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Game Freak's Directors Share Their Favorite Pokémon Spin-Offs

by Kyle Hilliard on Aug 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM

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During our time at Game Freak we spoke with studio co-founder, composer, producer, and director Junichi Masuda and director Shigeru Ohmori extensively about the core Pokémon RPGs, but we did sneak in one question about the Pokémon spin-offs. The franchise has found the most success as an RPG, but it has explored nearly every genre on nearly every platform. Our question for Masuda and Ohmori was simple: what's your favorite one?

Masuda was quick to offer an unsurprising answer, especially if you've been following him on twitter lately.

"Pokémon Go!" Masuda says, "I am not sure if you can call that a spin-off title." Masuda also brought up the mobile game when we were talking to him about the development of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, which he acknowledges were the most difficult for him to create. During the development of those games, he could see the Pokémon brand begin to fade which caused him a great deal of stress, but when the game finally came out, he learned that the franchise was still very popular. “Pokémon Go is experiencing something similar where people are saying, ‘Eh, it’s done. The fad’s over,’ but it was way worse than that after Gold and Silver had settled down and we were working on the next game," Masuda says.

Ohmori's answer was a little more unexpected. "I played a lot of Pokémon Snap. I got really into it," Ohmori says. "The most fun part for me – this may have been a Japan-only thing – but you could take your game to a convenience store and print out the photos you took and could use them like stickers and put them on things. I just had a lot of fun being able to take the photos in the game and print them out as things that I could use." You can check out our in-progress Super Replay of Pokémon Snap by heading here.

We also asked which genre Pokémon hasn't explored that Masuda and Ohmori would like to see in the future. "It’s kind of an Easter Egg from X and Y, but Rhydon Racing was a thing in that world. There might be a message in there that I really want to create Rhydon racing," Masuda says.

"I really want to try working on a real action-focused game," Ohmori says. "Of course, we’ve kind of got those already with fighting games as well so it’s hard to say what it would be. Like a 2D side-scrolling action game, maybe."

For more on the history of Pokémon, you can check out the latest issue for a 12-page feature covering the franchise’s history, as well as online features and interviews linked below.