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New Pokemon Works dev studio founded, is Game Freak out?

game freak x'd out

Reports on the foundation of the new Pokemon Works game studio has fans speculating that The Pokemon Company’s game development pipeline is getting overhauled in a way that will resources for games like Pokemon Legends Z-A. Or it may not.

For over 20 years, one of the greatest pastimes among Pokemon fans has been scatterblast complaining about the games. The rise of social media led to greater focus in players’ gripes, but, consensus wasn’t achieved as players paradoxically griped over a variety of subjects. Pokemon designs were both overly anthropomorphic and too frequently based on inanimate objects, the gameplay loop was both overly samey and too far removed from the originals, and so on.

The dogged performance issues of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet changed this, with players then getting behind the idea that longtime developer Game Freak was getting lazy and that new games shouldn’t be released on an annual basis. This isn’t true, of course. Game Freak is actually over-ambitious with its design choices given the limited horsepower of the Switch and all the most beloved games in the franchise came on a one-year-or-less turnaround. Nevertheless, it’s an idea that has been latched onto broadly enough that discussion regarding business moves by The Pokemon Company and new announcements are framed in that light.

As such, when reports regarding a new Pokemon-focused studio came out, it was met with excited speculation that things were changing. But will Pokemon Works actually bring fundamental changes to how mainline Pokemon games are developed? Or was it created for other reasons?

What is Pokemon Works?

Pokemon Works is a new studio founded by The Pokemon Company. According to Serebii’s Joe Merrick, the company shares an office building with ILCA, the developers behind Pokemon HOME and Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Beyond that, nothing is publicly known about Pokemon Works including who is working for it or what their overall objective is. It’s unknown what specializations the team might have, or what their focus might be.

Speculation has been that Pokemon Works will be a support studio to Game Freak that will work on mainline Pokemon games, but there isn’t any indication that this is the case. Officially, The Pokemon Company hasn’t announced Pokemon Works or any plans to open a new branch of this nature.

Is Pokemon Works going to develop mainline games like Pokemon Legends Z-A?

There is no indication that Pokemon Works is working on Pokemon Legends Z-A, or will work on any mainline games. It’s possible, but there are a number of different possibilities for the studio.

The Pokemon Company may take a similar approach to Pokemon that Activision does with Call of Duty. With Call of Duty, Activision-owned studios Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch, and Infinity Ward rotate being the lead studio on each game, while Raven Software serves as a co-developer or support team situationally. It’s possible that Game Freak, ILCA, and Pokemon Works could make a similar move, or the new studio could fill that Raven Software niche.

Alternatively, Pokemon Works could be developing other projects. Disney was reportedly in talks to acquire EA Games because some in the company felt it would be better served by developing its own video games rather than licensing out IPs Star Wars and Marvel to others. The company later acquired a stake in Epic Games.

Pokemon Works could instead be set to take on the projects that are currently outsourced by The Pokemon Company. While Game Freak primarily works on the mainline Pokemon games, TiMi Studios handles Unite, Niantic created GO, Select Button developed Sleep, and so on. Each of those companies gets a significant cut of the revenue generated by those games, and The Pokemon Company may be looking to cut companies like those out of the equation for future apps and projects.

Fans ultimately won’t know until word officially comes out, and it’s open to speculation how this will impact Pokemon Legends Z-A.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at WIN.gg. You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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