular highlight also arises when quizzed on music. The Kanto tunes originally created by Masuda are being re-imagined by Kageyama, and it seems variations on the original themes will be used much like in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver rather than the more true-to-the-originals Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire:
One of the more interesting things that Mr. Kageyama did comes in the form of how he respected the original music, while injecting his own variations on the themes. Most of the songs use the same key and tempo as the original versions, and he keeps things very similar for the first pass of the tune. After the initial loop happens, though, Mr. Kageyama’s arrangement kicks in, allowing his own style to come through. I think it’ll be very interesting for fans of the original soundtrack to listen to how it’s changed.
What do you think of the interview? Do you think it’s time for Masuda to retire from Director duties, or do you want to see him continue?
Edited by LinearAxel