Game Freak wants to explore non-Pokemon games

Game Freak has enthused about the launch of Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!, and promised non-Pokemon games in future.
game freak pocket card jockey pokemon

Game Freak has long been known as ‘the Pokemon studio’. Since 1996, it has produced an array of beloved Pokemon games, including several spin-offs, and it’s largely made a name for itself working alongside Nintendo and The Pokemon Company. Despite this, and the need to constantly pump out new adventures, Game Freak loves to experiment and takes every opportunity to do so.

The studio is certainly not a one-trick pony, and in recent years has released a number of wild, colourful, and creative games to prove it, including: Tembo the Badass Elephant (2016), Little Town Hero (2019), and more recently, Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! (2023) – an Apple Arcade exclusive game and sequel to the original Pocket Card Jockey for Nintendo 3DS.

This title expands on the gameplay of Pocket Card Jockey in many ways, maintaining this game’s hybrid solitaire and horse-raising mechanics with newly-3D graphics, and more interesting ways to win. According to Game Freak, speaking to Axios, this creation was part of a concerted push for more creativity.

Read: New Apple Arcade games for January 2023 include classic from Pokemon dev

‘We believe that it is very important for the studio to continue making and releasing titles outside of the Pokemon series,’ Masao Taya, Ride On! game director said. ‘In recent years, the resources needed for game development have grown and grown, so Development Department One has been trying out a style of development where it works with external studios.’

As Axios notes, Ride On! was developed with studios Infiniteloop Co. and Pixyda, who provided essential resources in the experimentation process.

Given Game Freak is now required to produce Pokemon games on a near-annual basis, reliance on other studios has become necessary to continue producing new creative titles, like Ride On!.

For now, the studio is focussed on the success of this mobile game, with plans for new updates and tweaks now announced. Taya has expressed a great fondness for the Pocket Card Jockey series, and it appears Game Freak is ready to support the game well in the coming months.

Taya’s enthusiasm, and Game Freak’s continued push to produce new and more creative games, means Ride On! isn’t expected to be the last non-Pokemon game we see from the studio. Hopefully, we’ll see more titles like it, even as work on the Pokemon franchise grows more intensive and resource-dependent.

We look forward to seeing what’s next from the veteran studio.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.