Back in August, Junichi Masuda, director of Pokémon development studio, Game Freak, stated on his company blog: “We have been developing a system that will allow us to create new, great games without losing creative freedom. Even so, it’s pretty hard to come up with something new.”
But come up with something new Game Freak did. Masuda revealed that in 2009, Game Freak overhauled their development structure, allowing for new, three-man projects to be spearheaded at the studio, which would focus on simplicity, rather than be complex titles. The fruits of this labour, Masuda said, would be revealed soon, in the form of a new, non-Pokémon game.
A day later, Nintendo announced Rhythm Hunter: Harmo Knight, an original platformer developed by Game Freak for the Nintendo 3DS eShop.
Rhythm Hunter: Harmo Knight was conceived by James Turner, an employee at Game Freak, around a year-and-a-half ago. Masuda, who oversaw development as its producer, reveals that under Game Freak’s structure, employees are allowed to pitch new projects, and if they can get two co-workers to take an active interest in it, the project is greenlit for proper development.
Rhythm Hunter: Harmo Knight came about from this development structure. The first six months of development time were spent prototyping the game on the Nintendo DS, after which development was eventually moved to the 3DS.
While Rhythm Hunter: Harmo Knight hasn’t been announced for a North American and European release yet, Masuda recently shared with IGN that Game Freak and Nintendo are working out the specifics for a western release.