Pokemon Sun and Moon’s producer Junichi Masuda discusses Game Freak's awareness of fan-made Pokemon games, and issues a message of encouragement to creative fans.
Although this has been a great year for the majority of Pokemon fans, gamers who have gone so far as to create their own takes on the series generally can't say the same. In a new interview with Game Freak's Junichi Masuda, the producer acknowledges these fan-made spin-offs, and has a surprising message to those fans.
Speaking with Kotaku, Masuda briefly explained that Game Freak is aware of the takedowns, and that he himself has seen a great deal of Pokemon art sent to his Twitter feed. While some of the art has simply been fanart, other art may have been connected to fan-created games like Pokemon Uranium. Masuda didn't have anything to say about the takedowns themselves, which the developer Game Freak probably had no hand in, but he did issue a message to fans of the series who want to be a part of the creative process:
“If I see that you are having fun creating things, or working on an art project...working on game development, we kind of share that feeling... As creators we both have fun creating things, and at Game Freak we are always looking for skilled individuals, so please apply!”
Although there's no telling how serious Masuda is about hiring fans of the game who are skilled in game development, it's a nice olive branch to extend to the fanbase. The team of fans that spent nine years of their lives working on Pokemon Uranium only to have it taken down upon release were most likely heartbroken. However, if Pokemon Uranium could effectively act as a portfolio piece demonstrating the skill of each team member, the work could theoretically help some of them to have a shot at being hired to work on a real Pokemon game.
Unfortunately, it's probably not in Game Freak's power to put a stop to the fan game takedowns. The Pokemon series is under the wing of Nintendo, and fan-made games based on any Nintendo property have been squashed by the publisher's lawyers. However, some creators may just find some comfort in knowing that the creative force behind the entire Pokemon series isn't inherently against fan creations.
The developers at Game Freak are stuck in a difficult situation when it comes to fan games. Chances are Masuda and the others in the team are happy to see fans being so inspired by their work that they try their hand at creating their own games, but as long as fans try to produce something directly based on the Pokemon franchise, those fan projects probably won't survive.